China-Japan military

Japan's Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa delivers a speech at a reception commemorating the 45th anniversary of signing and enactment of Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship in Tokyo on 23 October 2023. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Different threat perceptions in Japan and China: 45th anniversary of treaty of peace and friendship

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship. However, it seems that few people — especially in Japan — even know about this treaty that dates back to 1978. Results from a recent opinion poll conducted by Genron NPO also show that the Japanese and Chinese have different threat perceptions, though it is commonly agreed that military tensions are rising. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima shares his view on the issue.
On 26 April 1947, the chief perpetrator of the Nanjing Massacre, Hisao Tani, was escorted to the execution ground at Yuhuatai by military police, where a large crowd of onlookers gathered. The next day, China’s Central Daily News (中央日报) reported: “At 11:30 am on 26 April, the defendant Hisao Tani was identified and taken to the Yuhuatai execution ground by the court, and executed by firing squad according to the law.”

[Photo story] The long road to justice against Japanese war criminals and collaborators

Following Japan’s surrender at the end of the Second World War, the horrific military atrocities were brought to light as war criminals were put on trial. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao provides descriptions and images of that period. This article may contain some visually disturbing images.
In the 1930s, despite the influence of the Japanese government’s assimilation policies, the local ethnic dances of Okinawa still retained some of their distinctive features.

[Photo story] How did Ryukyu issue become entangled in the China-US conflict?

The recent visit of Okinawa governor Denny Tamaki to China has brought attention to the historical links between the ancient kingdom of Ryukyu (which included Okinawa) and China. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao explains the connections and possible political developments.
In 1914, after the Japanese army violently suppressed the resistance movement by the indigenous Taiwanese, they gathered the survivors and pointed their bayonets at their captives as instructed by the Japanese army photographer, facing the camera in a pose of victors.

[Photo story] The historical aftermath of Japan’s colonisation of Taiwan

Japan’s colonisation of Taiwan after the First Sino-Japanese War is a chapter of history that the Chinese would rather forget, along with the pain and suffering that the Japanese inflicted on the people of China and Taiwan. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives us an idea of that period.
Japanese people on a transport vessel take a last look at Manchuria, spring 1945. The Japanese government previously made many nice promises to encourage them to migrate to Manchuria, only for Japan to lose the war and dash the dream. Japan’s painful experience in Manchuria also became important material for Japanese literature and film after the war.

[Photo story] The fate of Japanese POWs and civilians in China after World War II

During the Japanese occupation of China in World War II, the Japanese government encouraged the people of Japan to migrate to China, where they were accorded many privileges as first-grade citizens. But when Japan eventually lost the war, these people found themselves cut adrift in an instant, neither belonging to China nor tied to Japan, especially the children born during the war. Many suffered and even lost their lives as the Soviet army put them into concentration camps and took retaliatory action. Some Japanese still remember the magnanimous policies of the Chiang Kai-Shek government, which arranged at the time for Japanese POWs and other Japanese to be repatriated back to Japan. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao presents photos of the period.
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.
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 UH-1J helicopter flies during a live fire exercise at Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) training grounds in the East Fuji Manuever Area in Gotemba on 22 May 2021. (Akio Kon/AFP)

Japan’s weapons transfers to Southeast Asia: Opportunities and challenges

Research fellow Victor Teo says that Japan’s re-emergence as a weapon exporter is fuelled by desires to increase Japanese capabilities, counteract China’s rise, hedge against possible future strategic abandonment by the US, fund next-generation weapon research, and foster Japan’s global leadership and influence in Southeast Asia. Using its overseas development assistance to the region, it is promoting the transfer of weapon systems, naval vessels and surveillance planes, particularly to Southeast Asian claimant states in the South China Sea. What are the implications of these actions?
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.