June 1, 2005｜China
Dong Li Yan
Associate Researcher, Institute of Japanese Affairs, Jilin Province Institute of Social Sciences
Economic and trade cooperation between Japan and China is an important factor that supports the development of the Sino-Japanese relationship. Japan’s finance, technology, equipment and management experience have been combined with China’s vast market and abundant, top-caliber labor force to achieve significant results in trade cooperation between the two countries.
Recently, exports from Japan to China have increased considerably, making China the Japanese export market with the highest growth rate. The total amount of Sino-Japanese trade exceeded $100 billion for the first time in 2002, breaking through the $160 billion mark in 2004.
At present, some people in Japan have mixed feelings about the rapid, sustainable development of the Chinese economy, hoping to secure a profit from China’s swift economic development, while at the same time believing that this growth spurt will put great pressure on Japan. Due to this complicated psychological state, some Japanese politicians have emphasized caution regarding and containment of the development of China, while also promoting cooperation with the country. In the field of economic and trade exchange between the two countries, there is, in fact, greater complementarity than competitiveness. China mainly exports to Japan resource- and labor-intensive products, including apparel and textile products, fossil fuels, animal products, fresh vegetables and furniture. On the other hand, the main export products from Japan to China are capital-intensive ones, including mechanical and electrical equipment, steel, machinery, plastic and synthetic fabrics. A more important factor is that there is still a considerable disparity between China and Japan in terms of their level of economic development, and there are also major differences in their industrial structures. Consequently, further development of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries would be good for the development of their economies; what is more, there is tremendous scope for development.
In terms of economics, the market capacity of a country indicates its national strength and ability to control matters. Two new expressions have been born in Japan within the last couple of years: “Chinese special procurement” and “digital boom”. “Chinese special procurement” describes the situation in which production and exports by Japanese companies expand due to the rapid development of the economy and swift expansion of the market in China. A considerable share of the increase in Chinese demand is accounted for by digital products, which act as a pull on the development of related Japanese companies. This is what is called the “digital boom”. It is expected that further development of the Chinese economy will bring about a boom in business for Japanese companies as well, while at the same time, interested parties from a variety of fields in Japan may think about the political relationship between the two countries from a long-term perspective. For this reason, efforts must be made to enable the market to play a greater variety of roles and to generate more positive opportunities than negative ones. In this process, China can also ultimately achieve the sharing of benefits by further bolstering economic and trade cooperation with Japan, as well as cultivating enhanced productivity and improved research and development capacity within its own borders.
In general, there is tremendous scope for economic and trade cooperation between China and Japan. We must lead economic and trade cooperation between the two countries onto a sounder path, based on the broader perspective of protecting fundamental and long-term profit, while also arranging matters on the basis of market rules, responding to various conflicts rationally, and developing related laws and regulations.