China and Japan will jointly launch a history study next week in Beijing, the
first of its kind.
The move is to narrow differences and improve bilateral ties.
The two sides have each appointed a 10-member team to take part in the
two-day meeting, starting from December 26.
Agencies quoted Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki as saying
the two teams, comprising scholars in history, international politics and
diplomacy, will be headed respectively by Chinese modern history scholar Bu Ping
and Japanese former United Nations ambassador Shinichi Kitaoka.
Discussions will be divided between two panels: One will focus on ancient,
medieval and early-modern history and the other on modern and contemporary
The Chinese experts are either senior researchers with the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences (CASS) or professors with Peking University.
"Japan-China relations have extended for about 2,000 years from ancient times
through now," Shiozaki said, "(The joint research) is to promote a more
objective understanding of the history through frank discussions."
President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in October
during the latter's visit to Beijing to start a joint history study by the end
of the year, aimed at deepening knowledge of the history and enhancing mutual
China and Japan's foreign ministers later at an APEC meeting exchanged
practical ideas on establishing such a joint study, agreeing to release the
outcome by the end of 2008
Bu Ping, director of the Institute of Modern History of CASS, said the joint
study will be developed into a certain mechanism and will be held regularly in
He said no specific issues will be discussed at the first meeting, instead,
it will concentrate on the working process, principles and purposes.
Shinzo Abe met with the 10 Japanese history scholars on Monday. He said such
a discussion would be meaningful and of interest to both countries.
Shinichi Kitaoka, now a Tokyo University professor, told Japanese reporters
that the current gap in historical interpretations between Japan and China
remains too wide and the first task would be to try and narrow it.
Japan has held a similar joint history study with the Republic of Korea, its
another close neighbour, which also suffered from Japanese wartime aggressions.
It is reported that Tokyo and Seoul have agreed on the need to launch a second
In another development, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a press
briefing yesterday that Chinese leaders have decided to visit Japan next year at
the convenience of both sides.
He did not give a date for the visit as it requires further discussions
through diplomatic channels.
State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan on Monday told visiting Japanese guests that
Chinese leaders have agreed in principle to visit Japan next year.
(China Daily 12/20/2006 page2)