Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Neighbors face tough challenge of building trust

By CAI HONG (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-03 08:06

Neighbors face tough challenge of building trust

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida gestures during a press conference at the International Media Center in Hiroshima, Japan on April 11, 2016 after Foreign Ministers meeting of G7 countries visit the Peace Memorial Museum. [Photo/IC]

On Saturday, while Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was visiting Beijing, Japan announced it was relaxing its multiple-entry visa requirements for Chinese citizens.

The new rules will extend the validity of multiple-entry visas for Chinese visiting Japan for business purposes and Chinese academics from 5 years to 10 years, and will encourage a larger influx of Chinese visitors.

Also, students from 75 Chinese higher learning institutions will find it easier to get a visa to go to Japan.

Japan's foreign ministry said the easing of restrictions is intended to further broaden people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The push for Chinese visitors is a part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth strategy, which seeks to promote tourism as a source of economic stimulus.

But some Japanese internet users have expressed concern about the inflow of more Chinese into their country. China is already Japan's largest source of foreign tourists, and some of their Chinese counterparts said the visa relaxation won't induce them to visit Japan.

It is not difficult to see the dearth of trust on both sides.

Still, any efforts to promote mutual understanding are commendable as the deficit is a serious issue for the two neighbors.

Before his China trip, Kishida told business leaders in Tokyo that without support of their people relations between states are fragile.

In the first two decades after the normalization of diplomatic ties in 1972, China and Japan prioritized building a friendly relationship by setting aside political and other differences.

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