Japan Protests as Beijing Unilaterally Changes Joint Document

December 13, 2007 Updated: December 13, 2007

Japan protested once again on December 12 about Beijing unilaterally deleting portions of a joint agreement of recent ministerial economic discussions between China and Japan. Both countries had initially agreed on content, but Beijing deleted certain parts while publishing the Chinese version.

The deleted portion centered around the hopes that Beijing will make efforts to appreciate the yuan and Japan's view on the importance of China's participation in the Energy Charter Treaty. Machimura Nobutaka, Chief Cabinet Secretary and State Minister said at a press conference held on December 11, “Based on international practices, what Beijing did was unbelievable,” according to VOA report.

According to Japanese national newspaper, Asahi Shimbun , Japan and China had high-level economic dialogue in Beijing and had agreed to publish a joint document afterward. Xinhua reported the event. People's Daily and the official website of China's Ministry of Commerce published a Chinese version of the joint document.

Japan's Request Unanswered

Machimura said the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Japan in Beijing have protested and requested the Chinese government to amend the paper, but so far there has been no response. Kōmura Masahiko, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who led the delegation to Beijing, said there could be a mistake and urged Beijing to make the necessary corrections.

Japanese Prime Minister's Visit to China Unaffected

However, the Japanese government does not think the incident will stop Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda from visiting China.

Earlier in December, Komura and other five cabinet members visited Beijing for high- level economic dialogue. Chinese leader Hu Jintao met with the Japanese delegation. They reached an agreement on the two country leaders' mutual visit and further discussions about economical cooperation on a broader aspect. The general public thinks this could be a milestone for both countries' mutual cooperation. However, Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun , published an editorial commenting that this will be hard, especially in the East Sea Oil Project and with state security issues.