Japan opposition party leader Kaieda visits China to meet senior officials

Kyodo

Banri Kaieda, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday night to hold talks with China’s senior officials.

During Kaieda’s visit through Thursday, the DPJ is arranging a meeting for him with a member of the Communist Party’s powerful seven-member Politburo Standing Committee on Wednesday, according to party officials.

“I’d like to hold candid exchanges of opinions with senior officials,” Kaieda told reporters at the party’s headquarters in Tokyo before his departure. “I’d like to make (this visit) the first step to improve the relationship of the two countries.”

It will be the first time for Kaieda to visit China after becoming the leader of the major opposition party in late 2012. He will be accompanied by other party members, including former Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa.

Kaieda also plans to meet with Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, and former State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, who now leads the China-Japan Friendship Association.

The DPJ leader plans to call on Chinese officials to realize a meeting between the leaders of the two governments, as bilateral summits have not been held since the government of Shinzo Abe was launched in December 2012.

Kaieda will clarify to the Chinese side that his party opposes the recent Cabinet approval to reinterpret the Constitution to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces, according to the DPJ officials.