Noted opinion leaders of Japan and China will convene for the 10th meeting of the Tokyo-Beijing Forum, a bilateral non-governmental dialogue, in late September to push their efforts to help improve the soured political environment in Northeast Asia.
The meeting will take place in Tokyo for three days from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, according to an agreement reached at a gathering held at the China Daily newspaper building in Beijing on June 8 in preparation for the annual dialogue between the two countries.
Attending the gathering from Japan were Yasushi Akashi, former undersecretary general of the United Nations and chairman of the Japanese Executive Committee of the Tokyo-Beijing Forum, Yuji Miyamoto, former Japanese ambassador to China and vice chairman of the Japanese Executive Committee, and Hirohide Yamaguchi, former deputy governor of the Bank of Japan. Genron NPO President Yasushi Kudo, the chief Forum organizer on the Japanese side, was also present at the meeting. Akashi is chairman of the International House of Japan while Yamaguchi currently serves as chairman of the Advisory Board to Nikko Financial Intelligence Inc.
Chinese participants included Zhao Qizheng, dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Renmin University of China and former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, Wei Jianguo, vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, Peng Keyu, vice president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, Li Wei, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Yang Bojiang, deputy director of the Institute of Japanese Studies, and Gao Anming, deputy chief editor of the China Daily.
At the beginning of the preliminary meeting, the Japanese side outlined the objectives of this year's session. Noting that the forthcoming session will precede Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China in November to attend a leaders' meeting of APEC, or the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing, Japanese participants stressed the need for the Tokyo-Beijing Forum to make further efforts to help improve intergovernmental relations between Japan and China.
The Japanese also called for discussing measures to build a peaceful environment in Northeast Asia in line with the "No-War Pledge" adopted at last year's Forum meeting and to contain unfavorable sentiments among the people of the two countries against each other by generating calm public opinion in each country.
Kudo, who leads The Genron NPO as a not-for-profit, independent think tank, said that Japan-China relations are currently in a difficult situation, but that moves toward improvement are emerging. The forthcoming dialogue may be able to play a "decisive role" in improving relations between Japan and China, Kudo said. Thus, he stressed Japan's resolve to do its best to make the session a success and called for China's positive cooperation.
Japan's proposal with regard to the importance and objectives of the forthcoming dialogue drew favorable comments from many participants on the Chinese side.
The bilateral dialogue is becoming all the more important because relations between the two countries face many difficulties, a Chinese participant said, noting that the two countries are urged to find a grand vision, and to think long and hard about how to advance their relations.
Participants from the two sides also exchanged views about subjects and topics for subgroup sessions at the forthcoming dialogue, based on the discussions at the past nine sessions. Some participants stressed the need to facilitate discussions between the two countries' working-level officials in the economic and security fields. Other participants proposed activating dialogue between the two countries' young people, and establishing a channel to promote mutual cooperation in solving common challenges for Japan and China, such as environmental protection and the aging of society.
Following are the points agreed between the two sides at the preliminary meeting:
1.The 10th meeting of the Tokyo-Beijing Forum will be held at a hotel in Tokyo for three days from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29
2.The 10th meeting of the Tokyo-Beijing Forum will precede the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum leaders' gathering in Beijing in November. Therefore, it should play an important role in building favorable public opinion in Japan and China toward improving relations between the two countries. Participants at the forthcoming session, while having the important role of the dialogue in mind, will strive to help build a peaceful environment in Northeast Asia in line with the "No-War Pledge" contained in the Beijing Consensus at last year's session and to create a new, major trend to overcome the worsening sentiments that people have against each other's country while generating calm, constructive public opinion in each country.
3.The main theme at the forthcoming dialogue and topics for the four subgroups are as follows:
- The main theme: Peace building in Northeast Asia, and responsibilities for Japan and China; overcoming difficulties by exerting the power of dialogue
- Political subgroup dialogue: Peace building in East Asia and trust in politics
- Economic subgroup dialogue: Structural reform of economy, and common interests of Japan and China
- Media subgroup dialogue: Mutual respect between the two countries and building healthy public opinion
- Security issue subgroup dialogue: Crisis management and peace building in Northeast Asia