China-Japan relations

Protestors hold slogans as they take part in a rally against the Japanese government's decision to release treated water from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean, outside of the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, on 13 April 2021. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)

Fukushima wastewater: Why China is protesting while the US gives the nod

Japan’s neighbours, China the most vociferous among them, have protested against Japan’s decision to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean in two years’ time. On the other hand, Western countries have been accused of making minimal noise on account that it’s Japan. Is this another case of geopolitics politicising the situation? Would the world have reacted differently if it were China doing the dumping?
People cross a street under the rain at dusk while a shinkansen N700A series, or high speed bullet train, leaves Tokyo on 21 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Balancing China: Can Japan continue to be a reliable power in SEA after Abe?

Academic Victor Teo says that Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has big shoes to fill as his predecessor Shinzō Abe had made visible and significant achievements on both the domestic and diplomatic fronts. With the Biden administration in place in the US, and a rising China amid a post-pandemic world, how will Suga's Japan engage Southeast Asia? Will he reaffirm the “silent” leadership role that Japan has played in the region through economic and security means? Furthermore, Japan has guided the US in regional matters during Trump's presidency and has been keen to include Southeast Asian countries in the Quad. Can Japan fulfil its security goals without seriously antagonising China?  
A general view shows the skyline of Tokyo's Shinjuku area on 22 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Chinese academic: Japan is the ‘hidden warrior’ behind China-US competition

Chinese academic Deng Qingbo examines the recent Alaska meeting between China and the US, and concludes that Japan plays a hidden but crucial role in how the China-US relationship is developing. As Japan has much to gain from conflicts and intense competition between China and the US, it may indulge in actions that could worsen such big power competition and land the world in a disastrous situation.
In a photo taken on 8 February 2021, a Korean People's Army (KPA) soldier walks past a poster displayed on a street in Pyongyang marking the 73rd anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army. (Kim Won Jin/AFP)

Japanese academic: Will Northeast Asia work with Biden on North Korea?

A survey in Japan shows that Japanese foreign policy decision-makers are most concerned with “US-North Korea denuclearisation negotiations and North Korea’s status as a nuclear power” in Northeast Asia. The Biden administration is likely to work with its allies to tackle the issue, but it is enmeshed in a web of complex geopolitical relationships. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima considers the deliberations of the key players involved.
Royal Australian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and United States Navy warships sail in formation during the Pacific Vanguard 2020 exercise, 11 September 2020. (Official Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo)

Japan's diplomatic note to counter China's growing assertiveness in South China Sea

Academic Nguyen Hong Thao observes that Japan’s latest note verbale to the United Nations on the South China Sea was done out of its national interest. Nonetheless, it shows that Tokyo — and a growing coalition of countries — are digging in their heels to uphold the aegis of international law in the region.
This photo taken on 4 January 2021 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China's Xinjiang region. (STR/AFP)

Japanese academic: China needs to show more self-restraint in PLA's military activities

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has ramped up its military activities in the South China Sea, East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan in the year 2020. Japanese academic Sugiura Yasuyuki believes that such actions will continue to escalate this coming year. He thinks China needs to exercise some restraint to avoid destabilising the status quo in the East Asia region.
A button featuring President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' inauguration is on display by a street vendor in Eatonton, Georgia, 2 January 2021. (Alex Wong/AFP)

Japanese academic: The Chinese and Japanese differ in their perceptions of Biden's China policy

With US President-elect Joe Biden poised to take office in a week, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima compares how China and Japan view the incoming administration, and how their differing views may impact on foreign relations and geopolitics.
People wearing face masks are seen at a shopping area in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 7 December 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

RCEP: The benefits, the regret and the limitations

EAI academic Yu Hong notes that the RCEP will bring greater regional economic integration by increasing trade in Asia-Pacific and generating new business opportunities for companies in the 15 member countries of ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. China and ASEAN in particular, are well-placed to reap many of the benefits.
Admiral Philip S. Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command meets with Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during his courtesy call at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, 22 October 2020. (Kyodo via REUTERS)

A leaders' word game: 'Secure and prosperous' vs 'free and open' Indo-Pacific

With the incoming Biden administration using the term "secure and prosperous" in place of "free and open" to refer to the Indo-Pacific, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima explores what this might mean for the future of the region and the roles played by Japan, China, and the US.