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October 20, 1955

Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou’s Reception of the Japanese Parliamentary Delegation in China and the Japanese Academic and Cultural Delegation in China

This document was made possible with support from Henry Luce Foundation

Return to Japanese Division, Department of Asian Affairs


Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou Reception of Visiting Delegation of Japanese Diet Members



Top Secret    
Routine Receipt          
National Day Foreign Visitor Reception Committee Office


National Day Foreign Visitor Situation Special Report No. 38, 20 October 1954   


Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou Reception of Visiting Delegation of Japanese Diet Members and Visiting Japanese Academic and Cultural Delegation


At 10: 20 on the morning of 11 October, Premier Zhou received in Ziguang Hall, Zhongnanhai, a visiting delegation of Japanese Diet members and a visiting Japanese academic and cultural delegation. First, the Premier gave a talk (gist):


I warmly welcome today the participation of so many Japanese friends in our National Day. Since you have come, we very much hope that you will stay longer and see more things. Our two countries are close neighbors. For over 20 years now, there has been a great deal of estrangement. I hope that the peoples of China and Japan can resume their contacts and that relations between our two countries can be normalized.


China and Japan's contacts have a very long historical record. Over the past 100 years, Japan has moved ahead of us both economically and culturally. Japan industrialized after the Meiji Restoration. China for a very long time in the past was lagging behind in every aspect. Everyone said that China’s culture was ancient, that it was in the past, and that it had its place in history. However, for nearly a century China’s development lagged behind. Japan moved ahead of China economically and culturally, but Japan's industrial development also brought misfortune. That is to say, it produced militarism, drove wars of aggression, and brought the Japanese people misfortune. However, this matter has passed. The Chinese people can well analyze and differentiate this issue. Militarism brought disaster to the Japanese people, but industrialization has also been beneficial for the Japanese people’s economic development. The Chinese people formerly were anxious about the revival of Japanese militarism, but the Chinese people have confidence that, if the peoples of China and Japan become close friends and their contacts grow close, this can prevent this danger. Of course, it still mainly has to do with the Japanese people. The Japanese people went through disaster, their understanding grew, and their desire for peace and independence certainly grew stronger. I believe that the Japanese people are demanding a peaceful, independent, democratic, and free country. I do not know whether or not my thinking is correct, so please correct me. Then it was Mosaburo Suzuki, representative of the Leftist Socialist Party of Japan, representing the visiting delegation of Japanese legislators, spoke: On this occasion we representatives of the various parties of the Japanese Diet are indebted to the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) for this invitation, obtaining the opportunity to observe and study the actual situation in New China. We express our sincere gratitude. In the past, through the mistaken policies of the military factions, government officials, and financial combines, Japan brought grave disaster to your country. For this, we express our profound apology.


Relations between Japan and China are unfortunate because reparations for the past war have yet to be implemented. Although invited to participate in this National Day ceremony, we do not have the opportunity to express officially our joy to the Chinese people and government.


Therefore, we express here in the name of the Japanese people our profound respect and congratulations.


Our objective in visiting your country is mainly to observe the actual situation in New China and gain the opportunity to talk with government officials and people from all walks of life, thereby striving to  increase understanding between the peoples of our two countries. Now, thanks to the relationship with the CPIFA, we have seen with our own eyes the actual situation of New China's new construction and social transformation, and its achievements have deeply moved us. Hereafter, we will visit various places and expand our knowledge in order to increase and deepen our countrymen’s correct understanding regarding New China.


At present, one of our objectives in visiting China is a desire to make a contribution to the handling of various issues between Japan and China and to the establishment of relations of peaceful coexistence  between our two countries and peoples.


As everyone knows, up to this point, a considerable number of people from our country, including members of the Diet, have had the opportunity to visit China. However, there has never been anything this direct, because this time various political parties of Japan’s master – the National Diet – have officially sent representatives to China.


Regarding Japan’s domestic affairs and diplomacy , we have our own different policies and different views. However, we are willing to express clearly to Premier Zhou: As we announced several days ago, Asia must be one. Japan and China, and the peoples of both countries, must establish relations of equality, reciprocity, and peaceful coexistence . Regarding this point, our overall views are the same.


 We want to convey the general will for what we have stated of the various political parties and Japan. At the same time, we want to know the formal and informal views of your country’s government or your country’s officials and convey them to our country in order to prepare for advancing future opportunities for an adjustment of diplomatic relations between our countries.


In addition, at the same time as the aforementioned issue of adjusting diplomatic relations, we have another hope. What exists now between our two countries? Among the cases some are humanitarian issues and economic issues. We believe that these issues all can be put aside and then resolved following the adjustment of diplomatic relations.


These issues are the circumstances for returnees and war criminals who have yet to return to Japan since the war and helping them to return to Japan; fisheries in the East Sea [Sea of Japan] and the detained fishing boats and fishermen; and expanding peace and commerce between Japan and China.


Regarding the aforementioned issues, to date your country has expended a great deal of energy but, in order to ask that your country continue to make further efforts, we are attempting to make contact with the relevant parties through relations with the CPIFA. We hope that His Excellency the State Council Premier and Foreign Minister [Zhou Enlai] will directly attend to the aforementioned issues.


Then it was Yoshishige Abe, leader of the visiting Japanese academic and cultural delegation, who spoke:


We are greatly pleased to have the honor of personally calling on Mr. Zhou, a historical figure who is driving the current history of the world.


I am a scholar who knows little of politics, the economy, or diplomacy. I would now simply like to speak frankly and succinctly about what I feel ordinarily about Sino-Japanese relations. Each time we meet, we all say that close cultural and academic relations between China and Japan are every-day bridges of goodwill between China and Japan. Those of us in the cultural and academic spheres,  when we think of how in the past we were incapable of controlling Japan’s ignorant and reckless militarists,  when we hear each time the phrase “cultural relations between China and Japan are very deep, ” we feel deeply ashamed. We Japanese at present are under US oppression. This is a fact. However, we firmly opposed the thinking among some Americans, that is, to regard the Japanese as human resources for their country’s own wars and to think to use Asians to fight Asians. Today, relations between China and Japan are still not under normal conditions. The Japanese government has isolated itself from China. However, in spite of this, China of its own accord opens the door for us. I would like to thank you for this. At the same time, considering peace in Asia and Japan, it mainly will be determined by China’s will to peace. Therefore, I long for China’s direct and indirect cooperation for peace. After the war, the Soviet Union returned to China all the territory it had invaded and occupied and obtained the Sino-Soviet alliance and goodwill. I believe that, needless to say, this is a wise policy for both China and for the Soviet Union. I think that the Soviet Union’s action of suddenly invading and occupying Chishima [Kuril Islands] at the conclusion of the war was sly. Such an action makes people unable to trust fully the Soviet will to peace. At present, under the leadership of Chairman Mao, all of China is full of the cries of peace. I believe that the coexistence of the camps is possible and, at the same time, also painfully feel the difficulty of coexistence. I hope that China will not only make a policy of peace but also make an everlasting principle of peace. If the two camps simply shift the responsibility for destroying the peace to the other side, then in the end peace will be unable to be established. I hope that China will step forward and, in view of the general situation, take determined diplomatic measures, such as seeking to persuade the Soviet Union to return Chishima to Japan. I oppose Japan’s rearmament. China also opposes Japan’s rearmament. However, among the Japanese are those who, fearing that China’s policy of oppressing Asia will militarily oppress Japan, as a result actively advocate a need for Japan to rearm. I long for the Chinese to continue without cease to carry out this will to peace and principle of peace, and even surpass the opposition of the two camps and show results.


The Progressive Reform Party’s Tokuji Tokonami said the following: This time we have come to visit your country to see things in China’s various aspects of construction. We are very happy. Since Japan’s defeat in the war, we have tried to restore our economic power but, to make Japan truly independent, we will have to make greater efforts. We are now striving to strengthen Japan’s economic power. Just now Premier Zhou also mentioned that relations between China and Japan at present still have some areas without mutual understanding. However, overall, the history of our two countries has had relations of goodwill and friendship. The goodwill and friendship of our two countries are the happiness of the peoples of our two countries, as well as the peace and prosperity of Asia. For this reason, we hope to resume friendly relations between our two countries and hope that Japan soon becomes an independent country. There are still some obstacles to this, but we must consider the general situation, overcome obstacles, and develop relations of peace and friendship between our two counties, which is also peace in Asia. This is what I deeply feel.


Motojiro Sugiyama, representing the Rightist Socialist Party of Japan, said: We are deeply grateful to have participated in China’s National Day and toured various places. The relationship between our two countries, as Premier Zhou said, has a long history, is also that of a common culture and common race, and is extremely close. However, in the course of Japan’s capitalist development there emerged a state of war, causing disputes between the two countries, which were very regrettable. Many people in Japan have considered this result. Therefore, they strongly demand peace. We long for peace. The result of longing for peace will bring development to Japan’s trade and will make relations between our two countries better. As has been mentioned just now, trade will develop if there is peace, so we must overcome every difficulty.


The Liberal Party’s Kikuichiro Yamaguchi said: We received your country’s invitation to come visit and received a warm reception. We are very grateful. Premier Zhou and our representatives have all said that China and Japan’s friendship and cooperation are everyone’s consensus view. Well, then, why can we not quickly reach this hope?


It is because there are various obstacles. Overcoming these obstacles one by one is an important responsibility of us Diet members. It takes only four hours fly from Tokyo to Beijing, but we were obliged to make a detour to come here from Hong Kong. This shows that there are obstacles between our two countries. Japan’s difficulty is greater than that of China. China and the Soviet Union together fought and together became victors in the war. Japan and the United States, on the other hand, are in a relationship of victorious and defeated country. The difficulty of the Japanese government and the Japanese people lies there. I hope that you can understand and sympathize. This being the case, on this year’s National Day China could still officially invite us. This is indeed what one can say is a welcome rain after a long drought. In short, we have made a cordial visit to China and have had a cordial meeting with Premier Zhou. It truly seems that the problems of the past 100 years have been resolved at once. Regarding the issues of trade, Japanese residing in China, and fisheries, I feel that, in fact, to go on, it would be better to have more people visit China and obtain today more opportunities. We also want to push the Japanese government forward and create more opportunities for China to visit Japan. This is an urgent priority. All issues can be resolved through consultation. Having said that, one can understand that at this time there are many issues that we wish to discuss. I think that this is not something that can be resolved at once. Hereafter the main thing is to deepen our friendship with one another and cooperate better. After returning to Japan, I will convey this to the Japanese people and hereby pay our respects to your country and thank you. Hereafter we do not know whether or not we will have this opportunity again. However, we always visit China and hope in the future to be able to receive China’s representatives in Japan to strengthen the intrinsically friendly relations between our two countries.


Then Premier Zhou said: First, I am grateful for the statements of you gentlemen. You have spoken frankly. We also know that there are areas of disagreement among you gentlemen, but all parties have expressed a common wish: peace and an improvement in relations with China. As all of you have said, Japan at present is in a difficult environment, defeated in war nine years ago, the disaster caused by Japan militarism and borne for the last nine years by the Japanese people. As Mr. Abe has said, Japan is still in a position of semi-occupation. The Chinese people are very sympathetic with regard to the Japanese people’s difficult situation. However, we know that it was Japanese militarism, and not the Japanese people, which brought about such a disaster. We know that the Japanese people are diligent brave, and wise. In the past the Japanese people turned a backward country into an industrial one. This is not only good Japan; at the same time it contributes to Asia and the world as well. Today, in an oppressed situation and on the basis of their own experience, the Chinese people not only sympathize with the Japanese people’s situation but also believe that the Japanese people certainly will arise and establish a free, independent, and democratic Japan. Historically, the Japanese nation has always been an independent nation. How can such a modernized country be oppressed for long? We Chinese people, oppressed for 100 years, today have opened the door. Japan, which has always been an independent nation, has been oppressed for only nine years. They certainly will not be long oppressed. We believe that our neighbors will [portion of text missing] their own independence. However, in regard to Japan seeking the way to independence, there may be two ways of thinking. One way is to think of the United States as the nation that won the war and Japan as the country that lost. The United States puts pressure on Japan, which for a time cannot be rid of it. Can Japan depend on the United States to obtain its independence? Based on the Chinese people’s experience, this is not obtainable. Nine years ago, as Mr. Yamaguchi said, China was a victor in the war. The United States, too, was a victor. The influence of the United States in China was great. What was the result? The United States bullied China. In the end, the Chinese people did not liberate themselves in opposing Japanese militarism but in opposing US aggression. China and the United States were both allied countries and victors in the war. The United States also wanted to bully China. What is more, the relationship of Japan and the United States is that of victor and defeated country, right?


One will not obtain independence in depending on the United States. I believe that fully aware Japanese persons and most Japanese people are very clear about it. As Mr. Abe said, the United States is asking Japan very clearly. It desires Japan to arm itself and take its place for fighting others, engaging in foreign aggression, and serving in its place as cannon fodder. In the past the United States also helped Chiang Kai-shek to fight the Chinese. Therefore, not only the Chinese people, but the Japanese people as well, disapprove of a Japanese military armed by the United States. It is not only we in neighboring China who worry. Asia, South America, and Australia are also very worried. To depend on the United States would not be good for the Japanese people, nor would it be good for us in neighboring China. This road leads nowhere, and it makes for discord between the peoples of China and Japan. Another road is to rely on the Japanese people to arise on their own. This road is difficult. However, we believe that the Japanese people must rely on their own strength to stand up. From China’s point of view, we were oppressed for 100 years, in the end by the United States. The situation is grave. Today the United States has several divisions in Japan. At that time, the United States had in China an army, aircraft, a navy, and was helping Chiang Kai-shek. However, the Chinese people even so relied on their own strength and stood up. Japan for several thousand years has been independent. Japan is also an industrialized country. The Japanese people are brave and wise. In this you are similar to China. The Chinese people believe that the Japanese people will stand up, although it may be difficult or take a little longer. All of you are [portion of text missing] for the independence of Japan. So, we hope that you all find strength in the people. If you all ask as to the experience of China’s independence, we have no other answer but that you must rely on the people. Of course, the people must unite, unite for independence, for peace, and for the world’s countries to co-exist in peace. Independence is not for aggression against others. Our country itself is this way. Recently there have been people who say that if Japan wants independence, wants peace, and rids itself of the United States, then no one will come bully it. For instance, China is also this way. If anyone should come to bully us, we will certainly resist. We have such confidence. We believe that Japan, independent for several thousand years, will have more confidence than us, or at least no less than us. When Japan becomes an independent, democratic, and peaceful country, it must have arms for self-defense. In the past, Japan militarism invaded China. That was militarism’s responsibility. The Japanese people do not bear responsibility for this. After independence, Japan should have arms for self-defense. These arms would differ from those, under the United States, for serving as US cannon fodder and serving on the front line to fight others. Arms for self-defense must be for defending oneself. This is something in which no one can interfere. When Japan develops a peaceful economy and culture, we will respect it. Such are all peace-loving countries. At present, Japan’s economy has not obtained independence. The United States controls Japan. Today, when the United States fights, it turns to Japan to place military orders. Tomorrow, US domestic politics will change. Once no longer fighting, it will decrease its orders, so bringing about a Japanese economic crisis. The Japanese economy’s inability to become independent is due to US control. If the Japanese economy can become independent, it will not be exploited by the US [portion of text missing] military. Without subjecting the Japanese people to disaster and oppression, Japan’s peaceful economy, trade, and cultural exchange could be broadly developed.


Now, let us discuss Sino-Japanese relations. You gentlemen here may ask: In the past Japan threatened China. Today China has grown strong. Will it not threaten Japan? On this point I can assure you that we truly want world peace and [portion of text missing]. As Mr. Abe said, this is not general policy but our basic policy. From the view point of the history of Sino-Japanese relations, we lived together for more than two thousand years. Your country, a maritime one, has been independent for several thousand years. Historically speaking, the only nation of China that invaded Japan was the Mongol nation of the Yuan Dynasty. However, they came back in defeat. For 60 years, relations between China and Japan were bad, but that time has already passed. We should leave it in the past. Past history must not be repeated. I think that this can be achieved because this friendship exists between the peoples of China and Japan. Compared to several thousand years or several tens of thousands of years of history, 60 years are nothing. Unfortunately, those of us seated here were in this period of 60 years. However, our ancestors were not affected by it! Future generations of our descendants, too, should not be affected by it.


 We cannot suffer foreign provocations. We should not be unkind to one another. We must find the seeds of peace from within ourselves. I believe that there are such seeds. Let me tell you gentlemen a vivid fact.


After 15 August 1945, the Japan military laid down its arms. Before that day, we had fought for 15 years, but once they laid down their arms, the Japanese became friendly towards the Chinese. The Chinese, too, regard the Japanese as friends, and there are no grudges. The greatest, most vivid thing is that there were many Japanese who, after laying down their arms, joined the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and helped us to drive out Chiang Kai-shek and the United States. Here is an example from the Chinese Northeast. In the Northeast there are many Japanese soldiers who, after laying down their arms, have not returned to Japan. They and some of the Japanese residing in China joined the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and served as medics and nurses; worked in factories as engineers; and served as teachers in schools. Yesterday they were still fighting. Today they have become friends. We Chinese people believe them and do not bear a grudge. A great many Japanese friends have worked well and helped us. We are very grateful to them. They came to us voluntarily. We did not capture them and force them. As a result, last year most of them were sent back to Japan. There were more than 26, 000 persons. If you do not believe, you can go ask them. Gentlemen, think of it. Those who once had fought one another, once they laid down their arms, have worked together and trusted one another. Many Chinese suffered injuries. They asked Japanese doctors to operate on them. Many who were sick asked Japanese nurses to care for them. They really trusted them. In the factories, they had confidence in the Japanese engineers and had them operate the machinery. In our Academy of Sciences, they believed in the Japanese scientists researching insects and bacteria. This is friendship. One may say that it is true and reliable friendship. So, as the gentleman from the Progressive Reform Party said just now, we are of a common culture and common race. On the basis of such friendship, it is entirely possible for us to improve relations between China and Japan. So, both a common culture and common race and coexistence and co-prosperity are good. They are not for invading others. We do not exclude other countries. What we are for is peaceful coexistence. That is the seed of our friendship. You gentlemen must ask: When we are industrialized and Japan is industrialized, will there not be conflict? Indeed things will change. But if it were always to an industrial Japan and an agricultural China, relations would incapable of improvement. Japan has always bought raw materials from China and exported industrial goods. However, if China is very poor, the market will not be large, and the volume of demand will not be large. An agricultural and poor China will then arouse aggression in others. We Chinese people have stood up. We must turn China into an industrial country, but it will take a long time to rid ourselves of this backwardness. In front of our Japanese friends are two roads for China. Would it be good to hope that China remains forever a backward, agricultural country? Or would it be good to hope for China’s industrialization? The first road is a bad one. It is the road of waging war. It was so for the past 100 years. Not a few imperialisms fought one another for China’s market. We had such an experience in our history. Sixty years ago, Japan won the Sino-Japanese War. What was the result? The West intervened. They, too, wanted to grab territory in China. So, then came the Russo-Japanese War. In order to carve out spheres of influence, they fomented internal disorder in China. This made China ever poorer and the market ever smaller. Although such things were for a time good for militarism and militarists, they were not good for the people. Moreover, the Chinese people today have stood up and are no longer willing to live through such days. They will not let such days of suffering return. Even if Japan had a small minority of people who wanted to resume militarism, the Chinese people would not again allow another invasion.


The other road is to let China industrialize. This would require a peaceful international environment and would let us ourselves build our own country. Only with China industrialized and Japan industrialized would there be peaceful coexistence, coexistence and co-prosperity. As China’s economy develops and the market grows, China will need mutual exchange of assistance, the development of trade, and increased trade volume. Because so long as the Chinese people’s standard of living rises, their strength will grow and they will not only resolve domestic problems but need imports and need to export abroad. Japan is our close neighbor. You are clearer than any other country regarding the needs of our market and people. You know what things we have and know what things you most need. Today, although there are obstacles to trade and trade volumes are low, so long as friendship develops, future prospects certainly will be vast. China is large in territory. Its population is large. Demand is large. The amount of production is also large. As an example, let us talk about food. As China’s agriculture develops, food can be exported. China’s peasants produce more than one catty per person. At once they can produce more than 250,000 tons of grain. In this way, the volume of exports could be increased. And if Japan needs our coal, we will open some more mines and each year be able to increase coal production by 10 million tons. This is great. The people’s needs, too, are great. In China, with a population of 600 million, no one uses more than a few things. The number is very impressive. Peaceful coexistence  is mutual exchange of assistance, coexistence  and co-prosperity, and, it goes without saying, cultural exchange. Cultural exchange between our two countries has historically been frequent. In the past 80 years, China studied Western culture via Japan and started from there. Of China's older generation who are still active, those now engaged in politics, many of them studied in Japan. Mr. Guo Moruo, who is seated here with us, is an important representative figure of those who studied in Japan. He once studied medicine at your [Kyushu] Imperial University. After the failure of the Revolution [Nanchang Uprising, 1927], he spent another 10 years in Japan. The Nationalist Party persecuted him, he went into exile to Japan, and you took him in. This greatly deserves our thanks. Japan’s culture has given us these benefits. We should be grateful for such friendship. When I studied abroad, too, I first went to Japan and lived there a year and a half. Although I was not a good student of the Japanese language, I lived in Japan, which deeply impressed me. Japan has an extraordinarily beautiful culture. In our past history, our cultures interacted with one another and influenced one another. So, in line with normal relations, the prospects are great for cultural exchange between China and Japan. The key lies in wanting peaceful coexistence. No one must deride other ideas. Mr. Abe just now asked whether or not different systems, the two camps, can co-exist peacefully. We think that there entirely exists such a possibility so long as both sides have such an aspiration. We and India have reached such an agreement. China and India have historically coexisted peacefully. China received the influence of Indian culture, particularly Buddhism, and seated here with us are Buddhist representatives. Therefore, our two nations have a belief in mutual trust. India lags Japan economically, and politically has not been independent for long, but they have confidence and think that the two powers can peacefully coexist. Mr. Nehru is soon to arrive in China (pointing to Suzuki: You have met him and talked with him). So, although of China and India have different national and social systems, both countries know that they can peacefully co-exist with one another. We have issued the Five Principles. As everyone knows, they are mutual respect for each other’s territorial sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. We also reached an agreement with Burma and issued a statement. We think that these Five Principles should not be limited to India and Burma but can be applied to all of Asia and even to all the world’s countries. I think that we and Japan, too, in the same way can assume these obligations for one another according to the Five Principles. When Mr. Guo Moruo was serving last year as vice premier, he mentioned to a coalition delegation of Japanese Diet members promoting trade between Japan and China that if Japan became an independent and democratic country, we would be willing to conclude a mutual non-aggression treaty with Japan. Guo Moruo said this when he was in a position of authority. He is no longer vice premier, but what he said remains valid. I also agree with what he said.


But the problem of obstacles, as Mr. Yamaguchi said, does not lie with China. As you gentlemen are well aware, the San Francisco Treaty does not recognize China but recognizes Taiwan, stating that Taiwan represents China. This has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. We recognize that the Japanese people of Japan, they voted for Yoshida. We recognize that the Yoshida cabinet represents Japan. If the Japanese people vote for Mr. Suzuki, we would then recognize that Mr. Suzuki, too, could represent Japan. If the Japanese people elected as their leader an intellectual, like Mr. Abe, we would also recognize him. However, Mr. Abe has said that he is not willing to engage in politics. This is determined by the choice of the Japanese people, not by China. The Japanese people cast their votes. Whoever receives more votes, whoever organizes a government is the one we recognize. However, the Japanese government has taken the opposite approach. They did not choose the government that the Chinese people have chosen. The Chinese people do not want Chiang Kai-shek, but Japan has still recognized Taiwan as representing China. Hearing this has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. Certainly, the Japanese government does not recognize us and adopts an unfriendly attitude towards us. I also know that the fundamental cause of the difficulties does not lie entirely with the Japanese government but with the United States, which is the puppet master over the Japanese government. The Japanese people greatly respect the Emperor, but in fact it is not the Emperor who runs Japan, but the US pressure on the Japanese. This will not do. It is obstructing the resumption of relations between China and Japan.


Naturally, you gentlemen also ask, in spite of what we have said, now that China is strong and armed, will it not pose a threat to Japan? I can frankly say to you that China’s powerful arms are for self-defense and can only be for self-defense. Among you gentlemen seated here are those who have served as a cabinet minister and also there are many industrialists. You understand well economic affairs and, at the same time, know well China’s economic situation. For example, there is a great difference between Japan’s strength in shipbuilding and China’s shipbuilding capability. After you lost the war, many ships were expropriated by the victor countries and confiscated. However, your shipbuilding industry has recovered very quickly in these last nine years. How much tonnage is it? (Yamaguchi answered: 2.5 million to 3 million tons) In 10 years, China still will not have caught up to Japan. Without ships, how can we go? How can we invade other countries? You are a maritime country and well understand this point. It further goes without saying that we subjectively are unwilling to go and objectively cannot go. Not having ships means not being able to go. Even going to Taiwan would take a while. Therefore, we will not invade others. Our constitution stipulates the guiding principle of our peaceful diplomacy. The Chinese people also do not permit us to betray this guiding principle and go invade others. In the past 100 years, the Chinese people have had enough. We do not want to apply such suffering to others. We understand this suffering and sympathize with the suffering of others. Therefore, we hope that the people of Asia can peacefully coexist and resume normal relations. This would be good for world peace. If the United States wants peaceful coexistence, we also would welcome that. We do not exclude the United States. We are willing to engage with the United States in peaceful cooperation but they are not willing to cooperate with us. So, in regard to China in this respect, we can assure you gentlemen that we are adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. Even though the major difficulties at present do not come from our side, we are willing to do everything in our power to eliminate these misunderstandings and can[portion of text missing] used by the United States. We hope that you gentlemen, after returning to Japan, as you have said here, will also have the Japanese authorities change their view. As for the specific time, which you gentlemen have asked me, I can only reply that we seldom meet. Of course, it is my responsibility to reply.


First is the issue of war criminals. I just said that many Japanese residing in China have returned to Japan.  Recently, we returned more than 400 persons, some of the war criminals or Japanese who had joined Yan Xishan’s army in a reactionary war to oppress the Chinese people. At present there still remain in China more than 1,000 war criminals. In the past the war criminals who participated in the war of aggression against China were handled by the Nationalist Party. Their cases have already been resolved. At present, under our government are two groups of war criminals. One group comprises the war criminals that the Soviet military captured in liberating the Northeast and then turned over to us. There are more than 900 of these persons. The other group comprises those major criminals who were in Yan Xishan’s army and participated in a war against the Chinese people. There are more than 100 of them. These are the two groups. We are prepared to deal with this issue. First, these persons may correspond with their families in Japan. We plan to ask Mr. Li Dequan to take the list of names and discuss the matter with the Japanese Red Cross when the Chinese Red Cross visits Japan at the end of this month. We are prepared to deal very quickly with this issue. Everyone knows that the policy of China’s new government’s of treating the war criminals is very magnanimous, based on the traditional policy of magnanimity of Chinese People’s Liberation Army. When you return to Japan and ask those Japanese who fought in China, you will understand. In the Sino-Japanese War, we did not kill Japan prisoners. Of course, according to the different circumstances and different degree of significance of the war criminals, as well as our policy of magnanimity, most of the war criminals will receive magnanimous treatment. This is all that I will say on this issue.


Second, there are still some Japanese residing in China. We permit them to correspond with persons in Japan. Some of the Japanese residing in China definitely do not want to go back to Japan. They want to stay here. However, we still inform local governments to persuade them to return to Japan. We are not obstructing their desire to return. However, this will take a considerably long time, because it is not like the past, when large groups went, but will be several or several dozen persons returning each month. I think that you gentlemen also know that there are even more of our country’s Chinese residing in Japan. There are 40,000 persons there. Naturally, there are some who want to return to China and some who want to stay there. There is even a small number running to Taiwan. We should permit them this freedom.


The issue is that, once relations between China and Japan resume and contacts  become easy, then misunderstandings will not happen. This issue is thus one of communications, which is the third issue I want to discuss. As Mr. Yamaguchi just said, traveling via Hong Kong is very inconvenient. Yes, we welcome the resumption of communications. The problem is, how do we resume them? There is no one with the responsibility of answering this problem. To whom does China pose this question?


 The fourth issue is the fisheries issue. We are willing to negotiate. I hope that you gentlemen, after your return, find a suitable group or organization and send it back to China. China, too, will use a corresponding group or organization to negotiate with your corresponding delegation. Because the governments of our two countries do not have official relations with one another, we will have to find corresponding groups to negotiate. Our people also can come and go. Groups related to fisheries can come and go. We think that this issue should be resolved and that it would not be good not to resolve it over the long term, in spite of the unfriendly attitude that the Japanese government has adopted regarding China.


 The fifth issue concerns trade. I can introduce China’s trade sector and those of you gentlemen who are interested in trade for talks. Mr. Lei Renmin here is our vice minister for foreign trade.


As for cultural exchange and economic relations, we should develop them. Zhang Xiruo, president of our country’s CPIFA, the organization’s vice president, and Chinese People's Association for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (CPACRFC) President Chu Guonan can all talk some more with everyone here. China has an old saying: “It is a pleasure to welcome friends who have come from afar.”  You gentlemen, having taken the trouble of coming here from far away, will certainly advance friendly relations between China and Japan.


You gentlemen want to look around China. We very much welcome you. Yes, you may see the situation for the recovery of China’s economy. You may go to Anshan. The Anshan Iron and Steel Works were built by the Japanese. Of course, the Japanese “Hanyang Iron and Steel Company” at that time was in the service of militarism, but it was a good thing in itself. At present it is a good for the Chinese people. We now are developing on its foundation. You gentlemen may go see how the Soviet Union is helping China. It is certain that they are helping us to develop in the manner of a friend. Their manner is that, once finished helping us, they leave. They are different in this point from the United States. The United States not only controls Japan. It also wants to keep Japan under its control forever and never leave. It was like that in the past in China. Many Japanese companies have US stocks. The Soviet manner is to help us do well and leave. Many specialists come for a year or two, and then leave. We always want to have them stay a while. You could go to Hanyang and Anshan, find workers, and ask them about it. The Chinese people now, through education, are more aware. When they know that you come as friends, they will welcome you.  Those who invaded them in the past, on the other hand, were Japanese militarists. The Chinese people can tell the difference. As I said a moment ago, in the Northeast are a great many Japanese who have participated in our work and helped us, doing away with the history of the Japanese past invasion of invasion of China. Japanese scientists and engineers, standing in for the Chinese people, have done great work. We also need to thank them. Railways and factories they built in the past are still in use today. Another example is this building, built by a former Manchurian emperor.  It is very practical as we sit here now. We also need to thank him giving us this benefit. Everything that is built is useful and beneficial. Also, you gentlemen see, do not only look at the good. You also need to look at where things are bad and insufficient. This is because there are good affairs, bad affairs, and intermediate ones. A moment ago I said that China’s economy was backward and its cultural level was not high. It will take a long time for us to free ourselves of this and make progress. We recognize that there have been some achievements, but there remain many phenomena of backwardness that we have yet to reform and some intermediate phenomena advanced from backwardness. Gentlemen, one must examine all three aspects: the good, the backward, and the intermediate. In an agricultural village, there are progressive agricultural cooperatives, backward peasants, and intermediate mutual aid groups. It is the same with the agricultural cooperatives: there are those that are run well, those that are run badly, and those intermediate ones that from bad have gradually changed to good.  It is the same as well for factories, schools, and scientific institutions. So, gentlemen, you need not feel uncomfortable to ask. If they do not show it to you, you can ask to see it. You have this right. Many of you lived in China 30, 20 or 10 years ago. [portion of text missing] Go look around. You can make comparisons. Although our progress is very little, we are making progress each day. Gentlemen, after you tour, please offer us your views. It will be beneficial for us. Please give us advice. You can know that there are many things that China has to do. To immerse ourselves in the country’s construction, we need a peaceful environment. The Chinese people want peaceful construction, which is a positive and steadfast guiding principle.  In the past 100 years we could not obtain this opportunity. Imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism oppressed us. We could not obtain this opportunity. We must carry out peaceful construction well. But our peaceful construction needs not only the people’s unity within the country, but also our international friends. The people’s democracies of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are certainly friendly and truly help us.  Of course, we have to make friends. However, it is not the case that we do not need Asian friends. Asia is close to us. We have even more need to make friends, so long as they are willing. Our friendship with India clearly demonstrates this point. If Japan, like India, is willing to coexist peacefully with China, we very much welcome it. We are willing to be friends with an independent, free, and democratic Japan. Therefore, I hope that you, through your relations with the majority of the Japanese people, convey the wishes of the Chinese people and government to the great majority of the Japanese people. Of course, you also must convey the following: We regret the present Japanese government’s unfriendly attitude toward the Chinese people. Japan’s relations with the United States and Taiwan obstruct the normalization of our relations. However, this is the Japanese people’s own affair. We can only express our regrets. There is nothing more that we can say. But we are confident. We believe that this situation will change and that it certainly will change.


Jiichiro Matsumoto spoke: Today I have seen such a friendly atmosphere. As a worker for friendship between Japan and China, I have to say a few words. I deeply feel that such a friendly atmosphere is one of friendly relations between China and Japan, that is, the prelude to a resumption of diplomatic relations between our two counties. I feel that the resumption of relations between China and Japan will happen in the not too distant future. Of course, difficulties can be anticipated, but with everyone’s cooperation these difficulties can be overcome. After hearing Premier Zhou speak strongly and forcefully concerning Sino-Japanese friendship, my confidence grew stronger. That is to say, friendship between Japan and China is related to peace in Asia and the world. This is my life’s work. I would like to join everyone in striving for world peace.


Kikuichiro Yamaguchi again spoke: In hearing this forthright conversation, I feel that the mission of this visit to China has been achieved.  In particular, the greatest gain has become aware that China has absolutely no military aggression or scheme to interfere in Japan’s domestic affairs. This made a great impression on me. I want to return and communicate this to the Japanese people. While we have been in Beijing, Premier Zhou ordered relevant persons to receive us and discuss such specific issues as a fisheries delegation, trade, and the return of Japanese residing in China.


Kiyoo Wadachi spoke: I am Kiyoo Wadachi, director of the Japan Meteorological Agency. I would like to use this opportunity to put forward to Premier Zhou my hope. Everyone knows that Japan is a country with many natural disasters. Floods and typhoons cause have brought great misfortune and disaster to the Japanese people. In order to reduce such misfortune and disaster to a minimum, we hope to obtain meteorological data from China. Today there are various difficulties in obtaining meteorological data from China, but this matter is closely tied to the happiness of the Japanese people. Therefore, I hope that we can soon accomplish this wish and ask that Premier Zhou understand and have sympathy for it. Premier Zhou replied: I have taken note of Mr. Wadachi’s words and can, via the CPIFA, introduce to you our meteorological circles for a meeting and discussion of prospects for cooperation. So long as we strive for the benefit of the people of our two countries, we will always support it, but it must not be used for other purposes. Rather, we must use it for peace. We wish to find a way to make this happen. If the Japanese people suffer a disaster, it is the same as the Chinese people suffering a disaster. We are sympathetic. This year, China experienced flooding seldom seen in a hundred years. The waters of the Han River, Huai River, Yangtze River, and Yellow River are considerable. Tens of millions of persons suffered losses. We should always care for one another.


Wadachi again said: I thank you for your understanding. As a Japanese, particularly as a meteorological worker, I am delighted. If my observations and studies can be of some help to the people of your country, I am willing to provide data.


Yamaguchi again asked: How shall we handle the fisheries issue?


Premier Zhou answered: By going back and organizing a fisheries delegation to return here and manage it.


Yamaguchi said: We hope while in China to look into a way for organizing this organization.


Premier Zhou answered: You can discuss it with the CPIFA.


Then Suma spoke: I came to China 20 years ago and lived in China for 11 years, so I am deeply impressed. Japan from the era of Prince Shotoku has never severed relations with the Asian continent, but in the past several years, the Japanese nation has left the continent. We Japanese cannot help from having a kind of nostalgia.


When we went yesterday to the Temple of Heaven, we saw five youths, all of them persons holding important positions. In talking with them, they were all pleased that members of Japan’s Diet had come to visit. At the same time, they also hoped that Chinese could have the opportunity to visit Japan. We were particularly happy that even passers-by had such a wish. In spite of difficulties, we have confidence in the realization of such wishes. As well, we are convinced that contacts  between our two countries will become normal. In the future we can certainly achieve this. Moreover, this day is not far off.


Premier Zhou does not raise preconditions on the resumption of relations between China and Japan. This is China’s friendship for the Japanese people, which makes people feel that resumption of relations between China and Japan will not necessarily be difficult. I, too, want to return to Japan with this view.


Premier Zhou replied: I well understand Mr. Suma’s state of mind. Our Chinese and Japanese friends all grew up in the old society. We can advance with the times move ahead, people can change, and the environment can change people. I, too, came from a feudal family. I was not born a communist. In fact, as long as the people of our two countries help each other, enemies in the past can become friends today. What is more, the peoples of China and Japan are close friends. So long as we do not separate from the people, we will become friends forever. Mr. Suma in the past knew many people in Nanjing and Shanghai. Those people today are still working in the government. Not only scientists like Guo Moruo working in the government, some military officers of the Nationalist Party are also working in the government. There are not like Fu Zuoyi, Zhang Zhizhong or Cheng Qian. You all can meet and have comprehensive discussions with them. Do not meet only me. I cannot represent everything. I speak of policy. I represent the government. Talking about the views that I discuss is limited. Finally, I hope that Chinese friends also go to Japan. This will require our Japanese friends to make great efforts.


Lastly, Tadataka Sata spoke: We are deeply grateful to Premier Zhou, Guo Moruo, and Mr. Zhang Xiruo for receiving us for such a long time. Many on Japan’s side have been really straightforward in presenting their view and hopes. Premier Zhou, too, spoke forcefully of the principles of non-aggression and equality and cooperation for mutual benefit. We profoundly feel that China and Japan must resolutely safeguard peace. Through this discussion, we pledge our utmost efforts to advance understanding and peace between our two countries.


(Premier Zhou has not yet examined and approved this record, which is for reference only.)



Zhou Enlai and a group of Japanese officials and academics discuss the wartime history and present status of Japan-China relations. They also touch on US-Japan relations and economic conditions in China and Japan.

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PRC FMA 105-00158-02, 6-27. Obtained by Amy King and translated by Stephen Mercado.


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Henry Luce Foundation