The 2nd Meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "Expansion of China and Japan's Response" was held

The 2nd Meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "Expansion of China and Japan's Response" was held on May 23 under the chairmanship of President ITO Kenichi and was attended by 25 members of the Policy Council.

Mr. SEKI Hei, Visiting Professor at Institute of Japanese Identity established in Takushoku University, delivered the keynote speech on several issues of Chinese politics as follows.

From Mao's "Revolution" to Deng's "Reform and Openness"
After Mao's declaration of founding the People's Republic of China in 1949, China became the most radical among the socialist countries, consistently pursuing global-level revolutions without excluding the possibility of a nuclear war against the capitalist countries. This hard-line attitude of China made the distance larger between China and the Soviet Union as well as other Eastern European countries. After Mao's days, Deng Xiaoping renounced "Revolution" and adopted "Reform and Openness," enabling the country to realize a rapid economic growth and a steady military buildup.

A turning point of China, "Tiananmen"
Tiananmen in 1989, the most prominent paradigm shift in the contemporary history of China, revolutionized the ideology of the Communist regime and its surroundings. It was until the government used force without hesitation against students who longed for democratization that the public, regardless of intellectuals or civilians, supported "Communism." The Jiang Zemin administration, born in the wake of Tiananmen, had to replace "Communism" by a "new myth," namely, "nationalism" to sustain the regime.

From "Communism" to "Nationalism"
"Anti-Japan education" being carried out in China has its root in Tiananmen and the paradigm shift. The Communist regime, which has relied solely upon "nationalism" so as to ensure legitimacy since Tiananmen, is essentially in need of an external "enemy" to boost "nationalism." Simply, Japan as well as Taiwan is being chosen as an external "enemy." The current strategy of expanding the sea territory is expected to help absorb Taiwan and also secure routes for importing natural resources in the South China Sea. The Hu Jintao administration mostly comprises realists, who assume it impossible to take hold of the world hegemony instead of U.S. China wishes coexistence with U.S. rather than confrontation. The true thought may be: "Though U.S. may take control of Europe and the East Pacific, we must take control of Asia and the West Pacific."

Paradoxes within China
The strategy of China appears extremely difficult to carry out. First, U.S. military forces stationed in the East Asian region and the Japan-U.S. alliance are the greatest obstacles for the policy of expanding the control of sea. Second, there are such problems inside China as the distortion of the economic structure and the expansion of the wealth disparity. If the so-far high economic growth turned to a low growth, public frustration could explode immediately. As in Middle Eastern countries, China also observes such phenomena as inflation, corruption, prevalence of the Internet and increase of impoverished young people; a coup would not be a surprise in China as well.

Moves of the People's Liberation Army
The change of leadership scheduled in 2012 may destabilize China, who historically tends to lose stability around the timing of a change of leadership. It is possible for China to divert public attention from the instability to an external risk. If the People's Liberation Army, which cannot be controlled by law, were allowed to go out of control, Japan would face a huge risk. The best measure for Japan to cope with China is to restrain China from expanding the control of sea and equip itself with stronger self-consciousness as a "maritime country," as well as enhanced national defense and consolidated Japan-U.S. alliance.

In response to the above presentation by Prof. Seki, members of the Policy Council present joined in an active exchange of views on several topics. Finally, Prof. TAKAGI Seiichiro, Head of the Task Force of the Policy Council on this issue, added comments on the keynote speech by Prof. Seki and the discussions that followed in the Policy Council.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)