Table of Contents

China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia

China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia

Edited by Christopher M. Dent

This book considers themes, evidence and ideas relating to the prospects for regional leadership in East Asia, with particular reference to China and Japan assuming ‘regional leader actor’ roles. Key issues discussed by the list of distinguished contributors include: • the extent to which there is an East Asian region to lead • China–Japan relations • different aspects of Japan and China’s positions in the East Asia region • how the seemingly inexorable rise of China is being addressed within the region • how China and Japan have explored paths of regional leadership through certain regional and multilateral organisations and frameworks • the position of certain ‘intermediary powers’ (i.e. the United States and Korea) with regards to regional leadership diplomacy in East Asia. Invaluably, the concluding chapter brings together the main findings of the book and presents new analytical approaches for studying the nature of, and prospects for leadership in East Asia.

Chapter 2: Japan’s Policy Towards China: Domestic Structural Change, Globalisation, History and Nationalism

Christopher W. Hughes

Subjects: asian studies, asian geography, asian urban and regional studies, economics and finance, regional economics

Extract

2. Japan’s policy towards China: domestic structural change, globalization, history and nationalism Christopher W. Hughes 1. INTRODUCTION: HOW DEEP DO TENSIONS GO IN SINO-JAPANESE RELATIONS? Japan–China political relations were left in a parlous condition following the premiership of Koizumi Junichiro (2001–2006). In fact, political ties probably sank to their worst condition since the normalization of diplomatic ties in 1972. The bilateral political relationship found itself particularly in need of repair over issues of history, including most notably the damage done to ties by Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine and relative indifference to the controversy over school textbooks. Abe Shinzo (2006–2007), Koizumi’s successor, to his credit, and against his natural political instincts, recognized the need to seek some form of political rapprochement with China. Abe’s visit to Beijing in October 2006 (described by Abe as an ‘ice-breaking’ trip), and the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao to Tokyo in April 2007 (described by Wen as ‘ice melting’) certainly made a start in moderating the role of history in shaping bilateral ties. Abe’s maintenance of his ambiguous stance on Yasukuni – refusing to comment on whether he would or would not visit the shrine as prime minister and pledging ‘to remove political obstacles’ to bilateral ties – appeared to have satisfied China’s leaders for the time being. This being said, relations experienced a slight wobble after Abe sent a donation to the shrine in early May, China describing this as a ‘regrettable’ action. Similarly, China’s leadership appears eager to relegate...

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