Chronicle of Sino-Japanese relations

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(1) Date of Normalization of Sino-Japanese Relations: September 29, 1972.

(2) Brief review of Sino-Japanese relations after the World War II

【In the 40's】


On August 15, 1945, Japan accepted Potsdam Proclamation and announced unconditional surrender. On September 3 of the same year, Japan signed the Letter of Surrender to the Allies, and the World War II came to an end.

【In the 50's】

On September 4, 1951, the United States hosted a peace conference regarding Japan in San Francisco without the participation of China, at which the Peace Treaty regarding Japan was approved unilaterally. Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai issued a statement on September 18, putting out that the treaty as "illegal" and "invalid." On September 8, Japan and US signed the Security Pact and became military allies.

On April 28, 1952, the Japanese government signed a so called "Peace Treaty" with the Taiwan authorities. On May 5, Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai issued a statement, expressing strong opposition to the "Peace Treaty" between Japan and the Chiang Kai-shek authorities.


On June 1, 1952, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) signed the first non-governmental trade agreement with three Japanese organizations in charge of the promotion of Sino-Japanese trade.

On October 30, 1954, the Chinese Red Cross delegation led by Li Dequan and Liao Chenzhi visited Japan, which was the first Chinese non-governmental delegation to Japan after the war.

On April 15, 1955, Chinese Fishery Association signed a non-governmental fishery agreement with the Japanese-China Fishery Coordination Association.

On April 25, 1956, Chairman Mao Zedong issued a decree, announcing the decision made by the National People's Congress (NPC) on how to deal with the Japanese war criminals in custody. On June 27, Premier Zhou declared that 1,017 of the Japanese war criminals would be set free, with the exception of the other 45.

On June 2, 1957, the Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi visited Taiwan in support for the "recapture" of the Mainland attempted by the Chiang Kai-shek authorities. On July 25, Premier Zhou Enlai denounced Kishi's hostile policy towards China when he met with some Japanese journalists.

On May 2, 1958, an incident of insulting China's national flag took place in Nagasaki by Japanese right wings, and resulted in the suspension of Sino-Japanese trade. On July 7, China put forward the "Three Political Principles" guiding Sino-Japanese relations which read as follows: the Japanese government should stop any anti-China wording and action, cease activities aiming at making "two Chinas" and it should not obstruct normalization of bilateral relations any more.

On March 12, 1959, Inejiro Asanuma,the Secretary General of Japanese Socialist Party made a speech in Beijing, in which he said that "the American imperialists are the mutual enemy of Sino-Japanese people." On October 12 the next year, he was murdered by Japanese ruffians.

On September 20, 1959, Premier Zhou signed a Communiqui of Talks with Japanese former Prime Minister Tanzan Ishibashi, in which the two sides reaffirmed to improve bilateral relations and to promote friendship between the two peoples in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the Ten Principles of Bangtong Conference. On Oct 21, Kenzo Matsumura,the advisor of Japanese Liberal and Democratic Party (LDP) visited China , expressing support for the above-mentioned communiqui.

【In the 60s'】

On August 27, 1960, Premier Zhou met with the Japanese businessmen and put forward the "Three Principles Guiding Trade with Japan," namely governmental agreement, non-governmental contracts and favorable treatment to specific case.

On November 9, 1962, Liao Chenzhi and Tatsunosuke Tanazaki signed the memorandum for developing non-governmental trade.

On April 19, 1964, the Office of Liao and Tatsunosuke signed the Minutes Concerning Posting Representatives and Establishing Liaison Office in each other's countries and the Minutes of Exchanging Journalists.

【In the 70s'】

On October 2, 1971, China put forward the “Three Principles on the Restoration of Sino-Japanese Diplomatic Relations”: ⑴ The People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; ⑵ Taiwan is an inalienable part of territory of the People's Republic of China; ⑶ “Peace Treaty” between Japan and Chiang Kaishek authorities is illegal and it must be abrogated.

On September 25, 1972, the Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka visited China. On September 29, both the Chinese and Japanese governments issued Sino-Japanese Joint Statement. The restoration of the diplomatic relations between the two countries came true.

On August 12, 1978, China and Japan signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the People's Republic of China and Japan. On Oct 22, Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping visited Japan. On Oct 23, China and Japan exchanged instruments of ratification of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

On December 5, 1979, the Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira visited China and committed to providing the first batch of Japanese government loans to China.

【In the 80s'】

On May 27, 1980, Premier Hua Guofeng visited Japan, which was the first visit ever by Chinese Premier. The two countries agreed that the Sino-Japanese government/Diet member meeting be held within the year. On July 8, Premier Hua Guofeng attended the funeral of Japanese Prime Minister Ohira.

On December 3, 1980, the first Sino-Japanese government/Diet member meeting was held in Beijing. By June, 1987, there had been 5 such meetings.

On May 31, 1982, Premier Zhao Ziyang put forward, during his visit to Japan, “The Three Principles of the Sino-Japanese Relations,” namely peace and friendship, equality and mutual benefit, and long-term stability.

On June 1982, the Japanese Education and Culture Ministry distorted the history of invading China through reviewing its textbooks. Thus the first textbook incident arose.

The Japanese Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki said that the Sino-Japanese relations had entered into a mature period when he visited China on September 26, 1982. In regard to the textbook incident, the Japanese government would be committed to solving it as soon as possible as in the spirit of the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement.

On November 23, 1983, Hu Yaobang, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, visited Japan. He confirmed with the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone the “Four Principles of Sino-Japanese Relations,” namely peace and friendship, equality and mutual benefit, long-term stability and mutual trust. The two sides also decided to establish the 21st Century Committee for Sino-Japan Friendship.

On March 23, 1984, the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone visited China and decided to provide the second batch of Japanese government loans to China.

On September 10, 1984, the first meeting of the 21st Century Committee for Sino-Japan Friendship was held in Tokyo. 13 such meetings have been held till now.

On September 1984, 3,000 Japanese youth visited China at the invitation of Secretary General Hu Yaobang and China National Youth League.

On April 21, 1985, Peng Zhen, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC of China, visited Japan, which was the first visit ever made by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC.

On August 25, 1988, Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita visited China and committed the third batch of Japanese government loans to China.

On January 7, 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan passed away. On Feb 24, Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, as special envoy of President Yang Shangkun, attended the funeral.

On April 12, 1989, Chinese Premier Li Peng visited Japan. When talking about the unfortunate history between China and Japan, Emperor Akihito for the first time used the word “regret” to apologize to China.

On July 14, 1989, Japan joined in with other 6 West nations in imposing economic sanctions by freezing the third Japanese government loans and suspending high-level visits.

【In the 90s'】

On July 11, 1990, Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu announced the resumption of its government loans to China at the Group 7 Summit.

On August 27, 1989, Yoshio Sakurauchi, president of the House of the Representatives, visited China.

On November 12, 1990, Vice Premier Wu Xueqian participated in the enthroning ceremony of Emperor Akihito on behalf of Chinese government.

On August 10, 1991, Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu visited China, who became the first incumbent head of government of Western countries visiting China after June 1989.

On April 6, 1992, Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, visited Japan and invited Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michito to visit China.

On May 25, 1992, Wan Li, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC of China, visited Japan.

On October 23, 1992, Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michito visited China, the first ever by Japanese Emperor. It filled in the gaps in the history of Sino-Japanese relations.

On November 19, 1993, President Jiang Zemin met with the Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa during the APEC meeting in Seattle.

On February 23, 1994, Chinese Vice Premier Zhu Rongji visited Japan.

On March 19, 1994, Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa visited China. The two governments signed the agreement of cooperation in environmental protection.

On April 29, 1994, Bunbei Hara, President of the House of Representatives, visited China.

On August 27, 1994, Takako Doi, President of the House of Councilors, visited China and went to Tianjin Anti-Japanese War Martyr Museum, where he paid tribute to the Chinese labors who lost their lives in Japan during Anti-Japanese War time.

On September 12, 1994, regardless of China's strong opposition and solemn representations, Japanese government issued visa for Hsu Li-The, vice-president of Taiwan's “Executive Yuan” to visit Japan for the Opening Ceremony of the Asian Games, which caused the Hiroshima Asian Games Incident.

On October 28, 1994, Rong Yiren, Chinese Vice president, visited Japan, the first by Chinese Vice president.

On December 22, 1994, the two governments concluded the agreement on the 4th batch of Japanese governmental loans to China (only on the part of the first 3 years).

On April 10, 1995, Qiao Shi, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC of China, visited Japan.

On May 2, 1995, the Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama visited China. During his stay, he, as the first incumbent Prime Minister, visited Lugouqiao Bridge and the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War Museum.

On August 15, 1995, on behalf of the Japanese government, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made a speech on the history issue at the 50th anniversary of World War II, stating clearly that Japan recognized and would face directly the history of its invasion against other countries. Japanese government expressed deep introspection and apology over it.


On August 29, 1995, Japanese government made protest against China's nuclear test and announced to freeze its free aid to China.

On November 18, 1995, President Jiang Zemin met with the Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama during in the APEC meeting in Osaka.

Ever since July 1996, members of the right-wing groups landed on the Diaoyu Island for 4 times, which created Diaoyu Island Incident.

On July 29, 1996, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visited the Yasukuni Shrine.

On November 24, 1996, President Jiang Zemin met with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto during the APEC meeting in Manila.

On September 4, 1997, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto visited China. During his stay, as the first incumbent Prime Minister, he visited northeast area in China and the September 18th Incident Museum.

On November 11, 1997, Chinese Premier Li Peng visited Japan and put forward the “Five Principles of Sino-Japanese Relations,” namely mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, seeking commons while setting aside difference, handling disputes properly, increasing dialogue and understanding, mutual benefit, deepening economic cooperation, and being forward-looking and carrying on friendship from generation to generation. On the same day, Chinese and Japanese governments signed a fishery agreement.

On April 21, 1998, Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao visited Japan, during which he pointed out that the two countries should draw lessons from history and look to the future in the development of Sino-Japanese relations.

On November 25, Chinese President Jiang Zemin made an official visit to Japan, which marked the first visit to Japan by Chinese head of government. The two sides issued the Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration, declaring the establishment of a partnership of friendship and cooperation for peace and development.

On July 8, 1999, Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi made an official visit to China.

On December 8, 1999, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Part and Chairman of CPPCC Li Ruihuan paid an official goodwill visit to Japan.

The Sino-Japanese relations have, on the whole, witnessed smooth development. The friendly exchanges and mutually beneficiary cooperation in various areas have made constant progress, which have not only brought about significant interests to the two countries, but also made positive contributions to the regional peace, stability and development and the world as well.

In 1998, President Jiang Zemin paid a successful state visit to Japan. In the spirit of “drawing lessons from history and look to the future,” the two sides seriously reviewed and summed up the experience and lessons of the history of bilateral relations in this century. The two sides declared to build a partnership of friendship and cooperation for peace and development, and drew up a long-term perspective and a comprehensive plan on furthering the cooperation in all fields between the two countries.

In July 1999, Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi paid an official visit to China. The two sides reaffirmed various important political consensus reached during President Jiang's visit in the previous year. The Japanese side took some new positions on certain issues which were of the Chinese concern. The two sides also had an in-depth exchange of views on how to further advance the bilateral relations in the direction of continuous healthy and stable development and strengthen the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries. The two countries explicitly defined the future focal points and orientation for cooperation. The successful visit of Prime Minister Obuchi would be conducive to bringing about a sound developing Sino-Japanese relationship into the 21st century. The two sides are now making positive efforts in implementing the fruits borne from the exchange of visits by the leaders of both countries. The cooperation in some areas has achieved periodical progress.

However, there exist problems in the bilateral relations on which attention should be made. The issues of history and Taiwan are of most importance. With the deepening of the bilateral relations, some problems and conflicts have arisen from time to time. They should be properly handled in the light of principles and spirits embodied in the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the People's Republic of China and Japan, and the Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration issued during President Jiang's visit to Japan in 1998, so as to safeguard the overall interests of the Sino-Japanese relations.

【In the 2000s'】

On April 4, 2000, Zeng Qinghong, an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee led a delegation made up of Chinese Communist Party members to pay a good- will visit to Japan.

On May 10, 2000, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan paid an official visit to Japan.

On May 20, 2000, President Jiang Zemin met with over 5000 Japan-China Cultural and Tourist Exchange Mission made up of various circles of Japan, and delivered an important speech on the development of non-governmental friendly relations between the two countries.

On May 29,2000, Director-General of the three Japanese ruling parties visited China.

On June 7,2000, Vice Premier attended Late Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi's funeral held by the Japanese government as special envoy of the Chinese government.

On August 28, 2000, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono paid an official visit to China at invitation.

On October 12, 2000, Premier Zhu Rongji visited Japan officially.

On July 9, 2001, On May 29, 2000, Director-General of the three Japanese ruling parties visited China.

On October 8, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a working visit to China.

On Novernmber 21, 2001, President Jiang Zemin met with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who was attending APEC meeting held at Shanghai.

(3) Recent Development of China-Japan Relations

In the recent years, China-Japan relations have kept impetus on general and high-level contacts remained frequent. President Jiang paid a state visit to Japan at the end of 1998, and the two sides declared to build a partnership of friendship and cooperation for peace and development. In July, 1999, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid an official visit to China and in December Chairman of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Li Ruihuan visited Japan. On May 20, 2000, President Jiang met with met with over 5000 Japan-China Cultural and Tourist Exchange Group made up of various circles of Japan, and delivered an important speech on the development of non-governmental friendly relations between the two countries. On October 12, Premier Zhu visited Japan. He made broad contact with both the government and the public, and exchanged in-depth opinions on how to further develop the China-Japan relations in the 21st century frankly and reached consensus on many issues.


Since the year 2001, the issues of history textbooks, Lee Tenghui's visiting Japan and the paying of homage to the Yasukuni Shrine have done severe harm to the China-Japan relations. On October 8, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a one-day working visit to China. He visited Museum of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japan and clarified his position on historical issues. During the sessions of APEC meeting in Shanghai, President Jiang and Prime Minister Koizumi held talks. During the sessions of the 5th ASEAN+3 Summit in Brunei, Chinese, Japanese and Korean leaders held tripartite meetings. All these visits and meetings have born positive results and the China-Japan relations were gradually drawn back to the normal path.