Four months ago, the leaders of Japan and China met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka and agreed to normalize their relationship. Chinese President Xi Jinping accepted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's invitation to visit Japan "when cherry blossoms bloom."

Such a visit would complete an exchange of summit meetings, begun when Abe visited Beijing last year. It has been a goal of Japan's China policy in recent years.

Stemming from the renewed amity, a strategic dialogue, suspended for seven years, was revived in August. In October, a Chinese guided missile destroyer arrived for China's first participation in Japan's fleet review. However, the review was canceled because of Typhoon Hagibis.