Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, a conservative politician who died Friday at the age of 101, is recognized in China as the leader who helped usher in a so-called honeymoon-like period in bilateral relations with Japan in the 1980s.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, a giant of his country's post-World War II politics, has died.
He boosted defense spending, tried to revise Japan's US -drafted pacifist constitution and drew criticism for his unabashed appeals to patriotism.
"Revising the constitution takes time. I stressed to the public that it was necessary, but it was not possible to begin the revision quickly", the straight-talking Nakasone told Reuters in an interview in January 2010.
Reflecting on Nakasone's legacy, Abe added, "He carried the heavy responsibility of being prime minister for five years amid hard affairs at home and overseas, including the Cold War and the height of the U.S. -Japan trade war".
In a statement, Abe said Nakasone held the post for five years when Japan was facing difficulties at home and overseas, such as military confrontation during the Cold War and trade friction with the United States.
He broke post-World War II taboos in Japan by deciding to provide military technology to the USA and scrapping the cap on the nation's annual defense budget.
"Condolences on the demise of eminent statesman and former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone".
He decided not to repeat the pilgrimage after it sparked riots in China.
"He didn't try to minimise the impact of the war ... and was not insensitive to the feelings of neighbouring countries".
The issue remains a major source of friction in Tokyo's relations with Seoul, since numerous women were Korean.
Nakasone's open forms sometimes caused problems.
He also suggested at an LDP seminar in 1986 that blacks and Hispanics were responsible for lowering the average intelligence level in the United States.
Nakasone aggressively pursued internal reforms, privatizing Japan's state monopolies on railroads, tobacco and telecommunications. Nakasone liked to quip, punning off a song about love from the movie Love Story, that " Leaving the prime minister's office means never having to say you're sori".
Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, the country's biggest business lobby, said Nakasone "was one of our greatest politicians who in many ways created the foundation (for Japan)".
But his career was shadowed by links to a huge political scandal, a stocks-for-favours scam.