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).

Visitors walk down Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on 2 October 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Japanese academic: China's superficial 'moderate' diplomacy will not work with developed countries

China has tried to create a stable diplomatic environment ahead of the 20th Party Congress, not least with Foreign Minister Wang Yi's talks with various leaders at the sidelines of the recent UNGA in New York. While it has tried to deflect attention by highlighting divisions in the West while rebuilding bridges in light of economic considerations, it will be a tall order to convince the international community that it practises 'moderate' diplomacy.
People walk down a street in the entertainment area of Shimbashi in Tokyo on 5 September 2022. (Richard A. Brooks/AFP)

In search of better relations with Japan? China’s inscrutable Japan policy

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima wonders if a recent Japan-China press conference signals China's willingness to engage Japan amid heightened tensions after Chinese missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Even if this is so and the Kishida administration is keen to emphasise relations with China, it will not be an easy task to answer China's call.
A man leaves a note on a memorial wall for late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, outside of the de-facto Japanese embassy in Taipei, Taiwan, 11 July 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

The need for institutional expansion in Japan-Taiwan relations

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the sympathy in Taiwan over the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Why is strengthening the institutionalised relationship between Japan and Taiwan crucial and how can this be done within the framework of China's "one China" principle that Japan “fully understands and respects”?
People wearing protective masks amid the Covid-19 outbreak, stand in front of cross walk in Tokyo, Japan, 25 July 2022. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

The generation gap in Japanese attitudes toward China

There is a distinct difference in how younger and older Japanese perceive and feel about China — generally, the younger generation feels more positive about China than their seniors. This can be attributed to their different shared experiences and common sentiments among peers. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima points out the various factors leading to this divergence.
Fumio Kishida, Japan's Prime Minister and president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), walks past his poster after placing a paper rose on an LDP candidate's name, to indicate a victory in the upper house election, at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, 10 July 2022. (Toru Hanai/Pool via Reuters)

Japanese academic: Misunderstandings surrounding Japan’s constitutional revision

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima notes that concerns about Japan's possible increased militarism amid constitutional revision may be misplaced. The debate in Japan is focused on making Japan's Self-Defence Forces constitutional, and not so much altering Article 9 itself. If countries are concerned about Japan's security moves, they should really be looking out for changes in documents such as the revised National Security Strategy to be launched at the end of the year.
A woman walks past candidates' posters for the July 10, 2022 Upper House election in Tokyo, Japan, 22 June 2022. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

Foreign and security policy in Japan’s upper house elections

With the upper house elections in Japan fast approaching, the various political parties are putting forward their platforms on key issues such as price hikes, foreign and security policy, and constitutional reform. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the factors that will make a difference in how the votes will go, and whether the Kishida administration will manage to secure victory.
People cross a street during the "golden week" holiday in Tokyo's Shinjuku area on 5 May 2022. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Why Japan and China have totally different ideas of their foreign ministers' meeting

Following a video conference between the foreign ministers of Japan and China, each side's readout of the meeting seems to differ. While Japan's statement mentioned tough public opinion towards China and issues such as the East China Sea and the war in Ukraine, China's statement emphasised the 50th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between China and Japan. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima explains the differences.
Japanese foreign minister Hayashi Yoshimasa (second from right, in grey suit) walks with G7 countries foreign ministers during their summit in Weissenhaeuser Strand, Germany, 12 May 2022. (Marcus Brandt/Pool via Reuters)

It's hard to be neighbours: When will Japan advance its diplomacy with China and South Korea?

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima notes that Japan has been active on the international front, engaging the West as well as the Southeast Asian nations. However, it seems that with an eye to public sentiment, it is maintaining a cautious approach towards China and South Korea. When will it be opportune for Japan to advance to the next stage of foreign policy engagement?
Pedestrians walk past a screen displaying Russian President Vladimir Putin during a news broadcast about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the Akihabara district of Tokyo on 4 May 2022. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Japanese academic: Japan views China and Russia as one entity because of Russia-Ukraine war

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been reiterating lately that “unilateral changes to the status quo by force are absolutely unacceptable". Japanese academic Shin Kawashima points out that this stems from Japanese fears that if the global order is not maintained, Japan will face a security crisis, particularly in the East China Sea. Furthermore, in dealing with this perceived threat from China, Japan has come to view China and Russia as one entity. But is this a wise long-term policy?