A ceremony to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday, with participation by members of the ruling Communist Party and other officials of the two countries.

The event, the first held in 10 years, was organized by friendship associations in Japan and China, bringing together some 300 people.

Among the Japanese in attendance were Yohei Kono, former speaker of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet.

“I feel strongly that further efforts are needed to move forward bilateral relations,” Kono said. Kono, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, chairs the international trade promotion association.

Also attending were former Home Affairs Minister Takeshi Noda of the LDP, now head of the Japan-China Friendship Association, and officials from six other friendship groups.

From China, Wang Chen, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, took part with other Chinese officials.

Because the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping remains vigilant against the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, top-level Chinese officials did not attend the ceremony, observers said.

The 35th anniversary celebration in 2007 was attended by former Prime Ministers Yoshiro Mori and Tomiichi Murayama, and then-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The 40th ceremony was abruptly canceled after Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea, drew a strong backlash from China.

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