In 2013, China-Japan relations encountered continuous grave difficulties, and exchanges and cooperation in various fields were seriously affected due to frequent provocations by Japan on Diaoyu Dao and on historical issues. The Chinese government attached importance to its relations with Japan and held the consistent view that China-Japan relations should develop on the basis of the four political documents between the two countries and in the spirit of taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future. The Chinese government urged Japan to have a proper perspective, reverse mistakes, properly handle sensitive issues, and make earnest efforts to improve China-Japan relations.
Bilateral political exchanges between the two sides were gravely affected.
On 16 January, CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin met with former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
On 25 January, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Vice President Xi Jinping met with Natsuo Yamaguchi, Leader of New Komeito Party.
On 29 January, Li Yuanchao, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, met with Tomiichi Murayama, former Japanese Prime Minister, and Koichi Kato, President of Japan-China Friendship Association, both as the head of a visiting Japanese delegation in China.
On 22 March, Vice President Li Yuanchao met with a delegation of the Japan-China Economic Association with its President Fujio Cho as the head of the delegation and Hiromasa Yonekura, Chairman of the Japan Business Federation, as the senior advisor of the delegation.
On 16 April, Vice Premier Wang Yang met with Yohei Kono, head of the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade, and his delegation.
On 3 June, Liu Yunshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, met with a delegation of senior Japanese politicians headed by Hiromu Nonaka, former Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party.
On 2 July, CPPCC Chairman Yu Zhengsheng met with a delegation from the Asia Exchange Association of Japan.
On 3 August, Vice President Li Yuanchao met with former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
On 30 August, CPPCC Chairman Yu Zhengsheng met with Takahiro Yokomichi, former Japanese Speaker of the House of Representatives, who led a delegation to China.
On 5 September, President Xi Jinping had a brief conversation with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 St. Petersburg Summit and urged Japan to properly handle the Diaoyu Dao issue and other sensitive historical issues.
On 19 November, Vice Premier Wang Yang met with a delegation of the Japan-China Economic Association with its President Fujio Cho as the head of the delegation and Hiromasa Yonekura, Chairman of Japan Business Federation, as the senior advisor of the delegation.
On 24 December, CPPCC Chairman Yu Zhengsheng met with former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
The two countries saw their economic cooperation and trade declined.
Bilateral trade stood at US$312.6 billion in 2013, down by 5.1% year-on-year. China's export to Japan was US$150.3 billion, a year-onyear decrease of 0.9% and import US$162.3 billion, a 8.7% contraction year-on-year. Japan invested a total of US$7.064 billion in China, a drop of 4.3% year-on-year.
Bilateral people-to-people exchanges shrank.
The number of Chinese and Japanese people traveling to each other's country was 4.71 million person/times in 2013, down by 14.5% compared with 2012. By the end of 2013, there were 252 pairs of sister cities between the two countries.
On 26 December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blatantly paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors Class-A war criminals of the WWII. This act taken by Abe seriously hurt the feelings of people of all countries that once suffered from Japanese militarist aggression and colonial rule. It was a flagrant provocation to the peace-loving people all over the world, a gross trampling upon historical justice and human conscience, and a brazen challenge to the victory of the world in the war against fascism and the post-war international order established on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations. What Abe did aroused firm opposition and strong condemnation of the Chinese government and people and the international community.
The Chinese government immediately took strong and resolute measures in response to Abe's egregious action. State Councilor Yang Jiechi, leading officials from the NPC and CPPCC foreign affairs committees and Foreign Ministry spokesperson all made strong statements to condemn Abe's actions. Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for an emergency meeting with Japanese Ambassador Masato Kitera and the Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua asked for an appointment with Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki, during which Ambassador Cheng lodged stern representations and strong protest against Japan.