The Straits Times
Published on Dec 22, 2012

Japan's next PM to send envoy to China to mend ties: Nikkei


TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's next Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to send senior ruling party member Masahiko Koumura as an envoy to China as early as next month in a bid to repair ties between Asia's two largest economies, the Nikkei business daily said.

Mr Abe, a hardliner who has questioned claims by China and others that Japan's army forced woman from occupied territories into prostitution during World War II, wants to bolster relations with his nation's biggest neighbour after anti-Japanese protests there this year, the newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

Mr Komura will carry a letter from Mr Abe for China's leaders, the Nikkei said. Mr Komura is a former foreign minister who served as Mr Abe's defence minister during his first administration in 2007.

As head of the Japan-China Friendship Paliamentarians' Union, the lawmaker is known for his strong ties with China.