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My first job is to improve Japan-China relations: Japan's new ambassador to China

By Li Xuedi, Guo Yina (Xinhua)

08:17, December 17, 2012

TOKYO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- "Improving the bilateral relationship will be my top priority. It's big challenge for me," Japan's new ambassador to China Masato Kitera said in a recent interview with Chinese media at the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Kitera said he felt surprised that he was pointed as the new ambassador to China, because he thought "there must be someone better suited than me for the position, but Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba insisted he wants me to do the job."

"I know it will be a tough job, because the relationship between Japan and China has been deteriorated since this fall, but a lot of friends of mine from both the ruling party and the opposition parties encouraged me," said Kitera. "They told me they will fully support me no matter what happens, so I decided to take the job and do it as best as I could."

"Actually I have strong connections with China," Kitera said. " My mother was burn in Dalian, China, and she came back to Japan when she was 14. She always wants to visit the birthplace again."

Kitera said the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations 40 years ago opened a new era in bilateral relations. Citing an old Chinese saying that "Drinking the water from a well, one should never forget those who dug it," he said "We should keep in mind the efforts of the old generation for the normalization and push forward the bilateral relations."

China and Japan, as the world's second and third largest economies, have forged economic and trade ties in different fields and at different levels, he noted, adding, "The deadlock in bilateral relations will do nothing good to the economy and people of both countries."

As for the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls Senkaku Islands, Kitera said though it's very hard to find a solution to the territorial dispute, the two countries are carrying out diplomatic dialogue. He hoped the issue could be settled peacefully and the overall bilateral relationship would not affected.

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