INTERVIEW: Ex-PM Fukuda Calls for Early Japan-China Summit


Tokyo, Sept. 30 (Jiji Press)--Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who attaches importance to the country's relations with China, has stressed a need for the two East Asian neighbors to hold a bilateral summit early toward resolving issues including that over the Senkaku Islands.

Japan and China on Thursday marked 50 years since they normalized their diplomatic relations on Sept. 29, 1972. But a festive mood is not seen due in part to the issue over the East China Sea islands, which are under Japanese administration and claimed by China, and China's growing military presence in the region.

Fukuda is the eldest son of Takeo Fukuda, who was Japan's prime minister when the Japanese and Chinese governments concluded a peace and friendship treaty in 1978. He was serving as secretary to his father at the time.

Yasuo Fukuda, who was in the post of prime minister for one year until September 2008, and then Chinese President Hu Jintao issued a joint statement on the two countries' "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" during the then Chinese leader's state visit to Japan in May 2008.

Diplomatic normalization between Japan and China was a major issue in the 1972 leadership race of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in which Kakuei Tanaka defeated Fukuda's father in a runoff.

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