Skip to content

June 12, 1989

China Division [Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan], 'Our Country’s Future China Policy (Taking the Situation into Account)'

This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Indefinite Duration

Our Country’s Future China Policy (Taking the Situation into Account)

June 12, 1989

China Division

1. Basic Understanding of the Current Situation

(1) This is a domestic problem of China, a neighboring country whose political system and values differ from those of our country.

(2) It is a tragic situation that the martial law forces turned their guns on residents and students, resulting in the loss of many lives. From a humanitarian point of view, it is unacceptable.

(3) Hard-liners under Deng in the Party and military have taken control of the leadership and at present are moving along this line toward a return to normal. (However, China faces a host of problems in its domestic and foreign affairs.)

2. Present Approach

(1) On the basis of the basic understanding above, we will examine the situation’s impact on Japan-China relations and our response to it.

(2) In substance, our approach will be such that the impact of the current situation will be as small as possible. (For factors to consider, see attached “References.”)

3. Issues Requiring Specific Examination

(1) Bilateral political relations

(a) How intergovernmental contacts should be → ministerial meetings, high-level exchanges, etc.

(b) Basic framework → review of the Japan-China Joint Communique, etc.

(c) Recognition of history → visits to Yasukuni Shrine, textbooks, etc. (Our country should not play down its past actions just because China has recently committed inhumane acts.)

(d) Relations with Taiwan → As Taiwan’s actions are unpredictable, we will wait and see for now.

(2) Japan-China Bilateral Economic Relations

(a) Economic aid on a governmental basis → Both halting it and continuing it would have a great impact. We will engage in careful consultation with the relevant ministries and agencies.

(b) Trade and investment Practical relations at present are tapering off. We will not express in particular any policy intentions for our country.

(3) Bilateral social issues → We will grant the special favor of visa extension for the time being to Chinese residing in our country. (We need to issue as soon as possible a statement or some such to nip in the bud any asylum cases in our country before they happen.)

(4) International aspects

(a) Summit Policy → Communique/Chairman’s Summary (We will avoid the impression of the participating countries in the Summit ganging up on China. We will take care in expressing any recognition of the situation.)

(b) Relations with the United States → Due to the case of Fang Lizhi and such, there is a danger of a cooling in relations between China and the United States. Discussions with the US side will be required.

(c) Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) → An easing of restrictions on China will be difficult for the time being.

(References) Several Points to Consider in Future Policy Decisions

(1) A desirable image of China for our country → a China advancing its modernization by consistent, stable, and moderate policies.

(2) The weight of our country’s China policy and its repercussions → Our country’s China policy (a) not only has a great impact on the China policies of other countries, but also exerts major influence on China’s domestic and foreign policies themselves. Consequently, in deciding our country’s policy, it is necessary to evaluate carefully in advance its impact.

(3) Impact on China’s foreign relations →

(a) Avoiding dissatisfaction with China’s domestic policy turning into anti-Japanese sentiment.

(b) Signs of future worsening in relations between the United States and China. Relations with the West as a whole.

(c) For the time being, it will be difficult for China to move actively in diplomacy (influence on the issues of Cambodia and the Korean Peninsula).

(4) Popular opinion in our country and international public opinion → The current situation has made it difficult for anyone to stand on the side of China’s present government.

(5) The Chinese people’s future → Considering the expectations of Chinese youths and citizens toward the democratic camp, including our country.

Outline of Japan’s basic understanding of the situation in China in regards to the Tiananmen Square incident. The document discusses the ongoing approach to China, issues requiring specific examination, Japan-China bilateral economic relations, international diplomatic aspects, and points of consideration for future policy discussions.

Document Information


2020-0545, Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs, published online by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Translated by Stephen Mercado.


The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.

To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].

Original Uploaded Date



Record ID


Original Classification



The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars