Japan business execs meet No. 4 in Chinese Communist Party

A Japanese business delegation on Tuesday met with the Chinese Communist Party's fourth-ranked member, Yu Zhengsheng, at a time when there are no signs yet of an improvement in government-to-government relations between the two countries.

During the talks in Beijing, Yu said that economic cooperation between the two countries is important, according to former Hitachi Ltd. President Etsuhiko Shoyama, who headed the delegation, mainly composed of energy-related business executives.

Shoyama, who now serves as an adviser to the electronics conglomerate, also said Yu promised to visit Japan next spring, but underscored Beijing's claim over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands.

For nearly one year, ties between Asia's two biggest economies have frayed over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

While no high-level political meetings between the two countries have been held since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government was formed in December, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama visited Beijing late June and held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Hiromu Nonaka, a former chief Cabinet secretary of the Japanese government, who like Hatoyama is known as being pro-China, also met with Liu Yunshan, ranked No. 5 in the party's seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, in June.