SEOUL - The 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Japan diplomatic relations did not cross Haruko Satoh’s radar screen.

Granted, such occasions are hardly at the top of everyone’s viewing agenda. But Satoh might have been expected to tune in: She is a professor of international relations at the Osaka School of International Public Policy, where she focuses on Japan’s regional relations.

“I don’t follow everything but it was pretty low-key,” she told Asia Times. “There is nothing tangible going on at the moment so it would have been really fake if they had said things had never been better.”

On the day of the September 29 anniversary, Japan was still transfixed with the aftermath of the controversial state funeral of murdered ex-prime minister Shinzo Abe. Yet, the “low-key” celebrations speak to the far-from-ideal state of relations between Asia’s number one and number two economies.

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