A New Era in China-Japan Relations? Joint infrastructure projects show great potential
China's Belt and Road Initiative is a major platform for international cooperation. Neighbouring Japan has seen the benefit of working with China on this Initiative. Let's hear what our correspondent Terrence Terashima has to say from Tokyo.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said "A healthy relationship between China and Japan serves the basic interests of both countries." But, experts say improved relations between China and Japan are not limited to politics and the economy. They also have a role to play in Asian economic development. Although Japan was cautious about the Belt and Road Initiative at first, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saw more benefits in collaborating with China. Cooperation in infrastructure projects in a third country could be more profitable and reduce competition between the two.
EIICHI SHINDO, DIRECTOR GENERAL INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC SOCIETY FOR ASIAN COMMUNITY "I think people started to see a new era, a link between Europe and Asia. And huge business opportunities there. There were increasing voices from industry that we should not shy away from risks, but instead, take risks and grasp opportunities."
Japanese companies were more than eager to seek business opportunities. A 500-strong Japanese business delegation traveled with Shinzo Abe to Beijing. Many said to have already made initial investments in a number of Asian countries, eager not to miss the massive business opportunities. However, companies are concerned that Shinzo Abe should balance cooperation in the Belt and Road initiative with the interests of Japan's biggest ally, the United States. Once Shinzo Abe finds common ground for the two interests, both Chinese and Japanese companies can find what collaboration is possible.
MASAHIRO KOHARA, PROFESSOR OF JAPANESE FOREIGN POLICY, TOKYO UNIVERSITY "Rules and regulations must be shared by all the participants, including China and Japan. Maybe Japanese companies can provide their know-how and technologies which are a strong point for Japanese companies. So Japanese companies and Chinese companies, they can share interests by providing a strong point for each other."
TERRENCE TERASHIMA TOKYO "Experts say these joint infrastructure projects have great potential for both Chinese and Japanese companies, and in turn can be a catalyst for a better bilateral relationship. Terrence Terashima, CGTN, Tokyo."