Chinese and Japanese politicians, artists and folks celebrated the 45th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship in Tokyo on Tuesday while protesters rallied against Japan's military buildup.
China-Japan relations face complex challenges today, 45 years after the treaty was inked in August 1978, said Wu Jianghao, Chinese ambassador to Japan. Therefore, the importance of the spirit of the treaty has grown even greater.
"Commemorating the signing of the treaty is not only an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to peace, but also a chance to draw upon the wisdom of our predecessors," he said.
By seeking common ground while shelving differences, and consolidating common understandings, "we can infuse more positive energy into the improvement and development of China-Japan relations and construct a China-Japan relationship that is suitable for the demands of the new era," Wu said.
The people of both countries are encouraged to use diverse and extensive exchanges to break through information bubbles, transcend prejudices with their own experiences, and establish more objective, truth-based mutual recognition and understanding.
The Union of Chinese Residing in Japan awarded a China-Japan peace and friendship medal to former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda.
Fukuda said he hopes that the growth of China-Japan friendship will serve as the starting point for Asia and the world to move together toward peace and prosperity. He said he also hopes that the Chinese community in Japan, together with the Japanese people, can contribute to the economic and social development of both nations.
He Delun, president of the Union of Chinese Residing in Japan, noted that there are over 1.1 million Chinese nationals and Chinese descendants in Japan, serving as an important bridge connecting the two countries. They represent an indispensable grassroots force for promoting Sino-Japanese peace, friendship, exchange and cooperation.
Also on Tuesday, a number of Japanese citizen groups and some politicians rallied in Tokyo in protest against the nation's aggressive military buildup and attempts to amend its pacifist Constitution.
Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan, said her party opposes Japan's military expansion. "Japan should engage with all nations in a peaceful manner, avoid conflict with China and address issues in Sino-Japanese relations through diplomatic means," she said.
Japan's defense ministry said on Aug 31 that it is seeking a record 7.7 trillion yen ($52.1 billion) budget for the 2024 fiscal year, up 13 percent from the previous year.
Under a plan announced by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the defense ministry budget for the five years through fiscal year 2027 will total 43 trillion yen, an over 50-percent increase from its previous spending plan covering fiscal year 2019 to 2023, Nikkei Asia reported.
Shoichi Mineo, deputy general secretary of the Kanagawa High School Teachers and Staff Union, said the strengthening of the military alliance between the United States and Japan, with Japan serving as a regional stronghold in East Asia, does not necessarily safeguard the interests of the Japanese people.
"The Kishida administration has completely disregarded the interests of the Japanese people," Mineo said, and the administration should place greater emphasis on dialogue and communication with neighboring countries.