Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday evening for a six-day visit, becoming the first Chinese head of state to set foot in Japan.
Upon his arrival at Haneda airport, Jiang issued a statement that appeared to set the tenor for his visit.
The statement said it is important that Japan and China summarize their past to further develop their relationship for the future.
The understated message underlines the expectations China has that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi will orally express a clear apology for Japan’s wartime conduct in China, in line with an urgently concluded agreement reached between Tokyo and Beijing prior to his arrival.
The apology will not appear in a joint statement to be released by the two leaders today. However, the statement will include Obuchi’s expression of remorse for the damage and suffering Japan inflicted on the Chinese people during the 1937-1945 war with China, Foreign Ministry officials said.
The agreement was reached in last-minute negotiations late Tuesday between Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan.
Jiang said he would meet with Obuchi “to exchange opinions on how to carve out Chinese-Japanese relations into the 21st century and other issues of common interest.”
The Chinese president will hold a summit with Obuchi this afternoon, after which the two leaders will sign and issue a joint statement that is expected to serve as the blueprint for Sino-Japanese relations into the 21st century.
Accompanied by his wife, Wang Yeping, Jiang was to attend an unofficial dinner hosted by Obuchi and his wife Wednesday night.
A welcoming banquet for Jiang will be held at the Government Guesthouse at Akasaka this afternoon, followed by an audience with the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace.
He will also hold talks with Obuchi and travel to Sendai and Hokkaido during his visit, which ends Monday.
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