In March, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was forced to postpone plans to roll out the red carpet for Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a state guest. Four months later, the topic is still making waves within his party.

Earlier this month, a group of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers pushed for a resolution demanding the state visit be called off — a highly unusual moment that pitted the prime minister against his fellow party members at the Diet.

The clash between them speaks to a history of mixed views on the world's second-largest economy among Japanese conservatives, who have been torn for years between longing to preserve a solid economic partnership and caution over its swelling diplomatic and military influence.