• Kyodo

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Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-highest-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party, said Monday that steps toward repairing Beijing’s relations with Tokyo are gradually getting a foothold.

“Sino-Japanese relations are currently improving. The force is not strong yet, but it is heading in a good direction,” Yu said during a meeting in Beijing with a group of senior lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

Yu said China’s forthcoming commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II are not intended to fan resentment against Japan and this year is a good chance to mend bilateral ties chilled over territory and views on history, according to Kiyohiko Toyama, a Komeito lawmaker who was part of the seven-member group.

But to seize the chance, Yu said, it is essential for Japan to properly face up to its wartime history, according to Toyama.

China and other Asian countries that suffered from Japanese militarism before and during the war are concerned whether Tokyo will uphold its past apologies on the occasion of the anniversary.

The senior lawmakers who attended the meeting, which lasted nearly one hour, included Sadakazu Tanigaki, secretary-general of the LDP, and Yoshihisa Inoue, his Komeito counterpart.

Tanigaki told Yu, one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision-making body, that he believes the content of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement on the war anniversary should not be a cause of concern for Beijing.

On Tuesday, Tanigaki and Inoue will meet with Wang Jiarui, head of the Communist Party’s international department, and formally agree to resume exchanges between ruling party members of the two countries, which have been suspended since 2009.

The lawmakers, who arrived in Beijing on Monday, are scheduled to return to Japan on Wednesday.

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