Fifty years have passed since Japan and China normalized relations in 1972. However, few are inclined to look back over the past half-century and feel pleased with the progress in bilateral relations. The biggest factor spoiling the mood is a sense of distrust over foreign policy and security issues. Japan and China need a forum that allows for frank dialogue and honest exchanges.
On June 12, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi met with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Singapore. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the Japanese and Chinese defense chiefs in two and a half years, itself a step forward. The problem was the content of the talks: The two countries are still far apart on matters related to the East China Sea, including the waters around the Senkaku Islands; peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait; and China's militarization of the South China Sea.