Sino-Japanese relationships are very complex. Historically, both countries have known a kind of Golden Age when they dominated the Pacific region. Before the arrival of the Europeans, China was dominant. Then Japan modernized a lot during the Meiji Era (1868) and became superior. Even its defeat in the Second World War (1945) did not strike a blow to its leadership in the East Asian region. Nowadays, with the so-called Rise of China, both countries clearly show aspirations for influence. So, the historic relation between China and Japan is made of competition and sometimes hostility. Yet, during the past few years, there have been a growing number of contacts between these two states at many levels: the economic ties are stronger and socially, the peoples seem to have got closer. But unexpectedly, these new links have not led to a significant improvement of the Sino-Japanese relationship. We can even wonder if the situation is not now worst than during the Cold War because China and Japan do not have a common enemy anymore; the Soviet Union and later the whole communist bloc vanished and it triggered off a necessary redefinition of international strategies for Japan and China.
[...] Two states haunted by their common past First, Japan and China have a huge common past. And this past is today a big issue. China considers that Japan has to recognize the atrocities committed during the Pacific War. At that time, China was invaded by the Japanese army and suffered a lot. For example, the Nanjing massacre took place. The Japanese soldiers killed 300,000 Chinese men, women and children. They also raped women and committed all sorts of atrocities. Nowadays, China wants Japan to apologize for its former actions. [...]
[...] As an illustration of the tension, China refused to meet the Group of Seven which was meeting in Japan because the invitation came from Japan. Many thinkers in both countries would like to compartmentalise political disputes. They do not want them to interfere in an efficient economic relation. This economic relationship is made of competition but at the same time, both China and Japan are ready to cooperate. First because it is in their interest but also since they are aware that it is the better way to challenge the US leadership in the region. [...]
[...] As the polls show, the feelings between China and Japan are clearly unfriendly (notably Chinese toward Japanese). For example, a poll reveals that Japanese trust in China felt from 25% in 1978 to 11% in 1999. Similarly, only of Chinese has a feeling of affinity toward Japan, and almost 45% has a feeling of no affinity. It is confirmed by the demonstrations which have taken place, such as the 2005 anti-Japanese demonstration in China. And the official position about it is not very clear. [...]
[...] China and Japan, History, Trends, and Prospects. Claredon Press Page 93. WAN, Ming. Sino-Japanses Relations, Interaction, Logic, and Transformation. Woodrow Wilson Center Press Page 69. YAHUDA, Michael. The limits of Economic Interdependence. Page 177. WAN, Ming. Sino-Japanses Relations, Interaction, Logic, and Transformation. Woodrow Wilson Center Press Page 70. WAN, Ming. Sino-Japanses Relations, Interaction, Logic, and Transformation. Woodrow Wilson Center Press Page 76. ROY, Denny. The Sources and Limits of Sino-Japanese Tensions. Page 199. WAN, Ming. Sino-Japanses Relations, Interaction, Logic, and Transformation. [...]
[...] Japan and China managed to deal with the little incidents which occurred such as the occupation of the island by Chinese people but they are not able to find a compromise which would satisfy everyone: ‘China does not have the capacity to resolve it. But non- governmental activists should be allowed to disrupt Japan's plan for de facto control.' Only by having a brief overview of the political and diplomatic tensions between China and Japan, we can see that the situation is almost blocked. [...]
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