With Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stepping down, whoever wins the Liberal Democratic Party leadership race is practically assured of becoming the next prime minister. But with four experienced politicians on the cards, including two women, who will it be? And how will the choice of the next prime minister affect Japan's policy towards China? Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the possibilities.
Just when China thought it would see peace after World War II, a civil war between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party soon broke out. While the Double Tenth Agreement led to an peaceful interregnum of sorts, this was short-lived, and not even US intervention resulted in a lasting peace.
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.
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?
Due to the US's historical and political heritage, Americans assume that they are one up on other countries when it comes to human rights. Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that the US's human rights record has actually been less than perfect. But how is it that they can be in denial about their own faults while accusing others of human rights violations?
Rishi Gupta gives a critique of the strategy paper “The Longer Telegram: Toward a New American China Strategy”, by “Anonymous”, which was recently published by the Atlantic Council. He says that judging from the paper and several other important geostrategic content released by the US recently, the US has not read the situation in China and its leadership correctly, and hence has a skewed understanding of how it can draw strength globally to compete with its "most serious competitor".
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?
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.
Han Dongping calls out the weaknesses in US foreign policy, explaining that its foreign policy missteps have contributed to the deep-seated issues it faces today. If having to learn from the past is not enough, it is as if the US has walked into China’s trap, getting mired in interventions while China watches and waits as the US slowly exhausts its power. If nothing changes, the impact on the US and the rest of the world could be catastrophic.