Bilateral relations can be complicated by conflicting interests, which makes occasional problems inevitable. What’s important, however, is whether the two countries can communicate frankly about the problems, find their causes and resolve them. This is one reason wh countries set up hot lines between the top leaders.

As the ongoing bickering over China’s tainted frozen dumplings shows, Japanese and Chinese authorities are unable to make progress in definitively determining whether the insecticide the products were tainted with, methamidophos, can seep through their sealed plastic packages. This, regrettably, shows that Japan and China still lack a mechanism for effectively tackling such a problem, and this author sees problems with the responses from both sides.

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