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The Nikkei View

50 years after normalization, Japan and China must chart new path

Security fears risk damaging economic ties unless leaders work together

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, third from left, and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, fourth from left, attend an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China on Sept. 29 in Tokyo.   © Kyodo

The decision 50 years ago by Beijing and Tokyo to normalize diplomatic ties ended the neighbors' confrontational Cold War-style relationship and paved the way for China to join the global economy. The strategic nature of the decision is relevant even today and goes far beyond the sugarcoated phrase both governments used at the time and thereafter: "to develop relations of peace and friendship."

On Sept. 29, 50 years after the historic Japan-China Joint Communique was signed, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged messages. Kishida called for "building constructive and stable relations," and Xi stressed that he "attaches great importance to the development of China-Japan relations."

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