Japan, China execs vow to unite on commerce

Kyodo

Business leaders from Japan and China have pledged to keep the lines of communication open despite diplomatic friction over the Senkaku Islands and conflicting perceptions of wartime history.

“Relations between China and Japan are in a state to be very concerned,” Charles Yin, founder of the China-Japan Asia CEO Forum, said Wednesday. “So I thought economic leaders need to stand up and hold dialogues to deepen mutual understanding and communicate with each other so as to contribute to the prosperity and peace of the Asian economy and society.”

Yin, who is also executive chairman of the Chinese investment and advisory firm Worldwide City Holdings, was speaking at a news conference in Tokyo after the forum’s first meeting in about three years.

The event, which began in 2009, was not held on a large scale the previous two years due to the souring of bilateral ties.

Yasuchika Hasegawa, co-chairman of the forum and president and CEO of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said commerce can be of help in tough political times.

“It would be desirable if both (Japan and China) can hold dialogue more freely on a political front. But when there is no such chance, continuing business cooperation is so beneficial,” he said.

Hasegawa, also chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), said the more opportunities to talk, the better.

“We want to contribute to developing win-win relations not only between Japan and China, but also in the (region) by holding this kind of dialogue as much as possible,” he said.

Former Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa stressed the need for Japan and China to finally arrange a summit, while Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said the political tensions “are not in line with the benefit of people of the two countries and expectations of the international community.”

Among the Japanese participants were Takashi Kawamura, former chairman of Hitachi Ltd., and Masahiko Uotani, president of Shiseido Co.