Thursday, April 12, 2007
A diplomatic thaw
It’s springtime in Tokyo and the cherry blossoms may be in full bloom, but there's a lot of talk about ice here these days.
It's all about Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao's visit to Japan, dubbed by both Tokyo and Beijing as an "ice-melting mission." Wen's visit follows last year's "ice-breaking" visit to Beijing by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Talk about pushing that metaphor.
And yet, Japan's chair of the lower house went one step further. Addressing Japan's Parliament and the Chinese premier, Chikage Oggi said: "As for all of us concerned, the ice has completed melted!"
Sure, it was the first time in 20 years a Chinese leader has addressed the Diet. Sure, Wen and Abe have pledged peaceful development and cooperation.
And sure, Wen gave good photo opportunity doing tai ji with the locals in Yoyogi Park.
But do the Japanese people really think the Sino-Japanese ice is melting?
When asked about what he thinks of the Chinese premier, a 27-year old budding salaryman told me point blank: "I’m not sure if I can trust him."
"We’re just at the starting line," said an older Tokyo businessman.
And a 69-year-old woman who experienced World War II first-hand said Japan should come out with the truth about the war but added: "China should stop interfering with the issue."
But perhaps my producer's taxi driver said it best. He was furious about the Chinese Premier’s speech to the Japanese parliament ... simply because it interrupted the baseball game he was watching on TV.
Daisuke Matsuzaka was marking his Fenway Park debut – up against countryman Ichiro Suzuki. A dramatic face-off between two Japanese superstars ... replaced by vision of a diplomatic thaw in slow motion.
You can watch my report here.
-- From Kristie Lu Stout, CNN International Anchor/Correspondent
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