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China Daily Website

Japan's new ambassador highlights bilateral relations

Updated: 2012-12-18 13:26
( Xinhua)

TOKYO - "Improving the bilateral relationship will be my top priority. It's big challenge for me," Japan's new ambassador to China Masato Kitera said in a recent interview with Chinese media at the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Kitera said he felt surprised that he was pointed as the new ambassador to China, because he thought "there must be someone better suited than me for the position, but Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba insisted he wants me to do the job."

Japan's new ambassador highlights bilateral relations

Japan's new ambassador to China Masato Kitera talks about China-Japan relationships during an interview with Chinese media in Tokyo, Dec 14, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

"I know it will be a tough job, because the relationship between Japan and China has been deteriorated since this fall, but a lot of friends of mine from both the ruling party and the opposition parties encouraged me," said Kitera. "They told me they will fully support me no matter what happens, so I decided to take the job and do it as best as I could."

"Actually I have strong connections with China," Kitera said. "My mother was burn in Dalian, China, and she came back to Japan when she was 14. She always wants to visit the birthplace again."

Kitera said the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations 40 years ago opened a new era in bilateral relations. Citing an old Chinese saying that "Drinking the water from a well, one should never forget those who dug it," he said "We should keep in mind the efforts of the old generation for the normalization and push forward the bilateral relations."

China and Japan, as the world's second and third largest economies, have forged economic and trade ties in different fields and at different levels, he noted, adding, "The deadlock in bilateral relations will do nothing good to the economy and people of both countries."

As for the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls Senkaku Islands, Kitera said though it's very hard to find a solution to the territorial dispute, the two countries are carrying out diplomatic dialogue. He hoped the issue could be settled peacefully and the overall bilateral relationship would not affected.

"The problem between the two countries is like a kind of disease. We need to find out the lesion together and heal it with patience. The bilateral diplomatic relationship will become healthy again, I believe in that."

He also stressed the people of the two countries should have direct contact at various levels, saying it is very important for improvement in their feelings to each other.

Kitera said he is looking forward to sharing his views on improving bilateral relationship with Chinese friends.

Graduated from Tokyo University, Kitera, 60, began to work for the Japanese Foreign Ministry from 1976 and had served as assistant chief cabinet secretary since 2011 before he was appointed as ambassador to China.

He is scheduled to leave for China later this month.

Shinichi Nishimiya was nominated as ambassador to China in September to replace Uichiro Niwa, but died of acute heart failure before leaving for China. Kitera took the post of Nishimiya.