A constructive debate on the future of Japan, China, and Asia: The Preliminary Conference for The 11th Tokyo-Beijing Forum closes in Beijing

April 22, 2015

On Monday April 13, the Japanese and Chinese Executive Committees for the 11th Tokyo-Beijing Forum met for the Preliminary Conference. The delegation from Japan consisted of the chairman and vice-chairman of the Japanese committee, Yasushi Akashi (Chairman of the International House of Japan) and Yuji Miyamoto (former Japanese ambassador to China), Hirohide Yamaguchi (former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan) and Yasushi Kudo (President of The Genron NPO). They were joined by Zhou Mingwei (Director of China International Publishing Group (CIPG)), Zhao Qizheng (Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Renmin University), Wu Jianming (former Chinese ambassador to France), Li Wei (Director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Xu Qixin (General Secretary of China-Japan Relationship and History Studies Association) and Zhang Yansheng (General Secretary of the Academic Committee of National Development and Reform Commission) from the Chinese committee.
Both parties had already agreed at the working-level consultations, held over the weekend, to hold this year's Tokyo-Beijing Forum in Beijing in late October.

On the back of this, Mr. Zhou Mingwei, who was representing the forum's new Chinese host, China International Publishing Group (CIPG), opened the conference by praising how far the Forum had come over the past 10 years, telling the delegates that, "Last year, at the Japan-China Summit, we reached a turning point. I want the Tokyo-Beijing Forum to usher in a new dawn in Japan-China relations."

In response to this opening, Kudo told the group that, after ten years, the Tokyo-Beijing Forum was here to stay as a place where opinion-leaders from Japan and China discussed issues between their countries. Now that it was firmly established in each countries as a platform for healthy public opinion, it should be used to serve the future interests of Japan, China and Asia alike.

He continued by explaining his aspirations for the Forum, "As we discuss our dreams for our own countries and for Asia, we should have a have a constructive debate to find a future we all want. And, when our governments are not taking the lead to resolve their differences, we should take the initiative to facilitate government diplomacy through our own discussions."

The delegates on both sides then exchanged views based on their experience over the past ten years, covering a variety of areas such as the topics for the sub-forums and the best way to run the event.

Finally, the conference rounded off with both sides agreeing to make every effort over the next six-months to prepare for the Tokyo-Beijing Forum and ensure its success in October.

The specific items agreed at the conference are listed below.

Specific items agreed at the Preliminary Conference for the 11th Tokyo-Beijing Forum

1. Over the next ten years both sides will seek to overcome the obstacles in relations between Japan and China through civil diplomacy based on our vision for the future. Our efforts will be focused on the resolution of existing issues with a view to the development of healthy, sustainable relations. We shall contribute to the formation of a healthy public opinion in both countries by the dissemination of clear information that maintains the Forum as a platform for evermore influential debate.

2. The 11th Tokyo-Beijing Forum will be held this year over two days in late October.

3. The theme of the Forum and topics for the sub-forums will be as follows:  
   Theme: What is required to develop healthy long term relations between Japan and China? - The role of Japan and China in the future of Asia.
   Sub-forums: Politics and Diplomacy, Trade and Economics, Culture and the Media, International Security and Special Dialogues.

4. A joint statement from both sides, tentatively to be called "The Beijing Consensus", will be issued on the final day.

The preparations for the 11th Tokyo-Beijing Forum, to be held this year in late October, are now underway. Please look out for further details which we will be announcing on the home page of this website, as they become available.

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