By Zhao Wei, Sina English
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said on July 17 that, despite opposition parties’ demand to replace Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa, it is up to Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba to decide whether to replace him, according to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency.
Uichiro Niwa’s recent remarks that the “purchase” of Diaoyu Islands could cause an “extremely grave crisis” angered both government and opposition politicians.
Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the Japanese Foreign Ministry will undergo a personnel reshuffle this summer. The replacement of Japanese Ambassador to China will possibly be under discussion.
Japan called back its ambassador to China on July 15 for discussions on “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, requiring the envoy to "accurately convey" Tokyo's stance to Beijing.
Uichiro Niwa returned to Beijing on July 16. Japan’s Sankei Shimbun soon afterwards commented that the envoy returned “too soon”, which “cannot accurately convey Japan’s stance to China”.
According to a public survey conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun, 65% of the Japanese supports the idea of “nationalizing the Diaoyu Islands,” only 20% opposed. The issue of Diaoyu Islands is being played up across Japan recently, and the “tough-on-China” stance has seemingly gained upper hand.
”The China-Japan relationship may remain fragile and unpredictable for at least 10 years,” said Liu Jiangyong, professor of international relations at Tsinghua University.
Not accidentally, it was lately reported that Japanese Prime Minister Noda was planning to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on August 15, the day marking Japan’s defeat in World War II.
Noda had pledged, when taking office, that the entire cabinet including himself, would not officially visit the Yasukuni Shrine.
“We haven't heard anything that contradicts his previous stance," Japanese embassy in China was cited as saying when asked by media.