Future of China-Japan ties lies in peaceful coexistence
A digital billboard in the Shibuya area of Tokyo conveys Japan's support to China in the fight against the virus. [Photo/Xinhua]
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, now named COVID-19, China's stringent measures to combat the epidemic have not only attracted the attention of millions of Chinese, but also foreign governments.
Among the many countries that have come to China's aid, neighboring Japan has responded with remarkable speed.
The Japanese government as well as the country's private sector responded quickly. As early as Jan 23, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the plenary session of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Diet, Japan's parliament, that the country should fully support China's fight against the epidemic.
Ito-Yokado, the Japanese supermarket chain, transported 1 million masks to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Sichuan province on Jan 25.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Japan is willing to make every effort to provide China with all-around support to help tide over the situation.
Photo taken on Feb 11, 2020 shows a signboard conveying support to China in fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic at a store in Tokyo, Japan. [Photo/Xinhua]
On Jan 27, Japan announced that it would designate the disease as a "specific infection", which means the medical expenses of all the infected people there, regardless of their nationality, will be covered by the government.
On Jan 28, Japan sent a special plane to Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, to evacuate Japanese nationals. The plane was loaded with urgently needed medical supplies.
On Feb 7, secretaries of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito Party visited the Chinese embassy in Japan, expressing Japan's willingness to provide China with all assistance.
On Feb 10, the LDP announced funding support, with each LDP member donating 5,000 yen ($45) to China.
Local governments have started to provide "targeted support" to their Chinese sister cities. For example, Oita, the capital of Oita Prefecture, has been providing support to Wuhan. Other cities providing help to sister cities are Tomakomai, to Qinhuangdao, Hebei province; Yurihonjo and Akashi, to Wuxi, Jiangsu province; Mito and Hiroshima, to Chongqing; Kawasaki, to Shenyang, Liaoning province; Hamamatsu, to Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, as well as Shenyang; Hikone, to Xiangtan, Hunan province; Kagoshima, to Changsha, Hunan province; and Satsumasendai, to Changsha. In addition, Hiroshima Prefecture has been providing aid to Sichuan province.
Japanese "Be Strong China" and "Be strong, Wuhan" are seen on a honey bottle at a stall in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan, Feb 8, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
Fundraising activities were organized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Japan, alumni associations of universities, scientific institutions, Ito-Yokado and Toyota, among others.
"It is the virus, not the people, that is bad," an official at Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said at a news conference in response to reports of discriminations abroad.
Public health crises can serve as an opportunity to improve relations. After the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Japan sent a rescue team to China and provided 1 billion yen in assistance.
Photo taken on Feb 10, 2020 shows signboards conveying support to China in fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic on a street in Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan. [Photo/Kyodo News via Xinhua]
When an earthquake struck Japan in March 2011, China sent a professional rescue team to the disaster zone and provided 30 million yuan ($4.3 million) in assistance. It also provided Japan with 10,000 tons of gasoline and 10,000 tons of diesel for free, and an additional 20 million yuan of assistance. China's total aid to Japan was estimated at more than 200 million yuan.
China-Japan relations will embrace a warm spring. Social governance, people's livelihoods, public health and global governance are expected to become new highlights of bilateral cooperation in the future.
Since China and Japan are close neighbors with growing common interests, the future of their relations lies in peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
Photo taken on Feb 11, 2020 shows a signboard conveying support to China in fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic at Ginza in Tokyo, Japan. [Photo/Xinhua]