Japan - China

May — Aug 2011
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Muddling Through

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James J. Przystup
Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Private-sector contacts kept the bilateral relationship afloat while high-level official contact began to re-engage. Defense ministers met in June in Singapore and foreign ministers met in July in Beijing. In each instance, they agreed on the importance of advancing the strategic and mutually beneficial relationship. In early August, Japan’s Ministry of Defense released its 2011 Defense White Paper, which expressed concerns over China’s military modernization, its increasing activities in waters off Japan, and its “overbearing” conduct in the South China Sea.  Eight days later, the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag left port for initial sea trails. Meanwhile, activities in the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands area continued to generate political friction in both Tokyo and Beijing.

Business and economics

On May 16, Keidanren Chairman Yonekura Hiromasa met China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing and expressed Japan’s appreciation for the assistance extended by China in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Yonekura emphasized that Japan is focused on recovery and the resumption of its role in the global economy and asked that Yang work to expedite normalization of customs procedures on Japanese exports to China, which stagnated after March 11 due to health and safety concerns.  Yang promised to do his best and expressed China’s interest in a trilateral free trade agreement with Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Tourism ministers of Japan, China, and the ROK met in South Korea on May 29 to discuss crisis management procedures to deal with natural disasters that affect tourism.  In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the ministers confirmed both public- and private-sector cooperation to promote recovery of the tourist industry and to encourage resumption of tourism to Japan. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the numbers of foreign tourists visiting Japan in April 2011 plummeted 62.5 percent in comparison to April 2010.  Tourists from China fell an estimated 60 percent. The ministers also agreed to cooperate in the prompt sharing of information in the event of natural disasters or critical incidents.

Following Premier Wen Jiabao’s proposal on the sidelines of the Trilateral Japan, China, ROK Summit in Tokyo, a 100-member mission from China led by Shao Qiwei, the head of China’s National Tourism Administration, visited Japan at the end of May to address expanding Chinese tourism to Japan.  Shao’s group met representatives of Japan’s tourism industry and local government officials interested in attracting Chinese tourists. Speaking at a meeting organized by Japan’s Tourism Agency, Shao said that his agency would make every effort to encourage tourism to Japan, with the exception of the disaster-ravaged northeast region of Honshu.

In a Japanese effort to boost Chinese tourism, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio, on May 27, announced that, beginning July 1, Chinese tourists would be eligible to visit Okinawa using multiple-entry visas.  The Foreign Ministry took an additional step on Aug. 10 when it further eased conditions for tourist visas for Chinese citizens and extended the duration of stay from 15 to 30 days. Previously visas were restricted to government or corporate representatives.

On June 1, representatives of 32 Chinese and 62 Japanese companies met in Beijing for the Japan-China Green Expo, a three-day conference aimed at promoting environmental technology and green growth in China and the Asia-Pacific region.  Addressing the conference, Keidanren Chairman Yonekura called for “closer public-private sector cooperation in energy saving and new energy fields,” while Wan Jifei, chairman of China’s Council for the Promotion of International Trade, expressed the hope that China and Japan will “cultivate a new market and build ‘win-win’ relations.”

High-level meetings

The Trilateral Japan, China, ROK Summit was held in Japan on May 21-22. Prime Minister Kan, Premier Wen Jiabao, and President Lee Myung-bak visited the area of northeastern Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.  In Fukushima, near the damaged nuclear reactor, they met with evacuees and sampled local agricultural produce, which Wen described as being “very delicious.” Wen also expressed his appreciation for the actions taken by Sato Mitsuru, a 55 year-old president of a fish processing plant in Miyagi, who saved the lives of 20 Chinese trainees and lost his life in the process, telling reporters that “a friendship nurtured in calamity is valuable and important.  I hope for a further improvement in relations between China and Japan”

The summit concluded in Tokyo on May 22, with the three leaders agreeing to cooperate in promoting nuclear safety and crisis management.  President Lee and Premier Wen agreed to cooperate in assisting Japan’s recovery. Wen said, “In times of natural disaster of this scale, mutual understanding, assistance and support from the international community, especially neighboring countries, are of crucial importance.”

When Prime Minister Kan expressed his deep regrets over sea contamination as a result of water leaking from the Fukushima reactor, Wen asked Kan to take steps to prevent further radiation leakage and to understand the concerns of neighboring countries. He also announced that China would ease restrictions on Japanese agricultural imports on the condition that the Japanese government certifies their safety. On June 13, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine loosened restrictions on food imports from Japan and removed Yamagata and Yamanishi prefectures from China’s food import ban.  Government inspection certificates were required only for dairy products, vegetables, fruits, tea leaves, fisheries, and other perishable products. Wen also said that China wanted to set up a “maritime crisis management mechanism” to prevent the recurrence of Senkaku-like incidents. Wen did not respond when Kan called for an early resumption of negotiations on the East China Sea. The three leaders agreed to consider joint rescue drills to deal with natural disasters, to accelerate processing of visa applications to promote tourism, and to move ahead on a trilateral FTA.

On July 4, Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki traveled to Beijing to meet Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in the first visit made by a Japanese Cabinet-level official since August 2010.  At the outset, both ministers emphasized the importance attached to improving ties. Yang said that China believes it is “very important to promote and maintain strategic and mutually beneficial relations” between the two countries.  Matsumoto replied that “it goes without saying that it is desirable to secure mutual confidence and stability as neighbors.” Matsumoto went on to express Japan’s concerns over tensions arising from the territorial disputes in the South China Sea between China and its southeast Asia neighbors as well as Japan’s “strong interest” in the recent People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy exercises in waters off Japan. He emphasized the importance the international community attaches to “freedom of navigation and maritime safety” and called on China to refrain from escalating tensions in the South China Sea, telling Yang that Japan would “make efforts to secure freedom of navigation and maritime security” as agreed to with the US in the recent “Two-Plus-Two” meeting in Washington.  Matsumoto also called on China to increase military transparency and asked Yang to ease restrictions on the import of Japanese food products. Following his meeting with Yang, Matsumoto met Vice President Xi Jinping and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

Turning to the East China Sea, the ministers agreed to work toward the resumption of negotiations to implement the 2008 Japan-China agreement on resource development in the East China Sea, which Beijing suspended following the September 2010 Senkaku incident.  Matsumoto called for cooperation in dealing with resource development issues and the creation of a “multilayered crisis management mechanism” to deal with maritime contingencies.  However, after the meeting he declined comment on Yang’s reaction to his proposal for a crisis management mechanism.

Finally, the two ministers committed to maintain high-level contacts through frequent visits and to expand cultural ties as well as people-to-people exchanges in recognition of next year’s 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations. On July 7, Japanese and Chinese parliamentarians resumed their annual meeting, which China also suspended following the September 2010 Senkaku incident.  Kawabata Tatsuo, chairman of the Lower House Steering Committee, led the Japanese delegation and Li Jianguo led the Chinese delegation.

Commenting on the Yang-Matsumoto talks, the statement released by China’s Foreign Ministry said that “Yang reiterated to Matsumoto that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory” and called on Japan “to work together to create a favorable atmosphere and conditions for implementing the principled consensus on the East China Sea.”  Yang also expressed China’s concern “over the China-related issues being raised by the US-Japan military alliance….”


Shortly after the Matsumoto-Yang meeting, the Kan administration, on July 12, announced a 7.6 percent reduction, approximately 350 million yen, in official development assistance to China in fiscal year 2012.  The cut was far smaller than the drastic cuts previously advocated by former Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji.  A Foreign Ministry official explained that deeper cuts had been put off because they “could deteriorate the bilateral relationship despite emerging signs of improvement.”


By mutual agreement, Senkaku/Diaoyutai territorial claims were kept off the agenda at the Trilateral Japan, China, ROK Summit.  According to the Sankei Shimbun, Tokyo and Beijing refrained from taking up the issue in an effort to improve public sentiment in both countries.   On May 18, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “sensitive issues should not be made a major topic of discussion at the China-Japan leaders meeting.” Five days after the summit, the Japanese government, on May 27, designated Okinotorishima as a Particular Distant Island/base point for protecting Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims and approved maintenance activities on the island’s western sea wall, anchorage, and temporary road and port facilities. On June 15, Okinawa Gov. Nakai Hiroshi paid a call on Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano and asked the government to strengthen measures to prevent illegal fishing in the area of the Senkakus.

On June 17, Foreign Minster Matsumoto, addressing a Xinhua report that a Chinese oceanographic research ship had deployed into the western Pacific through Japan’s EEZ around Okinotorishima on May 16, told reporters that, if true, China had not observed the bilateral agreement for prior notification of such activities and that Japan would be inclined to deal with the matter through diplomatic channels. Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano speculated that the research ship was monitoring radiation emitted from the Fukushima reactor, but made it clear that the government could not countenance such activities within its EEZ and would make every effort to protect Japan’s EEZ and territorial waters.   When, on June 23, Tokyo protested through its embassy, Beijing replied in a manner that dismissed Japan’s EEZ claim. Meanwhile, the China Daily reported that China would increase the size of its maritime patrol forces from 260 ships to 350 and personnel from 9,000 to 15,000 by 2020.

A Japanese Coast Guard ship confirmed on July 3 that a Chinese fisheries patrol boat was operating in the contiguous zone (22 km outside territorial waters) off the Senkaku Islands.  Warned by the coast guard ship against entering Japanese waters, the Chinese ship replied that it was operating appropriately in waters under Chinese jurisdiction and later departed the area.  That same morning, 10 boats from an Ishigaki fishery cooperative left port bound for fishing grounds in the Senkaku Islands.  Experiencing rough seas, the Ishigaki fishing boats returned to port on July 4.  Meanwhile, Beijing asserted its territorial claims and protested the commercial activities as “illegal and invalid.”

In late July, the Japanese Coast Guard again spotted a Chinese fisheries patrol boat operating in Japan’s contiguous zone, marking the 11th confirmed instance of a Chinese patrol boat operating in the contiguous zone since the September 2010 incident. The next day, a Chinese maritime research ship was spotted 60 km north northwest of Uotsuri Island in the Senkakus.

On Aug. 10, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano told the Upper House Select Committee on Okinawa and the Northern Territories of the government’s commitment to maintain Japan’s effective control over the Senkakus, and “in the event of an aggression by another country, Japan, at whatever costs, would exercise the right of self-defense and expel the invaders.”

Early on Aug. 24, two Chinese fisheries patrol ships entered Japanese territorial waters in the Senkaku Islands. Despite repeated warnings by Japanese Coast Guard ships, the Chinese boats remained in the area, asserting that they were operating under Chinese law.  Later in the morning, they left Japan’s territorial waters but remained in Japan’s contiguous zone until departing later in the day. To protest the incident, Japan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Sasae Kenichiro called China’s Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to the Foreign Ministry.  Sasae made it clear that the islands are Japanese territory and that the actions of the Chinese ships were against the spirit of the mutually beneficial relationship. When Cheng explained China’s position regarding the islands, Sasae reiterated his earlier remarks and asked China to take steps to prevent future incidents. In Beijing, Ambassador Niwa Uichiro called on Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhemin to protest the incident.

Meanwhile, directors of the Lower House Administration Oversight Committee met on Aug. 23 to consider asking the government to approve on-site inspection of the Senkakus to gather information on the island’s ecology and environment and, in the process, strengthen Japan’s claim to sovereignty.  On Aug. 31, representatives of both government and opposition parties agreed on the “necessity” of the on-site inspection and to take the proposal to their respective parties for consideration.


On the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Minister of Defense Kitazawa Toshimi met his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie. They agreed to re-open defense relations, which China had halted since the September 2010 Senkaku incident.  They also agreed that the early establishment of a maritime crisis management mechanism was indispensable and that exchange visits of defense officials should be resumed at the earliest possible date.

On June 8, a flotilla of eight Chinese warships transited in international waters between Okinotorishima and Miyakojima for exercises in the western Pacific Ocean.  Three Chinese frigates followed on June 9.  In Tokyo, the Foreign Ministry noted that because the passage took place in international waters, there was no issue.  Commenting on the exercises, Chief of the Joint Staff Gen. Oriki Ryoichi remarked that the PLA Navy had introduced the latest high-tech capabilities, including unmanned aircraft, and that the upgrade in its fighting power was notable.

Minister of Defense Kitawaza met PLA Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian in Tokyo on July 25.  Ma expressed sympathy for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.  Kitazawa, in turn, expressed his appreciation of Ma’s remarks and observed that bilateral relations had been moving forward since normalization “despite some twists and turns.”  Ma observed that the fundamental national interests of both countries called for the development of a strategic and mutually beneficial relationship and that military-to-military relations are an “important part” of bilateral relations.  They agreed to promote defense exchanges as an important step in the process of building mutual trust and confidence.

On July 26, Lt. Gen. Ma led the Chinese delegation to the Ninth China-Japan Consultation on Defense and Security. The Japanese delegation was led by Administrative Vice Minister of Defense Nakae Kimito.  Ma called for “solid efforts to maintain friendship, improve people’s feelings toward each other, handle the sensitive problems properly and strengthen the strategic, mutually beneficial relationship.”  Nakae said that Japan was prepared to work with the PLA “to establish better understanding and mutual trust ….”  Both agreed to set up a maritime crisis management mechanism in the East China Sea and to enhance communication and cooperation between defense establishments.

The next day, China’s Ministry of Defense for the first time officially acknowledged reconstruction and refitting of the aircraft carrier, Varyag, and that work on the ship had moved to its final stages.  The ministry’s spokesperson announced that the Varyag would be used for training and research and went on to say that possession of an aircraft carrier would allow China to defend itself and its maritime rights. A Xinhua column observed that construction and deployment of aircraft carriers was indispensable to the development of great powers.   Reports followed that the Varyag would put to sea in the first week of August.

Addressing the aircraft carrier reports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano told the media that  China’s lack of transparency and military buildup had become matters of concern to the region as well as internationally and that China should clarify the purpose of its air carrier construction and plans for deployment. Earlier, writing in China Daily, Rear Adm. (ret.) Yang Yi dismissed the “carping comments” of the Western media over the aircraft carrier as “unwarranted.”  He explained that China is “a land-sea power with a very long coastline and maritime rights and interests; it thus needs a strong navy to defend itself.”

Japan’s Ministry of Defense released its 2011 Defense White Paper on Aug. 2.  The report reprised longstanding concerns about China: its lack of transparency, the size of the defense budget, which has increased 70 percent in the past five years, and the pace of its ongoing military modernization program.  The document for the first time devoted a section to China’s actions in the South China Sea and China’s “overbearing” conduct there.  Meeting with reporters, Defense Minister Kitazawa also expressed concerns about China’s “overbearing” conduct in East Asia, while also expressing hope that outstanding problems could be managed within a framework of friendly relationships.

On Aug. 3, the People’s Daily found the use of the word “overbearing” as another example of efforts to stoke the “China threat” debate.  The paper noted that Japan’s recent National Defense Program Guidelines called for a strengthening of Japan’s defense posture in the southwestern islands and emphasized the China threat to justify its policy decisions. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson found the use of the word “irresponsible.” China, he explained, strictly follows the path of peaceful development and that China’s defense and military modernization is “solely to safeguard its own sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, not targeting any country.”  He concluded with the hope that Japan “can regard history as a mirror, earnestly reflect on its own defense policy and do more to deepen mutual trust with neighboring countries…”

On the morning of Aug. 10, the aircraft carrier Varyag left the Dalian shipyards and put to sea for sea trials, which Japanese media closely followed through Chinese reporting. Drawing on Xinhua sources, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on the rise in ship and aircraft-related stocks, while the Sankei Shimbun speculated on the possibility of take-off and landing drills by aircraft from nearby bases and on 2014 as the date when China’s indigenously constructed aircraft carriers would join the fleet. On Aug. 12, Defense Minister Kitazawa told a press conference that “there is no doubt that the move will have a big impact on the region” and went on to say “we will keep a watchful eye on events.” At the same time he asked why a carrier, with its mobility and striking power, was necessary and called for transparency with regard to its purpose.

August 15 and Yasukuni

For the second consecutive year, Prime Minister Kan and members of his Cabinet refrained from paying homage at Yasukuni Shrine on the date of Japan’s surrender in World War II.  But, over 50 members of the Diet from both governing and opposition parties did visit the shrine, as did former Prime Ministers Mori Yoshiro and Abe Shinzo and Tokyo Gov. Ishihara Shintaro. More  controversially, Japan’s Minister of Finance and now Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko reiterated his belief that Japan’s Class-A war criminals are not, in fact, war criminals and thus posed no impediment to the prime minister visiting Yasukuni Shrine. Asked if he would visit the shrine as prime minister, Noda dodged the question, finding such talk “hypothetical.”

Public opinion

On Aug. 11, Japan’s public opinion research institute Genron NPO and the China Times released the results of their annual joint survey of public opinion.  Asked of their impression of China, 78.3 percent of Japanese respondents said it was “not good,” an increase of 6.3 percent over 2010.  Asked the same question about Japan, 65.9 percent of Chines respondents replied that it was “not good.”  The negative responses in both countries are the highest since the joint polling began in 2005.


There will be a new prime minister in the Kantei. Whether this will open the door to re-engagement with China and how China will respond to the new government will be of interest over the coming months. While Prime Minister Noda has made some encouraging statements on Japan’s future relationship with all Asian neighbors including China, there remains a great deal of concern that both sides will be able to manage fulfillment of their promise to seek win-win solutions to their ongoing disputes.

May 4, 2011:  China’s Vice President Xi Jinping meets delegation of Japan-China Parliamentary Union, led by former Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko in the Great Hall of the People.

May 5, 2011:  Former Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio visits China and meets Vice President Xi Jinping; thanks China for assistance extended in response to the Fukushima disaster.

May 8, 2011: Taiwan dedicates a memorial park to Japanese architect Hatta Yoichi.

May 8, 2011:  Sankei Shimbun reports that the Ministry of Defense in conjunction with the new defense guidelines had considered Senkaku-related scenarios.

May 9, 2011: Bloomberg reports Japanese maker of Hello Kitty products, Sanrio, has agreed to partner with Chinese company to open a theme park in eastern Zhejiang.

May 13, 2011: Premier Wen Jiabao meets Keidanren delegation led by Chairman Yonekura Hiromasa; Yonekura meets Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on May 16.

May 14, 2011: Prime Minister Kan Naoto hosts a meeting of the advisory panel on Japan-China relations at his official residence.

May 16, 2011: Anti-G4 conference, which is opposed to admittance of Japan, Germany, India and Brazil as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), meets in Rome. Participants include China, Italy, and the ROK.

May 19, 2011: Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou calls for strengthening of Taiwan-US-Japan ties.

May 21-22, 2011: Prime Minister Kan hosts Trilateral Japan, China, ROK Summit.

May 22, 2011: Japan, China, and ROK business leaders call for the conclusion of a trilateral free trade agreement (FTA.)

May 27, 2011: Japanese government approves maintenance activities on Okinotorishima in support of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims in the Senkakus.

May 29, 2011: Japan, China, ROK tourism officials meet in South Korea.

May 30-June 3, 2011: Delegation from China’s National Tourism Administration visits Japan.

May 30, 2011: Dalian court sentences Japanese national to death for importing amphetamines; execution is deferred for two years.

June 1-3, 2011: Japan-China private sector conference on green growth and environmental technology is held in Beijing.

June 4, 2011: Defense Ministers Kitazawa Toshimi and Liang Guanglie meet on the sidelines of Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore; agree to set up a maritime crisis management mechanism and resume exchange visits of defense officials.

June 8-9, 2011: People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships transit in international waters between Okinotorishima and Miyakojima for an exercise in the western Pacific.

June 9, 2011:  Japanese Foreign Ministry releases findings of annual poll of US public opinion; survey finds that China has replaced Japan as most important US partner in Asia.

June 10, 2011: China Defense Minister Liang meets members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Beijing; they agree to advance defense dialogue.

June 13, 2011: China relaxes restrictions on food imports from Japan.

June 14, 2011: Japanese government declines comment on Hong Kong interview of Chinese fishing boat captain involved in the Senkaku incident; captain alleges Japanese Coast Guard ships rammed his boat and that he suffered injuries when his ship was boarded.

June 15, 2011: Okinawa Gov. Nakai Hiroshi calls on Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio to request strengthening of measures to protect against illegal fishing.

June 16, 2011: Japan’s Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office opens exhibition on Sun Yat Sen and Japanese supporters of the 1911 Revolution.

June 17, 2011: Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki and Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano report that a Chinese research ship transited Japan’s EEZ without prior notification; government protests on June 23.

June 22, 2011: Okinawa citizens’ independent judicial panel recommends indictment of Chinese fishing boat captain involved in the Senkaku incident for damaging Japanese Coast Guard ships; Naha prosecutors last year decided not to indict, citing diplomatic reasons.

June 22-23, 2011: Japan’s Director General for Asian and Oceanic Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke visits Beijing for consultation regarding the Six-Party Talks.

June 23, 2011: Prime Minister Kan attends war memorial service on Okinawa; president of Okinawa Bereaved Families Association encourages Kan to pay homage at Yasakuni Shrine and   pray for external peace.

July 3, 2011: Japanese Coast Guard ships confirm Chinese fishing boat is operating in Japan’s contiguous zone in the Senkaku Islands.

July 4, 2011: Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers meet in Beijing.

July 6, 2011: Mid-term report of the Ministry of Defense Study Group on Japan’s Defense Industry and Technological Base recommends reconsideration of the three principles governing Japan’s arms exports.

July 7, 2011: Xinhua reports Ministry of Defense officials express concern with Japan’s increased air and naval activities in the East China Sea.

July 7, 2011: Japanese and Chinese parliamentarians resume annual meeting in Tokyo.

July 8, 2011: Yomiuri Shimbun, citing diplomatic and media sources, reports that China has initiated indigenous construction of an aircraft carrier.

July 12, 2011: Kan government announces a slight reduction in China Official Development Assistance (ODA) program.

July 25, 2011: PLA Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian visits Japan; meets Minister of Defense Kitazawa and Chief of the Joint Staff Oriki Ryoichi.

July 26, 2011: Lt. Gen. Ma and Administrative Vice Minister of Defense Nakae hold ninth Bilateral Vice-Ministerial Defense and Security Dialogue.

Aug. 2, 2011: Japan’s Ministry of Defense issues its 2011 Defense White Paper.

Aug. 3, 2011: 400 Japanese high school students from Iwate, Miyage, and Fukushima Prefectures arrive in China at invitation of the Chinese government; the visit is part of student exchange program marking 40 anniversary of normalization.

Aug. 3, 2011: Stone monument in Heilongjiang dedicated to Japanese settlers of Manchuria is defaced by activists related to China Federation for Defending the Daioyu Islands.

Aug. 4, 2011: Chinese fisheries patrol ships enter Japanese territorial waters in Senkaku Islands.

Aug. 10, 2011: Director General for Asian and Oceanic Affairs Sugiyama visits Beijing for discussions on resumption of Six-Party Talks.

Aug. 10, 2011: Japan announces relaxation of visa requirements for Chinese tourists.

Aug. 10, 2011: Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano says that in the event of aggression by another country on the Senkakus, Japan will exercise the right of self-defense to repel invaders.

Aug. 10-14, 2011: China’s aircraft carrier Varyag undergoes its first sea trials.

Aug. 11, 2011: Japanese Coast Guard releases new footage of September 2010 Senkaku incident; shows several fishing boats, including one that appears to attempt to cut off pursuit by Coast Guard ships.

Aug. 11, 2011: Genron NPO and China Times release annual joint public opinion survey; results show continued deterioration in Japanese views of China and Chinese views of Japan.

Aug. 12, 2011: Defense Minister Kitazawa question’s necessity of China’s aircraft carrier.

Aug. 14, 2011: Exhibition panel dedicated to comfort women opens in Beijing’s Memorial Hall of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japan; the section was developed by Japanese civic associations and scholars who supplied approximately 500 documents and photographs.

Aug. 15, 2011: Prime Minister Kan and Cabinet for second consecutive year do not pay homage at Yasukuni Shrine. Kan attends ceremonies for the war dead at Chidorigafuchi cemetery.

Aug. 15, 2011: Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko tells reporters Class A war criminals are not in fact war criminals.

Aug. 16-19, 2011: Japan’s Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa visits Tibet.

Aug. 17, 2011: JETRO announces that Japan-China trade for January-June 2011 grew at rate of 17.9 percent over 2010 to $163.15 billion, a new record for the period.

Aug. 21, 2011: Kyodo News reports that Chinese prize-winning motion picture on the Nanjing Massacre will be shown in Tokyo.

Aug. 23, 2011: Directors of the Lower House Administration Oversight Committee meet to consider asking the government to approve on-site inspection of the Senkakus.

Aug. 25, 2011: Japan and China agree on joint program to prevent illegal logging.

Aug. 25, 2011: Foreign Minster Matsumoto Takeaki calls in Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to protest activities of Chinese Maritime Enforcement Agency.

Aug. 26, 2011: Japan’s National Police Agency alleges that 90 percent of the July 10 attacks on the Agency’s website originated from China and that Beijing has been asked to investigate.

Aug. 26, 2011: Kan Naoto resigns as prime minister.

Aug. 29, 2011: Noda Yoshihiko is elected president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

Aug. 30, 2011: Noda Yoshihiko is confirmed in the Diet as Japan’s sixth new prime minister in five years, replacing outgoing Kan Naoto who resigned on Aug. 26.

Aug. 31, 2011: Representatives of both government and opposition parties in Japan agree on the “necessity” of on-site inspections in the Senkakus.