The success of a Japanese animation film recently released in China reflects a thaw in relations between the two nations as Beijing opens up to cultural exchanges, according to a Japan-based expert on the communist country.

The 3-D animated movie “Stand By Me Doraemon,” which features the popular robotic cat and its schoolboy companion Nobita, topped the box office in China for the week ending May 31, raking in 240 million yuan (¥4.8 billion), according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

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