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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chinese experts split over effects of Ozawa move on Sino-Japanese relations


BEIJING — While some Chinese experts on Japanese affairs have lamented the defection of kingpin Ichiro Ozawa and his followers from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, others predict the move will undermine his influence and reputation as a power broker.

"Ozawa wants a Japan that is more independent from the U.S. and has more balanced relations with Asian nations, especially with China," Geng Xin, deputy director of the Tokyo-based Japan-China Communication Institute, reportedly said in a recent issue of the Global Times.

"However, Noda's administration is going in the opposite direction," Geng said, noting Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's goal to boost Tokyo's alliance with Washington.

Japan studies professor Yang Bojiang at the University of International Relations in Beijing, said Ozawa's clout is waning amid "public distaste for the old-style backroom politics he symbolizes and his disloyalty to the parties to which he has belonged."

Some commentators, however, believe Ozawa's exit from the DPJ in protest over the consumption tax hike plan is unlikely to affect the tone of Japan-China relations.

"Sino-Japanese relations have become the second-most important bilateral relationship for Japan and the general structure of the relations is set with no domestic politics being able to change it," Geng told the Global Times.

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