A poll on China-Japan relations showed that a majority of the respondents in both countries cited US pressure as an obstacle for China-Japan ties amid the backdrop of China-US competition, while more than half of Japanese respondents said their country should not “pick sides,” far exceeding those who preferred to side with the US.
As next year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou proposed four directions for efforts over the bilateral ties in an interview on Sunday focusing on the current situation and prospects of China-Japan relations under the new situation.
One year after the end of Shinzo Abe’s long period of leadership, Japan has a new prime minister once again. The greatest foreign policy challenge the new Japanese government led by Fumio Kishida is facing is the intensifying confrontation between its large neighbor China and its main ally America. In addition to moves to energize the Quad group to which Japan belongs alongside Australia, India, and the United States, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has concluded a deal with Canberra and London to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines which in future could patrol the Western Pacific close to Chinese shores. The geopolitical fault lines in the Indo-Pacific region are fast turning into frontlines.
Japan has launched the second of a new class of diesel-electric submarines exactly one year to the day that the lead boat of the lithium-ion powered series took to the water.
The new submarine, which has been named the Hakugei, or White Whale, was launched at Kawasaki Heavy Industries shipyard in the city of Kobe on Thursday afternoon Japan time. The submarine will now undergo final construction and sea trials before commissioning into the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force or JMSDF, which is planned for March 2023.
Ultimatum-sounding remarks by Japan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Tokyo won’t agree to sign a peace treaty with Moscow without settling the territorial issue postpone the prospects of solving this problem, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
Japan has been declared the world’s first ‘super-aged’ society and a ‘pioneer shrinking society’, rapidly inverting the demographic pyramid upon which the modern state has been built. Since 1989, when the low fertility rate of 1.57 became a major social concern, numbers have continued to trend downward. In June 2020, the Japanese government announced the preliminary results of the 2020 census revealing that the number of births in that year was the lowest on record.
The southern territories of the Kuril Islands constitute Russian soil, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, commenting in response to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s statement regarding Tokyo’s claims of sovereignty over the South Kurils.
“We do not agree with such a statement, this is the territory of the Russian Federation,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed.
That being said, Peskov assured that Moscow was ready for dialogue with Tokyo to solve sensitive issues. “Moscow has repeatedly affirmed its political will at various levels, along with Russian President [Vladimir] Putin confirming his political determination to pursue dialogue with Tokyo in order to find solutions to the pressing questions that remain on the agenda,” Peskov said.
On Tuesday, during a debate in the Japanese parliament’s lower house, Kishida said that Tokyo’s sovereignty allegedly extended to the southern Kuril Islands. He specifed that the parties should “solve this issue and not leave it for future generations”. The prime minister also added that the Japanese government was committed to signing a peace treaty with Russia, resolving the ownership issue of these islands.
The statement of the newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Tokyo’s sovereignty covers the Northern Territories (Japan’s name for the South Kurils – TASS) may complicate his further negotiations with Moscow. The Kuril Islands dispute is a done deal in 1945, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Dzhabarov reported on Tuesday.
“I think that it is not good that the Japanese prime minister made this statement, since, from my point of view, it complicates his further negotiations with our leadership. It is clear that Moscow won’t ignore this kind of statement,” he said.
The senator recalled that the new edition of the Russian Constitution does not provide for the dispossession of Russian territories to other countries.
According to him, this sort of statement by the prime minister is due to the fact that he had said this in front of his deputies before taking office. “Most likely, this is a demonstrative performance to show the inviolability of the theory that the Japanese have been adhering to for many years. For us, this dispute was closed back in 1945. We have repeatedly told them that we are ready to conclude a peace treaty without any discussion of territorial claims,” Dzhabarov concluded.
Japan has a new prime minister. On 29 September, Fumio Kishida won the race for the leadership of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and on 4 October he was sworn in by the Diet as the country’s 100th prime minister (64th individual). But what sort of leader will he be? And will he be able to prevent a return to Japan’s revolving door premiership of the late 2000s?