The 1st Meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "Expansion of China and Japan's Response" was held

The 1st Meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "Expansion of China and Japan's Response" was held on February 28 under the chairmanship of President ITO Kenichi and was attended by 34 members of the Policy Council.

Prof. TAKAGI Seiichiro, who was appointed Head of the Task Force of the Policy Council on the topic of "Expansion of China and Japan's Response," introduced a "Concept Paper" which he drafted for the Council and stated as follows;

As China, in recent years, have conspicuously increased its presence in the global context, it is no longer possible for Japan to deal with it alone and therefore is essential that she work together with like-minded countries, with whom she shares common values and interests. However, this does not mean formation of an international coalition against China. Although some analyses and commentaries on China are based on a particular scenario as if the future prospect of China is easy to predict, it actually is so uncertain that we need to be flexible enough to cope with any possible scenarios. On the other hand, there has already been constructed a close economic interdependence between Japan and China, and braking off the relations with China is no longer an option. "Engagement" and "hedging" are the fundamental approaches in dealing with China. In this regard, "engagement" does not only imply building a friendly relationship with China but preparing for persuasion and arguments if necessary. At the same time, Japan should be prepared for the "China risks" not only in economic aspects but political and security aspects. For that purpose, she must be possessed with defense capability at a certain level and solidly preserve the Japan-US alliance. However, as excessive risk countermeasures might concurrently cause security dilemma, an unnecessary arms race should be avoided. With regard to domestic situations within China, it does not cling together at a hard-line position against Japan. Within China, there is a debate whether China should continue or discontinue its "keep-a-low-profile" position, and what is the merit and demerit in each direction. We should dispassionately observe the development of such political tug of war within China.

Then, supplemental remarks were made by Chairman ITO Kenichi to the following effect.

JFIR announced in 2006 the 28th policy recommendations on "Japan and China in the Changing Asia" (by the Task Force headed by KOJIMA Tomoyuki, Professor of Keio University). The Japan-China relations, in those days, were under considerable strain over the question of then Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's visits to Yasukuni Shrine and the summit-level meetings were frozen. The 28th policy recommendations, with grave concern about the situation, urged the newly incumbent Prime Minister ABE Shinzo rapidly to resume leaders' visits and agree on the holding of summit meetings on a regular basis and to affirm a wide range of common interests between the two countries. It was the Senkaku boat collision incident of September 2010 that motivated JFIR to work again on the Japan-China related policy recommendations after less than five years since the 28th policy recommendations. After the incident, China took intimidatory measures against Japan and the Japanese government helplessly submitted to the China's requests. The incident was a tremendous shock to the Japanese. The articles posted on the BBS of JFIR after the incident shows that the articles written to the effect that China had revealed its mask as a hegemonic state outnumbered those to the effect that the mutually beneficial relations with China should be maintained with the ration of 2 to 1. JFIR organized a meeting of the Emergency Policy Council with its enlarged membership and conducted an exchange of views on the incident, and as a conclusion it was decided that the issued should be squarely address at the Policy Council. Therefore, deliberations on the 35th policy recommendations cannot merely be the extension of those on the 28th policy recommendations, as if the Senkaku boat collision incident had not occurred at all. The deep analyses on the nature of the incident should be the starting point of the deliberations.

In response to the above presentation, members of the Council present joined in an active exchange of views on the topic.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)