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Upper House members visiting China in Feb to resume parliamentary exchanges

  • 2016-01-25 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: January 23, 2016 – p. 6)

 

 It was learned on Jan. 22 that final coordination is underway for a supra-partisan group of House of Councillors members to visit China in late February to resume the “Japan-China parliamentarians’ conference,” a forum for regular exchanges with members of China’s equivalent of parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), after a hiatus of four years. This was revealed by several informed sources.

 

 Regular exchanges by the House of Representatives, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and Komeito with their Chinese counterparts were revived last year. With the upcoming resumption of Upper House members’ exchanges with NPC members, all the frameworks for bilateral exchanges that had been suspended due to China’s strong reaction to the Japanese government’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa in September 2012 will be restored.

 

 The Upper House members’ delegation is expected to meet with Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee (NPC chairman), the third ranking official of the Communist Party of China, and this is likely to help improve bilateral relations.

 

 It appears that the Xi Jinping regime is now making serious efforts to stabilize relations with Japan amid increasing factors of instability in the security environment in China’s periphery, such as North Korea’s nuclear test and the landslide victory own by the pro-independence candidate in the Taiwan presidential election.

 

 The parliamentarians’ conference is being scheduled to take place in Beijing on Feb. 22. Separate forums will be held for exchange of views on political, security, economic, and other issues with NPC representatives. The Japanese delegation will consist of around 10 members from the LDP, the Democratic Party of Japan, Komeito, and the Japanese Communist Party.

 

 The first Japan-China parliamentarians’ conference was held in Tokyo in March 2007 for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding and trust. Exchange of visits had taken place every year until 2012.

 

 This year, both sides share the desire to work for improvement of relations. The Japanese side also wants to lay the groundwork for bilateral talks at the summit or foreign ministerial level. It is thought that the Chinese side wants to upgrade relations with Japan due to the economic downturn in the country.

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