We've detected an outdated browser.

You may want to consider updating your browser. International Policy Digest requires a modern browser in order to view the website properly.

Click here for information on how to update your browser.

Continue Anyways
China-Japan Relations

Tag Archives | China-Japan Relations

Understanding Shinzo Abe’s Historical Revisionism

|
Pictured: Japanese war re-enactors at Yasakuni Shrine and Shinzo Abe

Myth: Shinzo Abe is a leading member of the team of world and Asian democracies standing up to China in the name of universal values like “freedom of navigation” and to help ensure the shared peace and prosperity of Asia.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting the Yasakuni Shrine. Source: Facebook

Reality: Shinzo Abe is a revisionist nationalist using friction with China to pursue Japanese national interests, put Japan on the right side of a zero-sum economic equation opposite the PRC, maximize Japan’s independence of action as a regional hegemon, hopefully peacefully, but if not…

Mission for the Western media: Manage the cognitive dissonance between comforting myth and disturbing reality for the sake of its faithful readers.

Continue Reading →

Could the Global Bond Market cause another Global Financial Crisis in 2013?

|
Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve pictured with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the background

With Christmas and New Year cheer and optimism still bubbling away for most of us we now need to turn our attention to the major risk factors that are likely to impact upon the world economy and financial markets during 2013.

Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve pictured with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the background

While the world economy is estimated to have grown by over 3 percent in 2012 overall and has enjoyed such a remarkable escape from the paralysis affecting some of its constituents like Europe, a major issue is whether this stable growth trajectory will continue for the foreseeable future. At the end of the day the global stock market has been a secular bear market for over a decade and we are now at the juncture of ascertaining whether the bear will have its final growl in 2013 or we will enter a new market phase.

The economic fundamentals are very strong for world economic growth, thanks to a relatively soft landing for China. However, a number of world risk factors prevail that could upset the world’s economic and financial stability. The major risk factor emanates from the global bond market where yields have been driven down to historic lows on both sides of the Atlantic due to Quantitative Easing [QE] or the printing of money. This has had a knock on effect in emerging markets, through the interest rate parity mechanism and emerging economy sovereign debt yields are also historically very low, despite their high level of political risk and this may be why emerging economies outperformed the world’s average GDP growth by around 2 percent because of lower financing costs.

Continue Reading →

Japan-China Relations in Rough Waters

|
Pictured: Shintaro Ishimara, the former Governor of Tokyo from 1999 to 2012 who resigned to lead the Sunrise Party. He currently serves in Japan's lower house. Source: Foreign Policy

Could Japan and China—the number two and three largest economies in the world—really get into a punch-out over five tiny islands covering less than four square miles?

Pictured: Shintaro Ishimara, the former Governor of Tokyo from 1999 to 2012 who resigned to lead the Sunrise Party. He currently serves in Japan’s lower house. Source: Foreign Policy

According to the International Crisis Group, maybe: “All the trends are in the wrong direction, and prospects of resolution are diminishing.” That the two Asian superpowers could actually come to blows seems unthinkable, but a devil’s brew of suspicion, anger, ham-handed diplomacy, and a growing US military presence has escalated a minor dispute into something that could turn very ugly if someone makes a misstep. And so far, the choreography in the region has ranged from clumsy to provocative. A few examples. On the anniversary of Japan’s brutal 1931 attack on China, Tokyo purchased a handful of islands in the East China Sea—known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China—whose ownership is in dispute. In response, China accused Japan of “stealing” the islands, and anti-Japanese demonstrations and riots broke out in 80 Chinese cities. Several major Japanese companies, including Toyota, Honda, and Panasonic were forced to shut down for several days.

Amidst this tension, Washington announced that it will deploy a second anti-ballistic missile system (ABM) in Japan, supposedly to guard against North Korea, but which the Chinese charge is aimed at neutralizing their modest nuclear missile force. “The joint missile defense system objectively encourages Japan to keep an aggressive position on the Diaoyu Islands dispute,” charges Shi Yinhong, a professor of international studies at Beijing’s Renmin University. Tao Wenzhao, deputy director of United States studies at China’s Academy of Social Science, adds, “It is highly inappropriate and counter-constructive for the U.S. to make such a move at this highly sensitive time.”

Continue Reading →

Asia’s Mad Arms Race

|
The Japan helicopter destroyer JS Kurama leads ships during a rehearsal for a fleet review, October 21, 2009

Asia is currently in the middle of an unprecedented arms race that is not only sharpening tensions in the region, but competing with efforts by Asian countries to address poverty and growing economic disparity.

The Japan helicopter destroyer JS Kurama leads ships during a rehearsal for a fleet review, October 21, 2009

The gap between rich and poor—calculated by the Gini coefficient that measures inequality—has increased from 39 percent to 46 percent in China, India, and Indonesia. While affluent households continue to garner larger and larger portions of the economic pie, “Children born to poor families can be 10 times more likely to die in infancy” than those from wealthy families, according to Changyong Rhee, chief economist of the Asian Development Bank. This inequality trend is particularly acute in India, where life expectancy is low, infant mortality high, education spotty, and illiteracy widespread, in spite of that country’s status as the third largest economy in Asia, behind China and Japan. According to an independent charity, the Naandi Foundation, some 42 percent of India’s children are malnourished. Bangladesh, a far poorer country, does considerably better in all these areas.

And yet last year India was the world’s leading arms purchaser, including a deal that will spend $20 billion dollars on high performance French fighter planes. India is also developing a long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads, and buying submarines and surface craft. Its military budget is set to rise 17 percent this year to $42 billion. “It is ridiculous. We are getting into a useless arms race at the expense of fulfilling the needs of poor people,” Praful Bidwai of the Coalition of Nuclear Disarmament and Peace told the New York Times.

Continue Reading →

Japan’s New Security Reality in East Asia

|
Dmitry Medvedev with North Korea's Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang. Source: Kremlin Press Office

Nearly all members of the Six Party Talks, except for Japan, seem to be on board to restart negotiations. Tokyo has been noticeably reticent amidst a bustle of preliminary meetings between the U.S. and North Korea and between Russia and South Korea. Even Beijing made a uncharacteristic push for Pyongyang to improve ties with the U.S. during Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to the isolated state.

Dmitry Medvedev with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang. Source: Kremlin Press Office

Though Japan would never officially remove itself from probably one of East Asia’s major multilateral forums, Tokyo’s less than enthusiastic response may indicate a change in its security concerns, both in regards to North Korea and other regional neighbors. With a pacifist constitution, many in Tokyo are growing increasingly uncomfortable with what they see as an imbalance in defense capabilities in East Asia, particularly with the growing military presence of Russia and China.

The epicenter of these major geopolitical shifts is China’s rapid economic growth. The country’s sudden economic rise has come with an increase in its military expenditure, rivaling second to that of the U.S. In addition to economic growth, Beijing has been more assertive in its foreign policies, especially on issues of territorial disputes with neighboring countries.

Continue Reading →