BEIJING (AFP) -Political tensions are partly to blame for Japanese investment in China recording its biggest fall for almost a quarter of a century, Beijing’s commerce ministry said Thursday.
Investment from Japan slid 38.8 per cent to $4.33 billion last year, Chinese figures show, with a respected Japanese industry group saying the drop was the steepest since 1989, when it fell around 35 per cent in the wake of the Tiananmen Square killings.
Commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said that in 2014 economic reasons were behind “sluggish Japan-China trade and economic co-operation”.
But he added: “Undeniably the severe difficulties in the two countries’ political relations also had impact to a certain level”.
Asia’s two biggest economies have been at loggerheads over a maritime territorial dispute and disagreements over how to interpret and remember Japan’s invasion of China during the 1930s and 1940s.
Japan’s nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe angered Beijing in 2013 by visiting Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead including convicted war criminals from World War II.
Japanese official figures show the country had a record 5.79 trillion yen ($49.1 billion) trade deficit with China last year, while according to Beijing’s own data, the balance was in the other direction, with China in deficit by $13.6 billion.