Closure of Shanghai office of Japan's Kobe city not aimed at 'decoupling' with China: chief representative
Published: Mar 20, 2024 02:45 PM
China Japan Photo: IC

China Japan Photo: IC

Japanese netizens recently hyped that the closure of the Kobe International Community Center Shanghai Representative Office in Shanghai is "an important step in decoupling and breaking ties with China," however, the chief representative of the office, Akiko Nakasone refuted these claims and said the Chinese market remains very important to Japan.

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Tuesday, Nakasone said that the main reason for the decision to close the Shanghai office is due to the limited fiscal budget of the Kobe City Government, and it is better to transfer part of the business of the Shanghai office to the Tianjin office than to set up two representative offices in China and reallocate resources toward Southeast Asian countries. 

The Kobe City Government announced on its official website on the March 18 that Kobe International Community Center Shanghai Representative Office will cease operations on March 29. The office has been dedicated to attracting cargo, passenger ships and other investments to use the Port of Kobe since its establishment in October 2006, creating business opportunities for Japanese and Chinese companies and promoting economic exchanges。

On social media platform X, some Japanese netizens claimed that the suspension of operation of the office is "is an important step in decoupling and breaking ties with China" while expressing their "support" to the decision, they also called on more people to join.

"The Chinese market is still very important to us," Nakasone told the Global Times, noting that people in Japan like to make extreme remarks.

Nakasone said the Kobe City Government currently has two representative offices in China, in Tianjin and Shanghai. From the perspective of its own international strategy, the city hopes to be able to put some effort into economic exchanges with Southeast Asia in the future. 

Nakasone said that the Kobe City Government has previously closed representative offices in Milan, Italy and Singapore. In the future, regardless as to whether or not the Shanghai office exists, economic exchanges between Kobe and China will not stop. 

There are indeed some political issues between Japan and China, but the exchanges between companies and local governments of the two sides have never stopped, and Kobe City's policy on economic exchanges with China has not changed, Nakasone said.