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Japanese emperor's visit to China sends important signals to the United States

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Publication Date: January 1992

Publisher(s): East-West Center

Author(s): Charles Edward Morrison; Michel Oksenberg

Series: AsiaPacific issues ; [no. 1]

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)
International relations (Diplomacy)

Type: Report

Coverage: Japan China United States


The October 23-28 visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito to China symbolizes the strengthening of relations between East Asia's two giants and carries important implications for the United States. For China, the visit caps a year of remarkably successful diplomacy. For Japan, the trip provides an opportunity to help lay to rest the unhappy legacy of Japan's 1931-1945 aggression in China. The visit also helps Tokyo build better relations with China during a period of uncertainty about the future of the U.S. presence in the region. Equally important, the visit underlines the rapidly expanding Sino-Japanese economic relationship. Sino-Japanese ties are improving at a time when U.S. relations with China have deteriorated and U.S. relations with Japan are plagued by economic frictions. Problems with the United States give both Asian countries added impetus for improving their relations with each other and suggest a diminishing U.S. capacity to control the shifting political environment in Asia.