Ten­sions with Bei­jing rooted in Tokyo’s pol­i­tics

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

The strained Chi­naJa­pan re­la­tion­ship is the most telling wit­ness to how Ja­pan’s diplo­matic poli­cies have been held hostage by its do­mes­tic pol­i­tics.

Bi­lat­eral re­la­tions have taken a dive since the Ja­panese govern­ment’s na­tion­al­iza­tion of China’s Diaoyu Is­lands in Septem­ber. And frayed diplo­matic re­la­tions have harmed the Ja­panese pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of China, and vice versa, as shown by a joint poll by Ja­pan’s Gen­ron NPO and China Daily from June through July this year. found ex­pres­sion in a Ja­panese De­fense Min­istry in­terim re­port out­lin­ing the coun­try’s new de­fense pro­gram. It ex­ag­ger­ates China’s mil­i­tary strength and ques­tions its le­git­i­mate claims over the Diaoyu Is­lands, thus re­in­forc­ing the un­fa­vor­able view the Ja­panese pub­lic has of China.

Be­fore Ja­pan’s up­per house elec­tion on July 21, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe vis­ited the is­lands of Ishi­gaki and nearby Miyako, some 300 km south of Ok­i­nawa, vow­ing that he would “never make con­ces­sions” over the dis­puted islets. While send­ing a tough mes­sage to China, he was also try­ing to score points in the court of pub­lic opin­ion.

Politi­cians can­not ig­nore pub­lic opin­ion no mat­ter what coun­try they come from.

Nine young mem­bers of par­lia­ment from Ja­pan’s rul­ing and op­po­si­tion par­ties, in­clud­ing the LDP, New Komeito Party, Ja­pan Restora­tion Party and Your Party, will start a four-day visit to China on Sun­day, Ja­pan’s Kyodo News Agency re­ported. They are ex­pected to meet with Chi­nese young peo­ple in Bei­jing and Tian­jin.

A Reuters poll of up­per man­age­ment at 400 Ja­panese com­pa­nies showed in July that bet­ter re­la­tions with China and South Korea were at top pri­or­i­ties for the Ja­panese busi­ness com­mu­nity. Con­tact the writer at cai­hong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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