China-Japan relations

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.
People gather to offer flowers at Zojoji Temple, where the funeral of late former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, will be held, in Tokyo, Japan, 12 July 2022. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Are Chinese fears of a rise in Japanese militarism post-Abe valid?

Following former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s death, the pro-constitutional amendment camp retained a majority during the upper house election, marking a step forward for the revision of Japan’s post-war constitution. Nevertheless, Japan will still need to approach the matter with caution to avoid damaging the already delicate relations with the US and China. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong shares more on the issue.
A mourner pays respects to late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election, in Taipei, Taiwan, 11 July 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

21st century strategist: Shinzo Abe left an indelible mark on geopolitics in Asia-Pacific

Political commentator William He observes that the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a statesman who influenced US foreign policy and a key player in making “the Indo-Pacific strategy” and “the Quad” the lexicon of recent times. He was also an active defender of stability in the Taiwan Strait. All said, he might have been a controversial figure, but the legacy he leaves behind is a tangible record that history can be the judge of.
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.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo shows Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida a souvenir following their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, Indonesia, 29 April 2022. (Muchlis Jr./Indonesia's Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters)

Kishida’s charm diplomacy in Southeast Asia: Moral suasion does the trick

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visits to Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have burnished Japan’s regional credentials, particularly on contentious issues such as the war in Ukraine, the South China Sea disputes and the evolving order in the Indo-Pacific.