The private sector has a key role in the efforts to rebuild mutual trust between Japan and China as political disputes begin to affect economic relations, experts from the two countries said at a recent symposium in Tokyo.

The diplomatic standoff over the Senkaku Islands last year triggered massive anti-Japanese demonstrations in Chinese cities. And while bilateral ties have repeatedly been strained over political issues for many years, last year saw visible losses in economic relations — although it was also partly due to the slowing growth of the Chinese economy.

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