Japan's china tilt:worries usa

ajtr

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Interpreting Japan's response to China's rise, and what it means to USA-Dan Twining


Chrysanthemum or Samurai?



In a thoughtful essay in today's Financial Times, Gideon Rachman asks whether Japan may now be tilting towards China after 60 years of aligning itself with the United States. This question is interesting on multiple dimensions -- including with regard to the future of U.S. primacy in Asia, the impact of China's rise on its neighbors, the nature of Japanese politics and identity, and our understanding of the deep structure of international relations at a time of systemic power shifts. Indeed, Japan is a critical case study for assessing how the developed world will respond to the rise of dynamic new power centers in Asia -- and what the implications will be for American leadership in the international system.

The ascent of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) after nearly six decades of unbroken rule by the conservative, U.S.-oriented Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has convulsed not only Japanese politics but also its foreign policy. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has mused about constructing a pan-Asian fraternal community based on "solidarity" -- not with Tokyo's closest alliance partner across the Pacific but with its near neighbors, led by China. What should have been little more than a tactical skirmish about the terms of the realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa has become, through mismanagement on both sides, a strategic headache for both Washington and the inexperienced government in Tokyo, raising unnecessary tensions within the alliance. DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, the power behind the throne of the Hatoyama administration, recently led a delegation of 143 parliamentarians and hundreds of businessmen to Beijing, reviving in form if not substance the tributary delegations from China's neighbors that, in pre-modern times, ritually visited the Chinese court to acknowledge its suzerainty as Asia's "Middle Kingdom."

These and other moves, unthinkable during the Cold War heyday of the U.S.-Japan alliance, suggest a striking shift in Japan's geopolitical alignment as the Pacific century dawns. Despite the fact that Japan was never part of "the Chinese world order" in traditional Asia, some analysts believe a Japanese tilt toward a resurgent China would be in keeping with the country's foreign policy traditions. As Gideon writes:

Some western observers in Tokyo muse that perhaps Japan is once again following its historic policy of adapting to shifts in global politics by aligning itself with great powers. Before the first world war the country had a special relationship with Britain. In the inter-war period Japan allied itself with Germany. Since 1945, it has stuck closely to America. Perhaps the ground is being prepared for a new "special relationship" with China?

In this reading of Japanese history since the Meiji restoration, the country has repeatedly aligned itself with the international system's preeminent power -- Britain in the early 20th century, Nazi Germany until 1945, and the United States since then. If Japan really is edging away from the United States to align itself with China today, that is a compelling indicator that the future belongs to Beijing, and that America's best days as the world's indispensable nation are behind it.

Yet this judgment is, if anything, premature -- and may simply be wrong. Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, and America during the Cold War were actual or aspiring hegemons from outside Asia; Japan's alliance with each of them cemented its own role as Asia's dominant power. Japan was not aligning with each of these powers to bandwagon with them, subordinating its power and interests to theirs. It allied with these Western states to facilitate its own pursuit of national power and leadership in Asia.

This is true even of Japan's Cold War alliance with the United States, when post-war leaders in Tokyo pursued a conscious strategy of developing Japan's economic and technological dynamism within the cocoon of American military protection. In a systematic and self-interested manner, these leaders took advantage of the security umbrella provided by the United States to modernize Japan's economy and build strength with an eye on a long-term objective of moving beyond the constraints imposed by the U.S. alliance as Japan grew into a leading economic and technological power. The DPJ's new independence vis-à-vis Washington reflects this evolution, and the only surprise is that more Japan hands in the West didn't see it coming.

Historically, Japan has shown a striking ability to rapidly transform itself in response to international conditions, as seen in the Meiji break from isolation, the rise to great power in the twentieth century, the descent into militarism, and renewal as a dynamic trading state. Only a few years ago, excellent books and articles with titles like Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose, Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia, and "Japan is Back: Why Tokyo's New Assertiveness is Good for Washington" framed the country as a resurgent Asian great power. Since 2001, successive Japanese prime ministers have articulated unprecedented ambitions for Japanese grand strategy. These have included casting Japan as the "thought leader of Asia," forging new bilateral alliances with India and Australia, cooperating with these and other democratic powers in an "Arc of Freedom and Prosperity," formalizing security cooperation with NATO, constructing a Pacific community around an "inland sea" centered on Japan as the hub of the international economic and political order, and building a new East Asian community with Japan at its center. These developments reflect the churning domestic debate in Japan about its future as a world power and model for its region, trends catalyzed by China's explosive rise.

Japan's strategic future remains uncertain in light of the country's churning domestic politics and troubling economic and demographic trends. Yet there is no question that military modernization in China and North Korea has spurred a new Japanese search for security and identity that has moved Tokyo decisively beyond the constraints that structured its foreign policy for fifty years following defeat in the Pacific war. The ascent of the DPJ, with its calls for a more equal U.S.-Japan alliance and greater Japanese autonomy in security and diplomacy, is another step forward in Japan's transformation into what DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa famously called a "normal country." Enjoying a normal relationship with China, as the DPJ intends to do, is part of that process. But so will be a continuing partnership with the United States.
 

Koji

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Even prior to the election of a DPL majority, polls in Japan have disapproved of ties to the West. Popular consent for the past 10-15 years was the realign our major policies (both business and political) to East Asia. That's where the money is, and the future. Only now are these views being presented to the media, but keep in mind these ideas have been fermenting for a long time.
 

Rage

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Even prior to the election of a DPL majority, polls in Japan have disapproved of ties to the West. Popular consent for the past 10-15 years was the realign our major policies (both business and political) to East Asia. That's where the money is, and the future. Only now are these views being presented to the media, but keep in mind these ideas have been fermenting for a long time.
Set us up with these "polls". Specifically those that say the majority of the Japanese people prefer an 'East-Asian' tilt.You've been promising us these "polls" for a long time now.

This poll from the Yomiuri Shimbun online tells me that "68% of the Japanese people are disenchanted with the current political climate":

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080225TDY01302.htm

Another "poll" from Kyodo tells me that the"'Cabinet support rate plummet[ed] to record lows of 31%" during the interim of [erstwhile] Prime Minister Fukuda's reign in late Dec. 2008- this is prior to the pension debacle which exacerbated things even further. Remember that Yasuo Fukuda was known for his undue 'pro-China tilt', and by this time his East-Asia policies were becoming apparent.

http://www.google.ca/search?q=The+s...s=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a


Articles such as these, which speculated that Japan would be "more pro-China than pro-America" post-LDP, and "polls" stipulating a 'favor of an East-Asian tilt' were based on a policy reading of policy manifestos during the pre-election period:


Post-LDP Japan will be pro-who?

Yukio Hatoyama, who will be sworn in as Japan's prime minister in a week or so, is reported to want to chart a new foreign policy that may be more pro-China than pro-America. That is far from the truth. No matter who is at the helm of the state in Tokyo, his foreign policy is always and 100 percent pro-Japan.

Shigeru Yoshida, the great prime minister of post-war Japan and grandfather of Taro Aso, who Hatoyama defeated in the general elections on August 30 to end the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) almost uninterrupted rule for over half a century, crafted a pro-America foreign policy out of necessity and in the best interests of the country under occupation of an Allied force commanded by Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur.

The LDP was formed by Hatoyama's grandfather, Ichiro Hatoyama, in 1955, but it was Nobusuke Kishi who renewed a mutual defense treaty with the United States in 1960, the pillar of Japan's foreign policy ever since to best protect the national interest of Japan.

Post-war Japan, even under the anti-Communist Yoshida, turned pro-China when it would better protect its national interest. As a matter of fact, Yoshida insisted on signing a treaty of peace with the People's Republic of China. He was threatened by John Foster Dulles into signing it in Taipei with the Republic of China on Taiwan in 1952. Long before Tokyo normalized relations with Beijing, Japan adhered to its pro-China policy of “politics separated from economics,” under which it offered more than generous financial assistance to the People's Republic for the benefit of the Japanese economy.

There have been changes in the triangular relationship over time. For one thing, the United States can no longer enforce its Pax Americana alone. The People's Republic is a rising economic power, expected to replace Japan as the world's second largest economy next year at the earliest. Junichiro Koizumi clung more closely to Washington in the conviction that it was Japan's best option, but he never gave up his pro-China policy — though he from time to time appeared anti-China — which was followed by his two successors, Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda. Aso, who looked like an anti-China hawk as foreign minister, tried his best to mend the fence as prime minister. All the while, Tokyo continued to strengthen ties with Washington under its pro-America policy.

The incoming prime minister will stick to the same pro-America policy, albeit he and his mentor Ichiro Ozawa said time and again their Democratic Party of Japan, if it came into power, would distance Tokyo from Washington. Of course, they want some changes. For instance, Japan wants Uncle Sam's support for joining the U.N. Security Council. Washington has only provided lip service, but doesn't truly try to help. Hatoyama and Ozawa do not want Japan to pay more for the deployment of U.S. forces in their country, simply because its national treasury cannot afford to do so. They don't want Washington's objection to an amendment of what is known as the MacArthur Constitution, forced upon the defeated Japan in 1946. Well, all this is 100 percent pro-Japan with changing its pro-America stance.

Hatoyama and company have to improve relations with their giant neighbor. Of course, they are not going to give China any more financial assistance, for Tokyo can't and Beijing doesn't want it with strings attached. China is well-to-do enough to turn it down now.

On the other hand, the pro-China policy Hatoyama has inherited may turn less pro-China, for Japan considers it not in its national interests to play the second fiddle in an emerging free trade zone of Ten-plus-Three in Asia. The Ten are the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Three include the People's Republic, Japan and South Korea in that hierarchic order.

The 13 countries were the members of the Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere with Imperial Japan as the leader. As a matter of fact, Koizumi advocated the Ten-plus-Three, which is scheduled to come into being in 2011, hoping Japan would play the first fiddle in a born-again co-prosperity sphere in Great Asia where Uncle Sam must be barred.

That's why Hatoyama is trying to develop better relations with ASEAN states and recover the four Kurile Islands from Russia under a new policy of fraternity, which is the motto of his grandfather.

Eisaku Sato, Kishi's sibling brother, recovered the Ryukyu Islands from U.S. occupation in 1972, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Hatoyoma wants to get back Habomai, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Etorofu, all occupied by the Soviets since the end of the Second World War in 1945. He wishes to make Japan's irredentist dream come true.

He also wants to win friendship of ASEAN countries, all of which were once occupied by Japan's imperial army, so that they may have a big brother to turn to if and when they are twisted around Beijing's little finger. One thing he cannot forget to do is to extend fraternity to Taiwan, which is not included in Tokyo's new co-prosperity scheme and which Japan has taken for granted.

Taiwan was a Japanese colony for 50 years. The Japanese believe, with some justification, they helped modernize its colony. They are convinced that the people of Taiwan owe them many a favor, which has to be returned, and Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian have lived up to the Japanese expectations.

That has to be changed. Hatoyama and Ozawa cannot treat Taiwan as a banana republic, as Uncle Sam does with full justification. After all, without the American help, there wouldn't have been the Republic of China on Taiwan. But Japan doesn't have any claim of semi- or quasi-suzerainty over Taiwan. Washington at least promises help, if hostilities break out across the Taiwan Strait. Japan cannot, and doesn't want to, offer any help in Taiwan's time of need.

There are two issues between Taiwan and Japan in the post-LDP era that must be settled to their mutual benefit: A free trade agreement (FTA) and joint development of resources in the East China Sea and under waters around the eight uninhabited islet known as the Tiaoyutais, in Chinese, and the Senkakus in Japanese.

It may not be called FTA, but similar arrangements have to be made under whatever title. While Taiwan was a Japanese colony, trade was a domestic one. Taiwan still is one of Japan's top trade partners. Arrangements must be concluded as soon as practicable with either side making concessions if needs be.

The other issue is thornier. Taiwan and the People's Republic claim an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the East China Sea, where the Chinese have already started collecting natural gas from under the sea. Japan insists there must be an overlapping of the economic zones. Don't forget it's Taiwan that first tried to explore undersea oil resources in the zone. A trilateral meeting must be called to settle the issue for their common benefit.

Taiwan, China and Japan claim sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais/Senkakus. Japan's maritime defense force is patrolling the waters off the island group, but an initial agreement was reached between Taiwan and Japan to shelve the issue of sovereignty and jointly develop the undersea resources. The Japanese also forbid Taiwan and Chinese fishermen to operate ten miles off the Senkakus. A new modus vivendi must be arranged among Taiwan, Japan and China so that they may jointly develop Tiaoyutai/Senkaku resources.

Fraternity, one of the three slogans in the French Revolution, the other two being liberty and equality, implies treatment of others as friends on an equal footing. Taiwan, though small, is Japan's best friend in many more ways than one. Japan should treat Taiwan as such by signing an FTA or similar arrangement and starting a joint development of the disputed oil resources in their mutual interest.


http://www.chinapost.com.tw/comment...-hung/2009/09/07/223629/p1/Post-LDP-Japan.htm

To that end, this article should provide an interesting read:

U.S.-Japan Ties under the DPJ: Reluctant Realism Redux



If the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) wins the August 30 elections, the party’s luxury of opposing everything will be gone. Hence, it is now scrambling to decide how it would actually govern. Overall, the party is modifying its more extreme positions on foreign and defense policy, but sticking with big spending plans at home in an effort to consolidate its support before the Upper House elections in 2010. It remains to be seen whether DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama will be able to impose policy discipline in a party that has bowed to popular resentment of the government without taking responsibility for hard calls. Moreover, while the DPJ is chock full of young talent, it is also saddled with unresolved ideological divisions. For now, the Japanese public seems ready to give them a chance, and the party will have a year to prove fit to rule.

Old manifestos

A senior politician claiming to speak for the DPJ visited Washington at the beginning of the summer and told US officials that if the opposition takes control, “everything will change in the US-Japan alliance.” Nervous officials in the Obama administration have been eyeing the two DPJ “Policy Manifestos” from 2005 and 2007 to see if this would really be the case. The manifestos promised a long list of demands on Washington that would provoke a bilateral crisis if implemented. These included: revising the sensitive Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that governs how US troops in Japan are treated; blocking anti-terrorism refueling operations by the Maritime Self Defense Forces (MSDF) in the Indian Ocean; and opposing the US-Japan agreement on relocating Marine bases and about half the Marines now on Okinawa. Some DPJ leaders have also made noise about declassifying all secret agreements related to nuclear weapons between the US and Japan.

These earlier Manifestos reflected the politics of a badly divided party with poor prospects for winning power. They were generated, when Junichiro Koizumi was taking big political risks for the alliance that might have proven a terminal liability had Iraq or Operation Enduring Freedom gone badly for Japanese forces. Internally, the DPJ was almost incapable of reaching consensus on a proactive security policy agenda. The gulf between former socialists following former Hokkaido governor Takahiro Yokomichi and the conservative nationalists closer to Seiji Maehara is larger than the gulf between the LDP and DPJ. In 2001, when then-DPJ leader Hatoyama induced the DPJ to support Koizumi’s Anti-Terrorism Law, Yokomichi and 27 other DPJers defied the party and abstained in the Diet vote. The DPJ chose to oppose security policies that had less than 50% support in the polls (like the initial dispatch of forces to Iraq and the Indian Ocean or the Okinawa deal), only to be stuck with their position once the government was able to bring public support above 50% and to push through the necessary legislation.

Reluctantly more realistic

As the DPJ leadership began smelling the real possibility of taking power late last year, they realized that the old Manifestos were liabilities. One of the closest lieutenants to DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa told me earlier this year that Ozawa had never actually read the manifestos and that the US should not worry; they were only intended to appease the left wing of the party and raise the political cost for the LDP. These days, Hatayama, Naoto Kan, Katsuya Okada and other leaders have studiously avoided talking about the specifics of the old Manifestos in meetings with visiting officials and scholars, choosing instead to explain their dedication to the alliance and their desire only for a more “equal” or “balanced” or “open” dialogue. It no doubt dawned on the DPJ that it faced two choices: it could try to revise core aspects of the alliance and risk all its political capital in a fight with the US; or it could modify its foreign policy promises and focus on economic policies that would give them a strong base to compete in next year’s Upper House election.

They have mostly chosen the latter—for good reason. While the public has some specific complaints about the alliance, overall support for the alliance is high, particularly in the wake of North Korean provocations and China’s rapidly growing power. Mismanaging the alliance would undermine public confidence in the DPJ and open the party to fissures between conservatives and liberals that the LDP could exploit. Japan remains a center-right nation. Ozawa and Hatoyama know that the DPJ must shift to the center and demonstrate competence if it wants to deal a knockout blow to the LDP.

As a result, in the new election Manifesto issued July 26, the DPJ expressed support for the US-Japan alliance (including a bilateral Free Trade Agreement) and dropped opposition to MSDF refueling operations in the Indian Ocean until at least January when the current law expires. On the other problematic issues of revising the SOFA, and base agreements, the Manifesto only expressed a vague “desire to move towards revision.” Party leaders have told the press they will focus on building a personal relationship with President Obama and his key cabinet officials before raising difficult bilateral issues.


Not out of the woods yet

Problem solved for Obama? Not necessarily. As with all things in the badly divided DPJ, this new policy platform represents a compromise and a deferral on building internal consensus. Some in the DPJ leadership believe that Washington will take their demands more seriously once the party has consolidated control in next year’s Upper House election. These politicians have no intention to drop the demands of the old Manifestos. However, they will still find that the Obama administration is beset with foreign and security challenges globally and will have little appetite to renegotiate the Okinawa base agreements (again!) or SOFA even in a year. The pragmatic Hatoyama will likely decide that he should choose his fights more carefully. The key question will be whether his Defense or Foreign Minister will feel the same, and whether the Kantei (Prime Minister’s Office) can keep the nationalists in both the left and right wings of the party in line.

Either way, the longer-term trajectory in Japanese foreign and security policy, “reluctant realism,” will not alter much. One can see the evidence for this in actions on the ground by the Self Defense Forces (SDF), including establishment of the first joint operational command of the ground, maritime and air branches of the SDF in Japan (with rules of engagement to shoot down North Korean missiles without consulting the civilian leadership first), and Japan’s first joint operational command overseas to manage anti-piracy operations from Djibouti. The anti-piracy rules of engagement allow force to defend non-Japanese ships under threat, which puts one foot solidly in the realm of “collective self defense.”

All of these things are happening despite the political impasse in the Diet. Hatoyama himself has written eloquently about the importance of revising Article Nine (the “pacifist” clause) of the Japanese Constitution as his grandfather, former Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, tried and failed to do in 1955 (the July 2009 Manifesto calls for a free and candid public debate on Constitutional reform). Progress on security policy will be incremental and sometimes halting, particularly if the DPJ’s internal divisions come to the fore, but this election will not fundamentally alter the long-term trend. Indeed, it has the potential to accelerate the trend if the outcome is a co-opted or ejected socialist camp.

Economic Policy

The DPJ has also caught attention for some of its more extreme pronouncements on economic policy. When shadow finance minister Masaharu Nakagawa claimed that the DPJ government would move away from dollar assets for its $1 trillion worth of foreign currency reserves, he made headlines. Nakagawa has also stated that foreigners hold too many Japan Government Bonds (actually many fewer than the large number of foreigners holding US treasury notes). His statements are the finance policy equivalent of the party’s populist rants against US bases. The Ministry of Finance favors diversification of its assets, but understands that a drastic move away from US Treasury bonds would backfire against Japan’s economic interests. Hatoyama needs to demonstrate competence in financial policy too, and senior DPJ officials have already disowned Nakagawa’s comments.

On the other hand, the DPJ is not modifying its ambitious plans for increasing redistribution of income to citizens at home. The DPJ has promised to increase subsidies for child-care, eliminate high school fees, unify the pension fund (ultimately increasing payments overall), to increase the stimulus package to 4% of GDP (compared with 3% for the LDP), and to freeze the 5% consumption tax until at least 2012. The political effect will be to make a lot of Japanese voters, particularly in urban and suburban districts, very happy with the new government. Economically, the DPJ proposal will likely have a pronounced simulative effect on the economy leading up to next year’s Upper House elections. The problem will be the much greater budget deficits later on.

That stance is worrisome. If the DPJ can build a solid political base for long-term rule, perhaps it will return to fiscal discipline. But if Japan lurches from weak government to weak government, no prime minister in either party will have the political clout needed to re-impose fiscal discipline.

Political Realignment and Policy

The fall of the LDP is not a major surprise. The party was created in the mirror of the Cold War: pro-business, pro-West, and anti- Communist. With the collapse of international bipolarity, it took only a few years before the LDP fell from power and only a few more years for the Socialist left to begin imploding. The LDP thrived under Koizumi because he ran against the party; but his successors, Abe, Fukuda and Aso, all ran to save the LDP and the public grew disillusioned. In the end, though, it is the center and centerright that will dominate Japanese politics. The LDP may not have survived the Cold War, but many of its ideologically conservative principles have.

Hatoyama will probably begin with poll numbers as high as his three predecessors— around 60% or 70%. Chances are that those numbers will fall quickly, even with generous stimulus packages for the voters. But he can retain power if he harnesses the bureaucrats and brings together the various wings of his party to demonstrate competent economic policies and steady management of relations with the US and Asia.

The DPJ's threat to place 100 political appointees in the ministries was probably designed to bend the vice ministers and director generals to the party’s will, since the DPJ cannot run the government if it actually fires 100 top bureaucrats. That threat probably worked. But with the prospect of future changes of government, the bureaucracy could become increasingly divided and politicized itself. The UK has a professional bureaucracy little impacted by changes in government, but Britain has experienced those changes of government for over 200 years. Japan’s bureaucracy could end up looking more like Taiwan’s or Korea’s, where more recent experience with changes of government have divided the leadership of key bureaucracies into political camps. Either way, the policy process will likely be more fluid and open and much less predictable. The DPJ will also likely take steps to empower civil society—a very good thing—by easing the rules to establish nonprofit organizations and giving non-governmental organizations more sway in the policy process and debate.

Ozawa the enforcer

Katsuya Okada is an attractive and popular politician, but if he stays as Secretary General of the party, he will probably not be an enforcer of intra-party or intra-coalition politics. Ironically, the enforcer could be Ichiro Ozawa—the one man in the DPJ who really understands power in the most Machiavellian sense. Hatoyama’s campaign slogan “yu-ai” means “fellowship.” Ozawa’s philosophy might be described as “crush anyone in the way.” Ozawa may have said many unhelpful things about the US over the past few years, but the Obama administration should hope that he is just behind Hatoyama imposing discipline on the disparate groupings with the DPJ and whipping the left towards the center. If not, it might be better for the DPJ to fall apart in a cacophony of clashing populist themes so that Japan can move quickly to the next stage of political realignment.
http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache...DP?&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca&client=firefox-a


In either case, support for the DPJ has been on a declining trend, with the party caught in a stalemate between the 'realism redux' of potential losses from vitiating ties with the United States and the promises of 'realignment' to a more balanced East-Asian policy it made in its old pre-electoral manifestos, with the seeming incapability to implement.

This is old, from mid-2007, but I haven't seen anything that is not temporal [other than a New York times article suggesting China's image had improved slightly during the global financial crisis] that would suggest things have improved dramatically and sustainedly since then:


China hurting in world opinion polls

Public opinion surveys taken in the United States and other countries around the world show that China’s image has been badly dented in the wake of widespread reports of unsafe food, toxic toothpaste, dangerous toys and poisonous drugs.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 65 percent of Americans have little or no confidence that food imported from China is safe to eat. And a Zogby poll shows that 82 percent of Americans are concerned about buying goods from China, with nearly two-thirds saying they would be willing to take part in a boycott of Chinese goods until Beijing implements more stringent safety regulations.

The negative image of China is by no means limited to the quality of its exports. In a Pew Global Attitudes survey released in late June, the percentage of Americans with a favorable opinion of China dropped from 52 percent in May 2006 to 42 percent in May 2007.

The decline in China’s image is worldwide. In Western Europe, where opposition to China’s record on capital punishment — the country executes more people than the rest of the world combined — is widespread, the Pew poll shows that China’s favorability ratings dropped from 65 to 49 in Britain, 60 to 47 in France and 56 to 34 in Germany..

Other polls show that China’s favorability ratings are well under 50 percent in South Korea, Japan, India, Turkey and Lebanon. Moreover, the percentage of Russians who see China as an ally has dropped from 24 to 19 percent.

In South Korea, China’s policy of sending back North Korean refugees fleeing hunger and persecution is very unpopular, and in Turkey China’s persecution of its Uighur minority — a Turkic people — has doubtless contributed to the erosion of China’s popularity in that secular Muslim country.

Interestingly, respondents make a distinction between the Chinese people and their government. When asked if they had a favorable opinion of the Chinese people, 79 percent of Americans said yes.

When asked about the Chinese government, 87 percent had an unfavorable view, according to a UPI/Zogby poll taken in May 2007.

As to whether China can be trusted to act responsibly in world affairs, a question asked by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 76 percent of the French said no, as did 61 percent of South Koreans and 58 percent of Americans.

That survey covered 18 countries, which account for 56 percent of the world’s population. In that survey, 38 percent said China can be trusted to act responsibly while 52 percent said the country can’t be trusted.

The picture is not entirely negative for China. The country enjoys considerable and growing popularity in western and central Africa, in many countries of Latin America and in Indonesia and Pakistan.

The recent poll numbers have important implications for China, far beyond the question of its future exports. China’s deteriorating image could put in jeopardy its plans for a successful Olympics.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll cited above asked Americans if they would be interested in visiting China to see the Games. Two-thirds said they had little or no interest.

There have been calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over the Darfur issue and human rights. Some China critics such as the actress Mia Farrow are dubbing the Games the “Genocide Olympics.” While polls currently show little support for a boycott, this could change as China’s image continues to sink under a barrage of negative stories.

Interestingly, Americans in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll ranked “improving human rights” as the most important thing the Chinese government could do in the run-up to the Olympics, ahead of implementing environmental policies or practicing fair trade. And in the May UPI/Zogby poll 58 percent of Americans supported using the Games to protest China’s human rights policies.

Possibly in an attempt to burnish its humanrights image, China has reduced the number of executions in the country. It also issued a passport to Yang Jianli, a Tiananmen Square activist who was recently released after serving a five-year prison term. According to the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, China will release Li Weihong in November following sentence reductions, who was arrested during the spring 1989 demonstrations.

These decisions, however, are just a drop in the bucket, as arrests continue almost on a daily basis. China should honor its commitments to the International Olympics Committee and allow the media to operate freely — including the domestic media — and improve the overall human rights environment.

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http://www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/2007/09/05/121264/China-hurting.htm
 
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USA is not worried when Japan starts talking about reducing bases or working towards it then USA will be worried this is just rhethoric.
 

Koji

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


From Yomiuri

According to the survey conducted jointly by The Yomiuri Shimbun and a weekly magazine published by the official Xinhua News Agency, 45 percent of Japanese say the bilateral ties are good compared with 50 percent saying so in China.

the percentage of the Japanese respondents who viewed the bilateral ties positively increased by nine percentage points from 36 percent in the previous survey conducted in July 2008.
http://www.japanprobe.com/2009/12/10/japanese-views-of-china-becoming-more-positive/
 

Rage

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Let me quote your own posts, this time with my own emphasis:

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.
The article 'Japan's Love Bubbles for China' by Banyan for the Economist has been discussed ad nauseum. Browse the many forums on the web discussing it and you will see what Japanese, heck even many Chinese, have to say about it.


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.
Once again, relinquish that naiveté and subtle idiosyncrasy by taking a look at the article I posted previously. Your article very clearly states that "rapprochement between Japan and China" was based on:

a vision unveiled for an East Asian Community (EAC)..shortly after the election
Clearly, those are pre-election manifestos, to which Japanese policies have not conspired.

As well, decisions on relocating US bases on Okinawa have been postponed indefinitely. Infact, the latest Department of Defense contracting allocations indicate work may be performed on various sites, including Japan: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/0...-defense-announces-latest-contract-awards-35/

The exiguous political costs imposed from a potential "visit to Nanjing", have made it, so far, an unreality.

Japan and the United States have signed several protocols recently, including a pact to upgrade the Aegis WCS, as Japan has also signed a naval logistics agreement with Australia.

If anything, noises from various quarters of the Tokyo administration recently playing up the 'Chinese threat" have in the words of one Chinese newspaper, had a 'big impact on the bilateral defense mutual trust".


From Yomiuri

According to the survey conducted jointly by The Yomiuri Shimbun and a weekly magazine published by the official Xinhua News Agency, 45 percent of Japanese say the bilateral ties are good compared with 50 percent saying so in China.

the percentage of the Japanese respondents who viewed the bilateral ties positively increased by nine percentage points from 36 percent in the previous survey conducted in July 2008.
Your poll is from December 10th 2009. Don't half-ass quote when you talk to me.

Also from the source:

Meanwhile, 47 percent of the Japanese respondents and 43 percent of the Chinese said the relationship was bad, according to the survey.
Here's the latest, as of March 8th, 2010:

Japan PM admits voter frustration as polls slide

Japan's centre-left Premier Yukio Hatoyama Monday conceded voters are frustrated as he faced sliding approval ratings but denied plans for a cabinet reshuffle ahead of July upper house elections.

Hatoyama -- whose Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took power six months ago after a landslide election victory -- was speaking as new polls showed approval rating for his cabinet as low as 36 percent...

http://news.ph.msn.com/regional/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3929906

Interestingly,

Japan's China policies to stay: Experts


Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (right) meets Toyota Motor Corp.
President Akio Toyoda at Hatoyama's official residence in Tokyo on Monday.
[Shizuo Kambayash / Reuters]​

Beijing: Despite plunging public support, Japan's ruling cabinet is unlikely to reshape its China policies drastically, although a few minor tweaks may be expected in the coming months, experts told China Daily on Monday.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)-led cabinet has seen its approval ratings dip to the sharpest since it came to power six months ago as funding scandals and doubts over the effectiveness of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's leadership have eroded public support...

http://www.chinadaily.net/china/2010-03/09/content_9557902.htm
Read it with a pinch of salt. It is from China Daily after all.
 
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