At a reception held in Tokyo by the Japanese business community on May 10, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed the need for the two Asian nations to join hands to counter the protectionist policies taken by the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump. “As major economic powers, China and Japan bear all the more responsibility to oppose protectionism and protect free trade,” he declared.
The reception was sponsored by Japan Business Federation [Keidanren] and others to mark the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. Some 1,400 Chinese and Japanese corporate executives and others attended.
At the Japan-China summit held on May 9, the two nations’ leaders agreed to launch a public-private sector council to cooperate in investment projects in third countries. At the reception, Premier Li announced that China “would advance working-level cooperation to link China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative and Japan’s growth strategy.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “We will meet Asia’s brisk demand for infrastructure. It is more advantageous for us to cooperate together than to compete with each other.” Keidanren Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara said with regard to the public-private council, “We look forward to actively taking advantage of the framework.”
Japan’s business circles remain concerned about China spearheading investment in Asian countries in view of that nation’s vast financial power. At his press conference on May 10, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura commented, “The One Belt, One Road initiative is outstanding. Japan should be fully aware that the concept incorporates Chinese objectives and cooperate in it by selecting infrastructure projects that will benefit Japan and the regions (invested in).”