China-Japan relations

People carry umbrellas as they visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, 15 August 2021. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

Yasukuni Shrine visits: A mirror reflecting Sino-Japanese relations

Some Japanese politicians have the practice of marking the anniversary of the end of WWII for Japan by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine to pay tribute to the war dead. Even after more than 75 years, emotions run deep especially in China, which has registered its unhappiness at these visits. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines how Yasukuni Shrine visits can be used to gauge the state of Japan-China relations.
Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani of Japan celebrate winning their match against Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen of China, Tokyo Olympics, 26 July 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Japan-bashing by Chinese netizens: A lack of sportsmanship during the Olympics?

A week into the Tokyo Olympics and the Chinese internet is already a minefield of anti-Japan sentiments. Displeasure ranges from Japan’s win over China in the table-tennis mixed doubles to perceived slights against China. By playing the nationalism card, Chinese netizens are not doing China any favours in the run-up to next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
Members of the Japanese Armed Forces walk past the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, Japan, 18 July 2021 (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Japanese academic: Will Japan send troops to 'protect' Taiwan?

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima analyses Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso's recent comments where he made reference to a possible "Survival Threatening Situation" in Taiwan. How ready is Japan to step in?
A man wearing a protective face mask, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, makes his way at a local shopping street in Tokyo, Japan, 5 May 2021. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Why Japan is investigating Confucius Institutes in Japanese universities

Last month, following a question by a Diet member, Japan's education minister announced a fact-finding investigation into the presence of Confucius Institutes in Japanese educational institutions. What influence do these Confucius Institutes have in Japan and should they be allowed to continue being in operation?
Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) soldiers wearing protective face masks arrive for a live fire exercise at JGSDF's training grounds in the East Fuji Maneuver Area in Gotemba, Japan, on 22 May 2021. A key part of US President Joe Bidens foreign policy has been turning to allies for support in addressing the security risks posed by the likes of China and North Korea, placing a greater emphasis on the Indo-Pacific region. (Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

What removing the defence budget cap means for Japan’s role in the Indo-Pacific

​Since 1976, Japan’s defence budget has traditionally been capped at 1% of its GDP. However, in a recent interview, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said that this self-imposed limit would effectively be removed.
US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga walk through the Colonnade to take part in a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on 16 April 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

US academic: Is Japan a true and loyal US ally?

US academic Han Dongping says that while many assume Japan to be a loyal friend of the US, their complicated history suggests otherwise. Having used the atomic bomb on Japan, the US has continued to leverage the outcome of WWII to keep Japan as a pawn in its international strategy. Americans may argue that they are protecting Japan, but ask the Japanese in private, and some of their answers may surprise you. He asks: will Japan still be a willing US flunky if the global situation changes?
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (centre) leaves after a lower house budget committee session at parliament in Tokyo on 10 May  2021. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Japanese academic: Has Japan 'crossed the Rubicon' in Japan-China relations?

With China's increasingly strong rhetoric on its core interests and its criticism of Japan's recent diplomatic moves, Japanese academic Tomoki Kamo takes stock of China-Japan relations and moves that Japan might make in its overall strategy.
A screen shows Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaking at a press conference in Tokyo on 7 May 2021. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)

Japanese academic: Biden's emphasis on allies is impacting Japan-China relations

Relations between Japan and China have been on an uptrend in the past few years. Even after the new Suga administration came to power, the trend of improving relations has been maintained. However, with the Biden administration's emphasis on working with its allies, ostensibly against China, will Japan-China relations suffer?
A food delivery motorist rides on a street as deliveries rise due to lockdown restrictions introduced to try to halt a surge in cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Phnom Penh on 26 April 2021. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Japan passes China in the sprint to win Cambodian hearts and minds

Since 2010, Japan’s foreign policy toward Cambodia includes a new geopolitical dimension of balancing China’s influence in Cambodia, including strategies such as non-interference in Cambodia’s domestic affairs and providing development assistance that aligns with the Cambodian government’s development plan, focusing on infrastructure, human capital development, and agriculture. Japan has been relatively successful given the Cambodian population’s mixed reactions to China’s engagement in Cambodia. And it seems that Cambodia will continue to benefit from Japan's balancing-China strategy, as long as China-Japan rivalry stays manageable.