China-Japan relations

An outdoor screen shows live coverage of China’s President Xi Jinping attending the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, 28 May 2020. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Cancelling Xi Jinping's visit to Japan? Vested interests split views of Japanese politicians

Factionalism within the LDP has cast the spotlight on the prospect of Japan cancelling a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan that was postponed earlier in the year. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima rationalises that such requests are not a unified LDP view, much less a government one. With a general election coming up in Japan, Sino-Japanese relations will no doubt continue to be part of the shadow play, but there being no smoke without fire, the deterioration of Sino-Japanese relations cannot be underestimated as well.
Anti-government demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a lunch time protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, 27 May 2020. (Tyrone Siu/REUTERS)

Japanese academic: Japan's call for 'wise action' on Hong Kong's national security law a strong statement

Japan's support of Taiwan's participation in the WHO Assembly, Chinese military operations in the East China Sea, and Japanese thoughts of delinking Japan-China supply chains have been some of the key issues in Japan-China relations during the pandemic. But the Japanese public is most concerned with the national security law in Hong Kong, according to academic Shin Kawashima. What are the implications for Japan-China relations? And will President Xi Jinping become the first state guest to visit Japan “post-corona"?
Tan Kah Kee (L) and Aw Boon Haw made major contributions to China's resistance efforts during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Tan Kah Kee, Aw Boon Haw and the Second Sino-Japanese War [Photo story]

When Japan attacked China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia made contributions to China’s war efforts. Among the most prominent community leaders were Tan Kah Kee and Aw Boon Haw, who corralled donations and made separate visits to Chongqing. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao takes us back to that period and shows us the atrocities of war and the indomitable human spirit reflected in old photos.
A woman wearing a face mask walks at a square of a park in Yokohama, 10 May 2020. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Why has Japan not imposed a lockdown, like China and the rest of the world?

Japan has not implemented a lockdown or harsh measures, but it has generally managed to keep its coronavirus cases and death toll low. How has it managed to do this and what does it say about its political system? Professor Zhang Yun of Niigata University examines Japan’s pandemic-management style.
Japan's strategy in Southeast Asia is moving, despite difficulties. (Aris Messinis/REUTERS)

Targeting China, Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Southeast Asia runs into headwinds?

Japan has taken the lead in propagating a vision of regional order for more than a decade. Its geopolitical strategy seeks to constrain China at a time when Southeast Asian countries fret about China’s military buildup, its expansion in the South China Sea and its controversial Belt and Road Initiative. ISEAS academic William Choong explains why Japan's endeavours have not been smooth, yet should not be discounted yet. 
People walk past closed stores on the Nakamise shopping street leading to the Sensoji temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, Japan, on 25 April 2020. (Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg)

Warming up of China-Japan ties hijacked by the pandemic

A severely disrupted supply chain, an inevitable blame game, a collision in the East China Sea... Dr Amrita Jash says that like many things this year, the warming up of China-Japan ties has been hijacked by the spread of Covid-19 and its aftermath.
A secury guard (center) stands at a closed cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo's Ueno park on 28 March 2020. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Japanese academic: Battling Covid-19 is not a global match of going for gold

Shin Kawashima says that China needs to tread carefully in the ways that it is publicising its efforts in helping other nations battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Excessive propaganda tends to backfire and create huge perception gaps between China and the rest of the world, which will not be a good thing if it hopes to increase its soft power in the days and months ahead.
Staff members move medical supplies to be sent to Italy, at a logistics center of the international airport in Hangzhou, March 10, 2020. (China Daily via REUTERS)

Is China’s pandemic diplomacy working?

As the Covid-19 coronavirus starts to ease domestically, China is now extending help to other countries that gave it assistance in the initial stages of the outbreak and publicising its efforts domestically and globally. While these efforts are sparking praise from Chinese netizens, it is getting mixed reactions in the global arena. Academics say a quieter and calmer approach may be preferred. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at how China’s pandemic diplomacy is being received.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (C) speaks during a meeting at the new COVID-19 coronavirus infectious disease control headquarters at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on February 27, 2020. ( Jiji Press/AFP)

Widening perception gap between Japan and China since Covid-19 outbreak

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima says despite the appearance of warmer China-Japan relations after the Covid-19 outbreak, judging from Japanese sentiments at least, the picture is not that rosy. While there does not appear to have been any public opinion survey, the frustration from Japanese people is discernible.