China-Japan relations

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a press conference in Tokyo on 16 December 2022. (David Mareuil/AFP)

Japan wary of Chinese leadership's shifting policy preferences

Japan's new National Security Strategy states that China's stance and activities are "a matter of serious concern”. Part of the assessment hinges on the fact that China’s leaders are changing their policy preferences, such as by placing emphasis on a holistic approach to national security and moving from collective to personal leadership.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (left) meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, 17 November 2022, in this photo released by Kyodo. (Kyodo via Reuters)

Can Japan and China find common interests and live in peace?

Japanese academic Tomoki Kamo points out that one can no longer rely on economic relations to keep Japan-China relations on an even keel. Trapped in a security dilemma exacerbated by diverging views of the international order, what common interests can Japan and China still find to go the distance?
People walk through a shopping street in Omotesando area of Tokyo on 15 December 2022. (Yuichi Yamazaki/AFP)

How China and Japan see each other

The recently released results of the Japan-China Joint Opinion Survey show changing trends in Japan's and China's perceptions of each other. Factors such as the economy, the Russia-Ukraine war, Taiwan Strait tensions and the media were important influences on public opinions in the past year, with the latter going on to impact foreign policies.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Bangkok on November 17, 2022, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (Jiji Press/AFP)

Future of Japan-China relations not rosy despite summit

While the recent meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping is a good step in restoring relations on a good path, underlying tensions remain and the bilateral relationship may be rocky for some time yet.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walks on stage during the state funeral for Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe in the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, on 27 September 2022. (Franck Robichon/Pool/AFP)

Kishida's political agenda in granting state funeral to Abe

Some Japanese believe that despite being the longest-serving Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe is not deserving of a state funeral considering his shortfall in political contribution. Others believe that incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has a political agenda behind the decision, including uniting the Liberal Democratic Party. Academic Toh Lam Seng examines Kishida's considerations and what it shows about the current and future Japanese political environment.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) attends the opening ceremony of an extraordinary session of the Diet, the country's parliament, at the National Diet building in Tokyo on 3 August 2022. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

The delicate balance of Japan-China relations and Japan-Taiwan relations

As the situation in the Taiwan Strait develops, Japan needs to navigate relations with mainland China and Taiwan, while also keeping in mind the role of the US as well as its own interests. Japanese academic Sahashi Ryo examines Japan's options and how it will acquit itself. He notes that Japan is now firmly in an age where the Japan-China and Japan-US relationships must always be considered together.
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.
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.
This general view shows Japanese lawmakers at upper house of the parliament in Tokyo on 15 June 2022. (AFP)

Constitutional revision is not entirely Japan's domestic affairs

Japan’s efforts at revising its constitution are not just a domestic issue as it concerns the foremost interests of external parties, says Taiwanese commentator Chen Chen Kuohsiang. The wounds from the Second World War remain fresh in mind for countries such as China and South Korea, while regional cooperation efforts, especially those of the US’s geopolitical strategy, may turn to dust.