The Japanese prime minister wanted to know about "the development of India's relations" with China, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here. With both countries sharing an uneasy relationship with China, the two leaders shared some of their concerns. They referred to the relations each country had with China and how it was essential to engage Beijing, Rao disclosed while briefing journalists on the meeting on the second day of Manmohan Singh's visit to Tokyo.
Issues remain to be resolved, she said -- in Japan's case its maritime boundary and in India's case differences over the land boundary. Productive discussions to resolve these issues were called for.
"China is a neighbour - for both of us. It is a reality that both our countries will have to develop in depth relations with China as time goes by," Rao said, stressing that New Delhi and Tokyo wish to see a peaceful rise of Beijing.
This, she said, could be done by drawing it into dialogue requiring "deep analysis and patience". The issue of rare earth metals that has been a source of tension between Japan and China finds mention in the joint statement on 'Vision for India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership in the Next Decade'.
"Recognising the importance of rare earths and rare metals for future industries, the two prime miinisters decided to explore the possibility of bilateral cooperation in development, recycling and reuse of rare earths and rare metals and in research and development of their industrial substitutes," said the document.
The joint statement follows complaints from Japanese importers that Chinese exports of rare earth metals, important in high-tech products, had been stopped since September.
According to the foreign secretary, however, this was an "India Japan centric process". It did not take into account what third countries were doing. India and Japan, she said, had worked in rare earth since the early 1950s. It was functional, need-based and India was looking at technology that Japan could provide.
There was a very high degree of mutual trust between the two governments, Rao said.