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Media urged to promote China-Japan ties
By Meng Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-07 00:05

Veteran journalists from China and Japan Monday called on their modern counterparts to promote China-Japan relations through making objective, fair and balanced reports.

"The media should take the problems and negative factors in bilateral relations seriously," said Liu Deyou, a retired journalist who worked in Japan from 1964 to 1978 as a correspondent for Guangming Daily and the Xinhua News Agency.

"They should try their best to write dispassionate reports without involving their personal feelings and without exaggeration so that the public can see possible solution to these problems," he said.

He was echoed by Yokobori Katsumi, a correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun in Beijing in the 1980s and 1990s.

"The Japanese media should correctly understand the situation in China as much as possible and introduce that to the Japanese people in a comprehensive way," said Katsumi.

Both Liu and Katsumi were speaking at Monday's seminar commemorating the 40th anniversary of the exchange of resident correspondents between China and Japan.

China sent seven journalists to Tokyo and Japan sent nine journalists to Beijing in September 1964, eight years before the normalization of bilateral relations.

"Such an exchange was a major breakthrough in Sino-Japanese media co-operation, making it possible for journalists to get first-hand information by observing and interviewing in the other country," Liu said.

"This created favourable conditions for the two peoples to further enhance mutual understanding," he added.

Zhao Qizheng, minister of the Information Office under the State Council, said these journalists were "not only notetakers but witnesses" to the history of the two countries.

Japanese charge d'affaires Harada Chikahito said these journalists had played important roles in promoting mutual understanding and trust between the Japanese and Chinese people.

But Zhao and Chikahito urged the media from both countries to ensure their reports are just and impartial especially in an era when information technology is booming.

Zhao expressed concern over the current situation in which China and Japan have good economic ties but an icy political relationship.

Two-way trade volume reached US$135 billion last year. Japan is now China's biggest trading partner, while China is Japan's second-largest trading partner.

But Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has visited the Yasukuni shrine four times since he took office in 2001, leading to the stagnation of bilateral high-level exchanges. It is reported that Koizumi said he would visit the shrine again next year.

The Yasukuni shrine, a symbol of Japanese militarism, honours more than 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 Class-A war criminals of World War II.

"It is regretful that the leadership of China and Japan have not exchanged visits for four years," said Ogoshi Yukio, a veteran Japanese journalist who used to work in China for the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), one of the nine original Japanese resident correspondents in Beijing.

"I thought at that time that Japan and China should gear their relations towards a peaceful direction to promote long-term and stable development. I have not changed this view," said Yukio.

He said he felt the sense of historical responsibility of "preventing the wheels of history from turning back" during his stay in China.

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