The incoming head of Japan's top business lobby wants to play a greater role in helping Tokyo to improve its badly-frayed ties with China, according to interviews published Tuesday.
Sadayuki Sakakibara, who will become the chairman of Keidanren -- the Japan Business Federation later Tuesday -- said the business sector could share environmental technologies to help foster better Japan-China relations.
The 71-year-old chairman of synthetic materials maker Toray said Japan Inc's environmental technologies could help smooth over tense diplomatic ties with its biggest trade partner.
"China really wants (Japanese environmental technologies)," he said, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
"Efforts to improve ties with China and South Korea are among our top priorities," he said, according to the Yomiuri.
Japan's relations with China and South Korea have been badly strained over emotional territorial disputes and bitter memories of Japanese soldiers' violence in Asia before and during World War II.
Those already-chilly diplomatic relationships got colder after the nationalist Shinzo Abe came to power in 2012.
Big business has generally welcomed Abe, with his domestic emphasis on trying to kickstart Japan's slumbering economy.
Keidanren has been a traditional supporter of his long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
But relations hit a snag after the organisation's outgoing chief Hiromasa Yonekura criticised Abe's unconventional and aggressive monetary policies as "reckless," shortly before the LDP leader took office in late 2012.
Abe's economic programmes remain controversial, not least because they have added yet more debt onto Japan's staggering pile of IOUs.
However, they have markedly perked up corporate confidence and consumption, driven up Japanese shares and lowered the value of the yen, giving a boost to exporters.
A package of reforms to areas such as employment law and aimed at making life easier for the business community is also expected.
Sakakibara reiterated the lobbying group's call to cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, from the top effective rate of 35.64 percent in metropolitan Tokyo, to spur growth, according to the Nikkei.
And he voiced support for tentative government plans to raise consumption tax to 10 percent in October 2015, as scheduled, major media said.
The tax went up from five percent to eight percent in April, to cheers from economists who said it was desperately needed if Japan was to get its fiscal house in order.
Abe has given himself until the end of this year to decide whether to raise the tax to 10 percent.