Policy Recommendations on Japan's Diplomacy for China

Posted in Japan , Asia | 12-Sep-05 | Author: Robert Dujarric

Robert Dujarric is member of the WSN International Advisory Board

The Study Group on Japan’s Diplomacy for China
Sponsored by the Tokyo Foundation

Warnings for the Japanese Government and People

Japan-China disputes are not temporal passing phenomena. Let us recognize the intention of China to divide and confuse Japanese public opinion.

Policy recommendations on Japan’s Diplomacy for China

Regretting the fact that conciliatory policies toward China have later resulted in a confrontational state between the two nations, we recommend that Japan should change its policy stance in a reciprocal and non accommodative direction. This may prevent the worst outcomes and lead to a strategic compromise later on.

. Overview

1. The tactics of Chinese Diplomacy

This April, the Anti-Japan demonstrations in China developed to an assault with stones and bottles at the Japanese embassy & consulates as well as at Japanese firms in China. Against the protests by the Japanese Government, the Chinese Authorities denied their accountability for the incidents and instead insisted that rather Japan, because of its failure to recognize historical legacy, was responsible for the events.

Faced with the mounting international criticism against the violence, however, the Chinese Government changed its policy, strongly regulated the demonstrators and eliminated the revival of the incidents. At the same time, China actively developed the international campaign to blame the historical legacy of Japan, especially that of Yasukuni Shrine. The tactics have been to some extent successful as demonstrated by the resurgence of the anti Japanese movements in South Korea as well as by the mounting criticism in Japan against the Koizumi Cabinet. This is the clever maneuver of information diplomacy to guard ones own weakness while pointing out the weakness of the opponent.

There is a wide-spread recognition that the demonstrations were inspired by the Anti-Japan sentiments fostered by the education of patriotism since the 1990s. The rigid denial of accountability by the Chinese administration may be a reflection of complicated domestic politics including the internal conflicts of the PRC. However, what is most pronounced in this incident is that we clearly observe a strong will by the Chinese government to prevent the permanent membership of Japan on the Security Council of the United Nations, which is now under review in the U.N. China, is now resorting to use every tool to prevent Japan’s permanent membership on the Security Council.

2. These events clearly show the intention of Chinese diplomacy regarding Japan. China is aiming at gaining a regional hegemony in Asia. So it wants to prevent Japan from having permanent membership on the Security Council. China’s strategy and tactics are, firstly strongly to develop anti-Japanese campaigns domestically as well as internationally; secondly, to divide public opinions in Japan by raising the historical issues; and thirdly to involve the Japanese businesses which are rapidly dependent on their exchange with China. The Chinese strategy is comprehensibly planned to make use of these tactics in order to produce the aimed results.

. In retrospect, the anti-Japanese moves have actively been growing for years in China. Typical examples are the invasion by the Chinese police of the Japanese Consulate General in Shenyang, violent moves in the soccer games, violation of the territorial sea by a Chinese submarine, tenacious criticism of the historical legacies and history text books.

The Japanese responses however have always been very modest and too conciliatory. Japanese diplomacy put more emphasis on maintaining the Japan –China friendship relationship and sought for compromise while avoiding conflicts and neglecting adequate counter assertions. Recently the Japanese companies which are increasingly are dependent on the Chinese market joined the chorus. This psychology of friendship first has spread not only to diplomatic bureaucrats but also to the general public. The Chinese campaigns have produced divisions among public opinion and created confusion even for crucial national interests.

As China continues “a peaceful rise” and strengthens its aim to realize a regional hegemony in East Asia, the disputes between the two countries will not be sporadic, but will be rather of lasting nature. Especially, as this year is the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, the events of the victory of China over Japan will be alternatively held, and the anti-Japan sentiment may prevail at a high level. Furthermore, there can be a dispute relating to the project of oil & natural gas development near the Okinawa islands.

3. What is the basic direction which Japan should take for in future?

Firstly, the Japanese Government should reorient its diplomatic thinking to take into account the fact that China is pursuing an anti-Japanese policy in order to realize a regional hegemony in Asia by downgrading Japan.

Secondly, under the circumstances, Japan should carry out diplomacy on a more realistic footing. In the case of violation of an international treaty, the first step should be to request an apology from the violator and if the procedure is not satisfactory, countervailing diplomatic measures should be taken against the violator.

Thirdly, the conciliatorily diplomacy under the slogan of” friendship first” is rather detrimental for both countries. Japan should pursue a realistic policy that is not afraid of temporary conflicts which may contribute rather to avoid a decisive rapture while sometimes resulting in strategic compromises between the two nations. Collisions of the national interests will continue as the two nations have substantial differences in political and economic regimes as well as aspirations for regional order as is typically indicated by request for a regional hegemony of China.

A realistic policy stance, however, may mitigate the conflicts and confrontations in a limited scope and pave the way to develop a mature relationship between both nations as major countries in Asia.

4. In order to carry out the policy direction above, Japan needs to develop the logic which prevails not only domestically but also internationally. To strengthen public diplomacy it is essential that the explanation of the causes and the conflicts, the intention of China as well as the Japanese standpoint be clear, in order to appeal to international opinion. At the same time, to communicate with the Chinese intellectuals on the issues is of paramount importance. In order to achieve positive results, the Japanese people should improve their awareness of diplomacy.

In order to contribute these ends, our group issues the following policy recommendations.

II. Policy Recommendations

Recommendation 1.
The Japanese people should reform its awareness on diplomacy, especially with China. A realist stance that is not afraid of conflicts while avoiding decisive breakdown is better than the friendship seeking diplomacy which may lead to an aggravated confrontation later on.

Many Japanese regard the maintenance of friendly relations with China as to be of paramount importance because of their guilty consciousness about the history of the invasion of China prior and during WWII. At every conflict with China many politicians and intellectuals visited Beijing, looking for a compromise while apologizing for the historical legacy. The Chinese always raised the historical issues in order to inflict a sense of sinfulness on the Japanese people and to divide public opinion in Japan. Recently, the tactics have been extended to involve the Japanese businesses which now are more dependent on the Chinese market.

However, 60 years have passed since the end of WWII. We are no more in the post war period. And China is now developing its comprehensive strategy to seek a regional hegemony while maneuvering a clear anti-Japanese campaign. The Japanese should recognize this reality and change the direction of diplomacy. Japan should adopt realist politics without fear of conflicts while avoiding decisive ruptures. This approach is better than the long-standing stance of friendship first stance eventually may lead to a more confrontational break down later on.

Japanese passive responses are damaging for both Japan and China because Japan has not mitigated the misleading assertions about the text books as well as on the historical record. Continuing this way of response may make China more aggressive as it takes for granted that Japan will always try to appease them. And when Japan strongly reacts at the point where it cannot make a compromise, the result could be a decisive rupture between the two nations.

In negotiating with China, Japan should strongly insist and argue its national interests and make the points clear on which it cannot compromise. Japan should not be afraid of temporary confrontational situations while avoiding a decisive breakdown or the making of strategic compromises. This is a more beneficial approach for China too, because the friendship first direction may result in distrust later on and lead to an ultimate rupture.

The current distorted relationship is the outcome of the past biased intercourses between both nations. As stated above, as the disputes can aggravate the relations between Japan and China this year, Japan should change its perception on diplomacy for China so that it will not create more burdens for the future generations.

This is the way to limit the conflicts and confrontation and to establish mature relationship between both nations...

Recommendation 2.
Japan should persistently continue strong protests against the violation of international laws and rules by China.

Japan should renew the protests against the violence and the damages on the Japanese embassy and consulates and the Japanese firms by the Chinese demonstrators as it was a violation of international laws. The continuation of the protest by Japan is the international obligation to prevent the resurgence of the same violation not only against Japan but also against other countries in China. We should notice the fact that other Asian nations pay considerable attention to the Japanese response on this matter.

In case of a violation of international law, the damaged country customarily requests an apology from the damaging country. In the absence of an apology, the damaged country usually takes strong diplomatic measures. China also has developed such stringent diplomacy against damaging countries.

However the Japanese responses have been too soft against the violation of international rules and practices. Afraid of conflicts with China, the Japanese Government asked reconciliations from itself. In addition to the passiveness of the Government, the moves of politicians made the policy for China more conciliatory under the slogan of friendship first.

For the invasion in the Japan’s General Consulates in Shenyang by Chinese officials in 2002, Japan should have repeatedly protested against the violation of international laws. However, the Japanese government compromised its position by consulting with the Chinese Authorities about the destinations of the North Korean. Then Japan lost the opportunity to accuse China of the violation.

Taking account of the past bitter experiences, Japan should, this time, request China to apology for the violations of the international laws. Without an apology Japan should not permit the repair of the damages on the buildings so that they can be maintained as a symbol for the violation.

The cancel of the meeting with the Prime Minister Koizumi by the Vice Prime Minister Go in May was also against international practice. It was also against the international rule of fair sportsmanship, when the Chinese spectators repeatedly gave violent actions against the Japanese players and spectators at the times of the soccer tournaments for the Asian Cup last year.

Japan should not refrain from protesting against the abuse of the international rules and practices. In this connection, Japan should strongly request in advance for the orderly and fair management of the coming Olympic Game in Beijing.

Recommendation 3.
Against those criticizing Japan for inadequately recognizing historical events, let us confront them with the historical facts.

China has repeatedly blamed the Japanese for inadequately recognizing history. This is a tactic to make its position more advantageous by excavating the guilty conscience of the Japanese for the past. There may be another reason for the Chinese to stick on the history of the remote past because China has things not to be proud of in the history after WWII. We should argue more about contemporary history for which the current generations are responsible than on the history before 60 years ago.

Japan has extensively contributed to the development of Asia and the world after the Second World War. The contribution has been remarkable also for China since the 1980s. The Japanese ODA assisted much to improve social and industrial infrastructure in China and to conserve cultural heritages such as the Silk Road. Japan also played a positive role for China’s return to the international society after the Tianmon square events as well as for its entry into the WTO. Are these Japanese roles bitter memories for the Chinese?

Furthermore, Japan has behaved as a peaceful country since the end of WWII. It has neither waged a war, nor exported weapons. This is the history of the contemporary Japan. The visit to Yasukuni Shrine never leads to a revival of militarism in Japan. As for the history textbooks, Japan has a number of text books which are not government –made. The contents of the text books are objective. Furthermore, the schools have the privilege of choosing textbooks. The Chinese accusations are completely off the point.

Switching to Chinese history in the post war period. China has waged many wars such as in the Korean Peninsula, with India, withUSSR and against Viet Nam. Domestically, China has had long periods of instability and suffered from famine while activating Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. China invaded Tibet in 1950s and suppresses ethnic movements in Xingjian .China also exported communism to Asia and assisted the Pol Pot regime. Furthermore, there is a wide spread suspicion that China has been involved in the nuclear proliferation even to rogue countries such as North Korea. Currently, China sharply is increasing its military capability which also gives sense of insecurity for neighboring countries. History shows that China has been an unstable factor for international society and has not been competent as a permanent member of the Security Council.

It is recommended that a project be undertaken to compare the histories of both countries including their contemporary histories and analyzes them by international specialists.

Policy Recommendation 4
Japan should request that China do more to observe international rules and to encourage human rights, democracy and market economy as a large and responsible country.

China is a country which dominates a large land area with one fifth of the world’s population. This big nation aims for a regional hegemony while eager to maintain one party’s dominance throughout its whole territory. However Chinese policies are prone to conflict with the standards of the modern world such as human rights, freedom of speech, independence of judiciary and free market mechanisms. Japan should point out the facts and request that China observe the international rules and practices as a responsible and large country.

First, a look at freedom of speech. Many Japanese and Japanese entrepreneurs fear that they are being watched by the Chinese authorities regarding their assertions or critical comments on the issues such as on dictatorship of the Communist Party, Taiwan independence and human rights. Ensuring freedom of speech .and realizing an independent judicial system are the essential conditions for a modern state.

Second, a look at China’s rapidly expanding military capability. The threat of China on the surrounding states is due to the galloping growth of her military ability. In February 2005, the Japan-US Joint Security committee issued a report which asked China to augment transparency of military capacity and a peaceful solution on the issues relating to the Taiwan Straits. This was a manifestation of the distrust on the Chinese intentions relevant to the accelerating advancement toward space, the remarkable missile deployment and the adoption of the recent anti-secession law.

Third, a look at the rules and practices of free trade. With the domestic market growing, China has been increasing its influence on the inflow of foreign capitals and the conclusion of the FTA. However, violations still continue against intellectual property rights even after the accession into the WTO. Many enterprises which entered into the Chinese market were obliged to withdraw because of the increasing requests for bribes and the too discretionary execution of regulations especially by local bureaucrats. Furthermore, coercible interventions on the foreign enterprises because of political reasons are against the rule of free trade and capitalism.

Forth, a look at environmental issues. China is already a big industrial country which now consumes one tenth of the total energy consumption of the world. This results in a massive release of CO2 in the air and serious environmental aggravation which give. substantial damages on the surrounding countries. Japan should strongly insist that the Kyoto Protocol should be applied on China which should not be treated as a developing country because of the sheer size of energy consumption and serious environmental damages...

Policy recommendation 5.
In dealing with China, Japan should make use of its geographical situations as an Asian country, a Pacific Ocean state and a sea nation.

The relations with the Korean Peninsula,China and Russia are quite important for Japan which is situated in the Far East. However, in the post war period, Japan dramatically developed reliance on the Pacific Ocean as well as on other regions as a sea state. With the Japan-US alliance as a basic foundation, it evolved with active exchanges with the Western Pacific zones such as Taiwan, ASEAN and Australia which led to the West Hemisphere coming across the ocean. Currently Japan is consolidating its alliance with the USA which strengthens the ties with the traditional areas

As a sea nation, Japan should maintain the sea lane which starts from Western Japan, goes through the East China Sea and the Indian Ocean and arrives at the Middle East while developing friendly relations with the coastal countries such as India. The recent Tsunami opened the opportunity to expand the cooperation with the countries concerned. Furthermore, Japan has a long history of communicating with European nations and is strengthening the relationships with the African states through economic cooperation’s.

In dealing with China, Japan should rethink its advantage as a global sea country and develop reciprocal diplomacy with China that is not overburdened by a reconciliation policy that is driven by dependence on the Chinese market.

Recommendation 6.
Japan should firmly seek status as a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

The United Nations was formed by the winners of the Second World War of which the core countries become the permanent members of the Security Council. However, the world has experienced the third world war of East- West confrontation. .Which countries are the winners and the losers of this WWIII? Currently, 60 years after WWII, the reform of the Security Council is now under international consideration. Appropriate and adequate appraisal should be made on the contribution for world peace and humanitarian progress during the Cold War and after.

In this respect the Japanese performance has been remarkable for the world development as well as for the pronounced economic evolution of Asia .Japan contributed as a member of the G8, which has participated in the world management, while giving a large amount of economic aid. Japan has made a contribution to world peace by participating in UN peace keeping operations while sharing the second largest contribution to the United Nations for a long time. Japan is the most eligible country for the new permanent member of the Security Country.

China who is maneuvering a variety of counter campaigns against permanent membership for Japan has not shown a remarkable performance as a permanent member of the Security Council. Recommendation 3 has already touched upon what China has done in the post war period. A permanent member of Security Council has special privileges to be elected permanently and to exercise a veto power. Furthermore in the NPT, China is allowed to be equipped with nuclear arms. However, the Chinese share to the total contribution to the UN is about 2 %( Japan, 19.5%). China also has been quite passive for the nuclear arms reduction. Furthermore, there is wide spread doubt that China might have contributed to nuclear proliferations. These records are unfitting for a permanent member of the Security Council.

Recommendation 7.
Japan should strengthen its ability to promulgate and explain Japan’s position, assertions and diplomacy about Japan-China disputes not only domestically but also internationally.

The first need is for fundamentally better public diplomacy on the domestic front. Compared with active public diplomacy in China, Japan’s efforts to dispatch necessary information about Japan’s diplomacy remain quite modest. In order to strengthen the institutional capability, the status and the authorized power of the Cabinet Information Officer should be substantially elevated

Secondly the Japanese mass media should rectify its biased reports. As Japan is the country of free speech, the mass media is quite influential in forming public opinion. But some of the mass media are too loose and naïve in the face of the strong and tactical information diplomacy of China. They end up producing division and confusion about a national consensus by speaking for Chinese interests. Though the strategy to divide the public opinions is a normal course of international politics, China is especially skillful in its tactics. The Japanese public should take adequate care to see the reality of international politics and recognize the need to reform of their consciousness. So they can avoid the trap of the friendship first diplomacy. The mass media should also be sure to dispatch fair information about Japanese public opinions and the Japanese diplomacy.

Thirdly even though the Chinese government is strictly controlling information, there have been reactions against this control. Japan should encourage an information strategy that sends a clear message to the Chinese intellectuals. Opening home pages in Chinese is also an important task in order to encourage the flowing of accurate information toward China.

Fourthly, it is important to strengthen public diplomacy directed at Western countries as well as other Asian nations. The international reactions against the anti-Japanese demonstration had played a pivotal role in changing the direction of Chinese policy. Japan should remember that in the neighboring Asian countries, there is great concern about Chinese hegemony and arrogant diplomacy. These countries are seeking that Japan be strong in dealing with China.

The lesson which the recent Anti-Japanese demonstrations and the subsequent violence in China brought us is that in order to complete the survival in the 21st century, Japan should overhaul its strategy for China which will require a basic change in its diplomacy. Basing on this lesson, we again suggest that the following points are of paramount importance.

1. Japan-China disputes are not temporary aberrations, but are rather of lasting nature.

2. Therefore, in its diplomacy, Japan should not be conciliatory only to seek friendship with China. Rather it should resolutely deal with China without fear of temporary conflicts which stance may contribute to avoid a decisive breakdown while sometimes reaching to a strategic compromise.

3. It is the urgent task for Japan, to reorient and consolidate the domestic system in order to ensure that the public understands the logic of the diplomatic negotiations and that Japan can firmly develop strategic dialogs with this tough negotiator China.

III. Proposers of the Policy Recommendations(as of July1, 2005)

1, Members of the Study Group on the Japanese Diplomacy for China

: Masahiro Sakamoto, Chief of the Group,Vice President Japan Forum for Strategic Studies(JFSS).

:Hiroyasu Akutsu, Senior Research Fellow Okazaki Research institute

:Yasuo Ohkushi, LTG(R) exCommander, Air Defense Force

:Takayuki Osanai, Diplomacy Journalist

:Hidetake Sawa, Diplomacy Journalist

:Izuru Sugahara, Research Fellow, Tokyo Foundation

:Yositomo Tanaka, Ambassodor, ex-Delegation for Arm Reduction

2. Supporters of the Recommendations

:Kazuo Aichi, ex-Minister of State(Defense and Environment Agency)

:Taisuke Abiru, Research Fellow Tokyo Foundation

:Takashi Arai, LTG(R)ex-Commanding General, Tohoku Army

:Kouichi Endo, Professor, Cultural Research Institute Takushoku Univ

TadahikoFurusawa, VADM(R)ex-Commander,Yokosuka District

Mutsuyosi Gomi, VADM(R) ex-Commander, Maritime Self Defense Fleet,

:Nobuaki Hanaoka, Journalist .Politics

:Kazuhiro Haraguchi, Member of the House of Representatives

:Kataru Hasegawa, VADM(R)ex- Commander, Mritime Self Defense Fleet,

:Kazutoshi Hasegawa, Amb.exDirectorGeneral Asian Affaires Bureau. MOFA

:Shigetaka Hasegawa, LTG(R) exCommanding General Tohoku Army

:Shigeto Nagano, ex-Minister of Justice, G(R), President.JFSS

.Akihisa Nagashima, Member of the House of Representative

:Takeshi Nishida, Member of the House of Representatives

:Tomohiro Okamoto, LTD(R) ex-Director General, Joint Staff Office

:Kazuhisa Ogawa, Military Analyst

:Yoshitaka Sakurada, Member of the House of Representative

:Yuzo Sasaki, ex-Acting President of Sakata University,ex-Professor

:Tosikatu Suzuki, MG(R) Air Defense Force

:Kazuaki Tanaka, Professor Takushoku Univ.

:Hachirobee Tokuda, ex Professor Defense Univ.

:Gakuyo Togo, Ambassador ex Amb to Russia

:Reizo Utagawa, Special Research Fellow Tokyo Foundation

:Makoto Yamazaki, VADM(R) ex Commander, Maritime Self Defense Fleet

:Tuneo Yoshihara, Professor Takushoku Univ.