"It is clear, the Chinese have it in a unilateral way, in which goods are imported in a way that is good for them. So what they mean by regulations, and our definition of regulations, are different, but that is quite a common phenomenon. So in this case what is important is that we have their word that they would make things free. Once we have that, we can use their word in future negotiations and say, you said at the time that you would move things towards having a free market. The point is that these keywords have been included and written down."
Japan's finance minister Taro Aso on Friday said China and Japan agreed to maintain a multilateral, free and open rules-based trade system, and the minister said protectionism and inward-looking policies "do not benefit any country."
Aso spoke to reporters in Beijing after meeting his counterpart Liu Kun and other finance and central bank officials.
The meeting between Asia's two biggest economies comes amid deepening trade rifts between China and the United States.
The Trump administration has raised duties on a total of $50 billion of Chinese imports that Washington says benefit from improper policies. China retaliated with similar penalties.
The U.S. is poised to raise duties on an additional $200 billion of imports, and Beijing has issued a list of American goods for retaliation.
Japan has treaded carefully over the past months, neither publicly condoning nor criticising the tariffs between US and China.
Asked by a reporter for his views on China's trade regulations that are restrictive to foreign investors, Aso admitted Chinese regulations were "different" from Japanese standards, but that such differences are common.
Aso said talks were held in an amicable atmosphere.
"I think these talks had the best atmosphere so far, compared to previous talks - that is the biggest achievement," Aso said. "It wasn't thorny."
In a statement released by the Finance Ministry, the two sides had also agreed to expand cooperation in investments, financial markets and supervision, and exchanged views on economic cooperation in third countries.