Japan-China Relations

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Koji, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/world/asia/24japan.html?ref=asia
    TOKYO — When Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited Japan’s new leaders in October, not long after their historic election, he pressed so hard and so publicly for a military base agreement that the Japanese news media labeled him a bully.

    The difference between that visit and the friendly welcome that a high-level Japanese delegation received just two months later in China, Japan’s historic rival, could not have been more stark.

    A grinning President Hu Jintao of China took individual photos with more than a hundred visiting Japanese lawmakers, patiently shaking hands with each of them in an impressive display of mass diplomacy.

    The trip, organized by the powerful secretary general of Japan’s governing Democratic Party, Ichiro Ozawa, was just one sign of a noticeable warming of Japan’s once icy ties with China. It was also an indication that the United States, Japan’s closest ally, may be losing at least some ground in a diplomatic tug-of-war with Beijing.

    Political experts say Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s greater willingness to engage Beijing and the rest of Asia reflects a broad rethinking of Japan’s role in the region at a time when the United States is showing unmistakable signs of decline. It also reflects a growing awareness here that Japan’s economic future is increasingly tied to China, which has already surpassed the United States as its largest trading partner.

    “Hatoyama wants to use Asia to offset what he sees as the declining influence of the United States,” said Yoshihide Soeya, director of the Institute of East Asia Studies at Keio University in Tokyo. “He thinks he can play China off the United States.”

    Mr. Soeya and other analysts say warmer ties with China are not necessarily a bad thing for Washington, which has long worried about Japan’s isolation in the region. But some are concerned that the new openness toward China may also be driven by a simmering resentment within Mr. Hatoyama’s left-leaning government of what some here call the United States’ “occupation mentality.” Those feelings have been stoked by what many Japanese see as the Obama administration’s high-handed treatment in the dispute over the air base on Okinawa.

    The White House is pressing Japan to follow through on a controversial deal to keep a base on the island that was agreed to by the more conservative Liberal Democrats who lost control to Mr. Hatoyama’s party last summer after decades of almost uninterrupted power.

    “If we’re worrying that the Japanese are substituting the Chinese for the Americans, then the worse thing you could do is to behave the way that we’re behaving,” said Daniel Sneider, a researcher on Asian security issues at Stanford University.

    The new emphasis on China comes as Mr. Hatoyama’s government begins a sweeping housecleaning of Japan’s postwar order after his party’s election victory, including challenging the entrenched bureaucracy’s control of diplomatic as well as economic policy.

    On security matters, the Liberal Democrats clearly tilted toward Washington. Past governments not only embraced Japan’s half-century military alliance with the United States, but also warned of China’s burgeoning power and regularly angered Beijing by trying to whitewash the sordid episodes of Japan’s 1930s-1940s military expansion.

    American experts say the Obama administration has been slow to realize the extent of the change in Japan’s thinking about its traditional protector and its traditional rival.

    Indeed, political experts and former diplomats say China has appeared more adept at handling Japan’s new leaders than the Obama administration has been. And former diplomats here warn that Beijing’s leaders are seizing on the momentous political changes in Tokyo as a chance to improve ties with Japan — and possibly drive a wedge between the United States and Japan.

    “This has been a golden opportunity for China,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a former high-ranking Japanese diplomat who was stationed in Beijing. “The Chinese are showing a friendlier face than Washington to counterbalance U.S. influence, if not separate Japan from the U.S.”

    Some conservative Japan experts in Washington have even warned of a more independent Tokyo becoming reluctant to support the United States in a future confrontation with China over such issues as Taiwan, or even to continue hosting the some 50,000 American military personnel now based in Japan.

    Despite such hand-wringing among Japan experts in the United States, Mr. Hatoyama continues to emphasize that the alliance with Washington remains the cornerstone of Japanese security. And suspicions about China run deep here, as does resentment over Japan’s losing its supremacy in Asia, making a significant shift in loyalty or foreign policy unlikely anytime soon, analysts say.

    But in the four months since Mr. Hatoyama took office, there has been an unusual flurry of visits back and forth by top-ranking Chinese and Japanese officials, including one last month to Tokyo by China’s heir apparent, Vice President Xi Jinping.

    The new mood of reconciliation is also evident in the novel ideas that have been floated recently to overcome the differences over wartime history that have long isolated Japan from the region.

    These include a recent report in the Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, based on unidentified diplomatic sources, of a Chinese initiative for reconciliation that would include a visit by Mr. Hatoyama to Nanjing to apologize for the 1937 massacre of Chinese civilians there by invading Japanese soldiers. President Hu would then visit Hiroshima to proclaim China’s peaceful intentions.

    While both countries dismissed the report as speculation, it spurred wide talk here that the report might be a trial balloon by one of the two countries that could signal a new willingness to make some sort of diplomatic breakthrough on the history issues.

    And a week after the visit to Beijing by Mr. Ozawa and his parliamentary delegation, which Mr. Hu heralded as the start of a smoother era in Japan-China relations, Tokyo reciprocated with its own display of eager hospitality during a visit to Tokyo by Mr. Xi, the Chinese vice president. Mr. Hatoyama arranged a meeting between Mr. Xi and Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on short notice, breaking protocol that such audiences be arranged more than a month in advance.

    Mr. Ozawa, a shadowy kingmaker whose power rivals Mr. Hatoyama’s, is said to have warm feelings for China, where he has often visited, and he is widely seen as the force behind Japan’s latest overtures to Beijing.

    Other members of Mr. Hatoyama’s cabinet remain less convinced that any drift away from the United States is a good idea.

    One of the skeptics is Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, who has stressed the need for the American military presence to offset China and a nuclear-armed North Korea. Last month, Mr. Kitazawa brought in Yukio Okamoto, a widely respected former diplomat and adviser to Liberal Democratic prime ministers, to advise Mr. Hatoyama on security issues.

    “The Democrats have to realize the threat we have on the Korean Peninsula, and that China is not a friendly country in military matters,” Mr. Okamoto said.

    Mr. Soeya, of Keio University, warned that the new Japanese government should at least think hard before sidling closer to China, saying, “Mr. Hatoyama does not have a clear sense of what relying on China would really mean, or whether it is even actually desirable.
     
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  3. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    Japan's love-bubbles for China

    WHAT our colleague, Charlemagne, calls “bubbles of optimism” over China have been popping in Western capitals, as China has taken a hard line against internal dissent, proven unhelpful in efforts to tackle both climate change and Iran’s growing nuclear threat, manipulated its currency and launched cyber- attacks on Western computer networks. China, muscling its way to global prominence, is not quite the partner the West had been cultivating. Striking, then, that in Japan the bubble of optimism, among the country’s new leaders, is only inflating.

    Soon after the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) swept into office nearly five months ago, the prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, unveiled a vision for an East Asian Community (EAC). For all that it was dreamy and disjointed, it had at its heart a rapprochement between Japan and China leading towards regional integration. Asia, Mr Hatoyama reaffirmed, was Japan’s “basic sphere of being”. As for integration, fraternity was to be the glue.

    Then late last year the DPJ’s secretary-general, Ichiro Ozawa, travelled to Beijing at the head of a 639-strong mission, including 143 parliamentarians with whom a beaming President Hu Jintao took the trouble to be photographed, each in turn. Mr Hu doesn’t smile like that for Westerners. Back in Tokyo, Mr Hatoyama horrified sticklers for imperial protocol by insisting that Mr Hu’s heir-apparent, Xi Jinping, pay an impromptu call on Emperor Akihito. Now rumours suggest Mr Hatoyama may make a visit of remorse, the first by a Japanese prime minister, to Nanjing, site of a massacre by Japanese forces in 1937. In return (and at less political cost), Mr Hu may pay respects to the nuclear victims of Hiroshima. Japan under the DPJ seems to get on better with China than it does with its ally and security guarantor, the United States. Relations with the United States are strained over the relocation of a military base for American marines on Okinawa, leading to worries over the future of the two countries’ alliance, keystone to security in the western Pacific.

    Economic logic argues for closer ties with China, which has already overtaken America as Japan’s biggest trading partner, and is about to overtake Japan’s economy to become the world’s second-biggest. After not one but arguably two “lost decades”, an ageing population cannot drive demand in Japan. It must hitch itself to the Chinese juggernaut. A strategic vision, too, lurks somewhere in the idea of an EAC. Mr Hatoyama has committed Japan to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions by a quarter by 2020. He thinks Japan can lead Asia towards a low-carbon future.

    But contradictions lurk too. The idea makes a nod to China’s rise. Yet it assumes Japan’s rightful lead in proposing a new regional architecture, while impressing Japan’s technological prowess on China. The impulse is deeper-seated than Mr Hatoyama might admit. The story of modern Japan is of the use of Western arms and technology to overturn China’s centuries-old regional dominance. China now intends to restore the natural order, and does not need directions from others, least of all Japan. It has made only the minimum polite noises about an EAC. As for the green technology that Japan can share, both sides say it is a good thing but are infuriatingly sparing with the details. Besides, since the December summit in Copenhagen, China has hinted it might go its own way on climate change.

    Popular Japanese attitudes towards China suffer from the same doublethink. In one recent poll, most of those questioned wanted a “warmer” political relationship with their big neighbour. But most also wanted the prime minister to visit Yasukuni, Tokyo’s militarist shrine, on remembrance day. That is one issue guaranteed to send China-Japan relations into the cooler. A sense of Japanese superiority over coarse, authoritarian China is also widespread. More than one Japanese professor has told Banyan that Japan is the true guardian of Chinese culture.

    History wars, still far from resolved, point to the limits of rapprochement. So too do maritime disputes over territory. But a huge constraint is the fiscal one. Greying Japan is burdened with deflation, stagnant growth and a national debt close to 200% of GDP. Japan lacks the resources (and the will) for the kind of bold strategic moves, putting Japan at the heart of Asia, at which Mr Hatoyama and Mr Ozawa hint. Even a more autonomous security policy, out from under America’s wing, is almost a non-starter. Japan has cut its defence spending in recent years, to just 1% of GDP. It has grown more dependent on the United States, not less.

    Behind China’s smile
    This is where strains over the alliance really matter for the security of the whole region, not least because of Taiwan. On January 24th the Okinawan township picked, after painful years of talks, by the United States and Japan’s previous government as the destination for the relocated marine base elected a mayor resolutely opposed to the move. Popular concerns about the “occupation mentality” of American forces are valid. But Mr Hatoyama, according to colleagues, was sleepwalking when he reopened the issue. Now he cannot go back. Local politics and national security are on a collision course. Mr Hatoyama has said he will decide over the base by May. But moving it anywhere else in Japan will face local resistance too.

    As Yoichi Funabashi, editor of Asahi Shimbun puts it, if the new administration bungles relations with Washington, it will look diplomatically inept at a time when power relations in Asia are shifting fast. That might spell the end of the hapless Mr Hatoyama. So it is hardly cynical to assume that one aim behind China’s outbreak of smiling is to drive a wedge between a slightly clueless Japan and its longstanding protector. After all, Japan would be its base were America to come to Taiwan’s rescue in the event of a mainland attack.

    http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15393357
     
  4. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    Japan-China boat spat escalates

    China has warned Japan that their wider relationship will suffer if Tokyo mishandles a dispute about a Chinese fishing boat seized in disputed waters.

    China's foreign ministry said it was "absurd and illegal" for Japan to apply domestic law in "China's territory".

    The captain of a Chinese trawler that collided with Japanese patrol vessels has been handed to prosecutors who will decide whether to charge him.

    Tuesday's incident happened near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    There were no injuries, and the two Japanese vessels sustained minor damage.

    The uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are controlled by Japan, but are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

    Tokyo says the Chinese vessel collided with two Japanese patrol boats in two separate incidents, 40 minutes apart.

    The captain of the fishing boat was arrested after repeatedly ignoring requests to leave the area, officials said.

    China has demanded his release.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu described the move as "absurd, illegal and invalid, and China will never accept it".

    Beijing has twice summoned Japan's ambassador and urged him to stop the "illegal interception" of Chinese fishing boats, and to release the boat and the crew detained onboard.

    In recent years, Chinese activists have sailed to the islands on a number of occasions to assert China's territorial claims.

    Analysts say this latest incident is unlikely to disrupt Japan-China ties but it underscores the inevitable tensions as China's maritime ambitions grow

    Analysis
    The exchange of protests between China and Japan has something of the air of a ritual.

    For now neither country seems to want to dramatise the incident.

    But the episode illustrates the underlying tensions in the region where competing claims for small island territories reflect major strategic and economic issues.

    Oil and gas rights could be valuable assets for the future.

    But the continuing maritime tensions between China and its neighbours reflect a growing desire by the Chinese to pursue a more expansive naval strategy and to break out from the containment of the island chains that stretch from Japan to Taiwan and well into the South China Sea.


    BBC News - Japan-China boat spat escalates
     
  5. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    well my point of concern is how we can make good relation with japan we have to make close relation we possible
     
  6. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    well we are making loads of progress...nuclear trade is the biggest example,strategic dialogue....i think are look east policy is going pretty well so far....
     
  7. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    China postpones talks with Japan after boat collision

    Beijing has postponed planned diplomatic talks with Tokyo after Japan's court extended the detention of a Chinese trawler captain for 10 days.

    The captain was arrested earlier this week after his ship collided with two Japanese patrol boats near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    Japan accuses him of deliberately ramming the boats, but China demands his immediate release.

    This development is the latest twist in a growing row between the two nations.

    The area where the Chinese boat was seized is close to uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, which are controlled by Japan, but are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

    No backing off
    China's unsettled maritime boundary has been a cause of friction with most of its neighbours.

    Strategic and practical interests in the ocean have made matters worse.

    In the East China Sea, China's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) overlaps with that of Japan's.

    But the dispute touches Chinese sensitivities more than elsewhere. The group of eight uninhabited islands lie midway (about 200 nautical miles) between the eastern coast of mainland China and the southwest of Japan's Okinawa.

    Closer to Taiwan, the islands and Taiwan itself were ceded to Japan by the Manchu emperor in 1895. After Japan's defeat in World War II, Taiwan was returned to the Kuomintang government, but not the islands.

    In recent years, as China's economic and military power builds up, Japan has strengthened its presence in the disputed areas and seized or dispelled fishing boats from both China and Taiwan.

    Activists from the Chinese community have made expeditionary trips to Diaoyu Island to assert claims of sovereignty despite their governments' unwillingness to turn the issue into an open confrontation with Tokyo. The activists are planning a new expedition to the island.

    There are no signs yet that either side is ready to back down.

    The Chinese foreign ministry has summoned the Japanese ambassador to Beijing three times this week to demand the unconditional release of the Chinese captain.

    Japan's Coast Guard arrested Zhan Qixiong, aged 41, on suspicion of "obstructing public duties" early on Wednesday.

    News of his arrest reportedly triggered the death of his grandmother in Fujian province, eastern China.

    Two Taiwanese fishing boats were also detained by the Japanese this week. One was released later after paying a fine.

    BBC News - China postpones talks with Japan after boat collision
     
  8. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

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    India can exploit this situation by backing Japan, not directly since it would be embarrassing and interfering in such a small matter but by stating that China is arrogant and claims everything to be theirs in the border regions of their neighbors. Japan anyway is supported by US , it would be a huge boost for India to grow its ties with Japan to put China in a loophole and keep them tied there.
     

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