BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Trade between China and Japan has been growing rapidly since the two countries normalized relations 40 years ago. However, Japan's unlawful "purchase" of China's Diaoyu Islands recently has overshadowed bilateral economic relations.
Following are facts and figures about the development of the trade and economic relationship between the two countries:
-- Japan is China's fourth largest trade partner while China has been Japan's largest trade partner since 2007. Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that Japan was China's largest trade partner until 2003 and was surpassed by the Europe Union and United States in 2004 and then by ASEAN in 2011.
-- In the first half of 2012, Japan's export to China totaled 73.54 billion U.S. dollars, down 6.2 percent from the same period last year, while its import from China was 91.29 billion U.S. dollars, up 7 percent from the same period last year. Japan's trade deficit with China reached 17.75 billion U.S. dollars, marking an increase of 158.5 percent.
-- As of the end of June 2012, Japan's actual cumulative investment in China reached 83.97 billion U.S. dollars, ranking the first among all countries investing in China.
-- Major Japanese export products to China include electric-mechanical products, base metals and their products, transportation facilities, chemicals, optical, horological and medical products.
-- Major Chinese exports to Japan include electric-mechanical products, textiles and raw materials, furniture, toys and miscellaneous products, base metals and their products and chemicals.
-- In the first half of 2012, Japan imported 3,007 tonnes of rare earth resources from China, which decreased 50 percent year on year. Its import from China accounted for 49.3 percent of its total rare earth import.
-- China is one of Japan's largest foreign automobile markets. Toyota sold 442,500 cars in China in the first half of 2012, compared with its global sales of 4,970,000 vehicles. In August, Toyota's sales in China slumped 15.1 percent year on year to 75,300 units.
-- China is Japan's biggest national debt holder. By the end of 2011, China held a total of 18 trillion yen (about 230.5 billion U.S. dollars), up 71 percent from the 2010 level.
Japan announced in March this year that it had won approval to buy Chinese government bonds of 65 billion yuan (about 10.5 billion U.S. dollars). China and Japan started direct currency trading from June 1 this year.