Shin Kawashima

Shin Kawashima

Professor of international relations, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, University of Tokyo

Dr Shin Kawashima is professor of international relations at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, University of Tokyo. He was educated at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (B.A.1992) and the University of Tokyo (Oriental history, M.A., 1992 and Ph.D, 2000). He taught at Hokkaido University's Department of Politics, Faculty of Law from 1998 to 2006 before moving to the University of Tokyo in 2006. Some of his other roles include senior researcher of Nakasone Peace Institute; senior fellow of National Security Agency; advisory member of the Committee for the Promotion of the Declassification of Diplomatic Records, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; member of The Advisory Panel on Communications Concerning Territorial Integrity, Office of Policy Planning and Coordination on Territory and Sovereignty; and editor of He has studied Chinese/Taiwanese diplomatic history based on Chinese diplomatic archives and recently started a study on contemporary international relations in East Asia. His first book, Formation of Chinese Modern Diplomacy (2004), was awarded the Suntory Academic Prize in 2004. Some of the other books he has written or co-authored include China in the 21st Century (2016), Frontier of China (2017), and Japan-China Relations in the Modern Era (2017).

Pedestrians are reflected on a curved mirror next to Japan’s national flag in a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, on 19 March 2024. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Japan’s perception of China continues to deteriorate

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima notes that public opinion in Japan towards China is getting worse, with "unfriendly" sentiments at a record high. However, the younger generation views China more positively, and tends to see China-Japan relations as "important". What impact will these sentiments have on Japan's foreign policy towards China?
A person walks past a sign of the Third Belt and Road Forum ahead of its opening ceremony, at the media centre in Beijing, China, on 18 October 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's ten-year BRI faces questions and challenges

As China's Belt and Road Initiative marks its tenth year, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima takes a look at how the BRI has progressed, its overall impact on the countries where it has been implemented, as well as the challenges it faces in the road ahead.
China's President Xi Jinping arrives to attend the Leaders Retreat during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco, California, US, on 17 November 2023. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

Japanese academic: US-China competition rules take shape while Japan-China ties still ambiguous

Based on the bilateral meetings in San Francisco, Japanese researcher Shin Kawashima observes that US-China ties are now at a stage where discussions and exchanges are possible and the norms of competition are gradually developing; nevertheless, he believes that this may not yet be the case with Japan and China.
Japan's Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa delivers a speech at a reception commemorating the 45th anniversary of signing and enactment of Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship in Tokyo on 23 October 2023. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Different threat perceptions in Japan and China: 45th anniversary of treaty of peace and friendship

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship. However, it seems that few people — especially in Japan — even know about this treaty that dates back to 1978. Results from a recent opinion poll conducted by Genron NPO also show that the Japanese and Chinese have different threat perceptions, though it is commonly agreed that military tensions are rising. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima shares his view on the issue.
A protester holds signs during a rally against the discharging of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean, in front of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on 25 August 2023. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Japanese academic: China's strong views about Fukushima water will affect Japan-China relations

Propaganda campaigns against Japan may leave China turning a deaf ear to Japan’s explanations about the discharge of Fukushima treated water, says Japanese academic Shin Kawashima. This can only have dire consequences for Japan-China relations.
This handout image provided by the UAE Ministry Of Presidential Affairs shows UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R) standing by as Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signs the guest book during an official reception at Qasr al-Watan in Abu Dhabi on 17 July 2023. (Hamad Al-Kaabi/UAE's Ministry of Presidential Affairs/AFP)

Japan's diplomatic strategy in Asia: Maintaining uniqueness despite growing security concerns

While Japan wants to be "unique" in its diplomacy, these days it seems that it is less flexible than it used to be as global attention shifts to security. Will Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's recent visit to the Middle East restore some confidence?
Chinese Communist Party's foreign policy chief Wang Yi speaks as Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and South Korea's Foreign Minister Park Jin look on during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, 13 July 2023. (Mast Irham/Pool via Reuters)

Japanese academic: China imposing its ‘Asian values’ on its neighbours

Comments by Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi recently to Japanese and South Korean guests at a forum that they could never be a Westerner, and encouraging greater China-Japan-South Korean cooperation have ignited some backlash in Japan. Academic Shin Kawashima says that it would be almost unthinkable for Japan and South Korea to respond to such a call from China.
(Left to right) Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the UK's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pose for a family photo during the G7 Leaders' Summit in Hiroshima on 21 May 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP)

Has G7 sent China a clear enough message with the Hiroshima Leaders’ Communique?

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima notes that the joint statement following the G7 Summit in Hiroshima was clearer than before when it comes to China, stating that the G7 is ready to engage directly with China, and making clear that there is no intention of hindering China's development, while also sending a message to China on military and trade regulations.
People cross a street in Omotesando shopping district of Tokyo on 9 April 2023. (Yuichi YamazakiAFP)

Japan and China: A 'cooperative' relationship fraught with uncertainties

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima explains why despite the stated intentions, enhanced cooperation between Japan and China is fraught with challenges.