The 3rd Meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "Expansion of China and Japan's Response" Held

The 3rd Meeting of the Policy Council of JFIR on "Expansion of China and Japan's Response" was held on September 7 under the chairmanship of President ITO Kenichi and was attended by 26 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," commented on the "Intermediate Draft" of the recommendations which he submitted to the Council as follows:

1) This "Intermediate Draft" is based upon the recognition: "With diversified policymaking procedures, China takes various external behaviors in complicated political games." It is certain that China is presenting many behavioral problems, but we should not regard those as resulting from coherent strategies.

2) Japan and China are in different stages of development as a state. While China is a modern state that sticks to sovereignty, Japan is a post-modern state that includes more universal ideas of the human rights protection as well as of freedom and democracy in the national interests. Japan needs to deal with "expansion of China" not by herself but with allies, when the identity as a post-modern state will play a significant role.

3) The main points of the recommendations in the "Intermediate Draft" can be divided into the political/diplomatic area and the economic/social area, comprising the four elements which are essential to deal with China: "cooperation," "persuasion," "risk hedge," and "handling of problems deriving from risk hedge." Now that there is no option of "containment," the one and only basic to deal with China is "engagement," which pursues "cooperation" with China but concurrently includes efforts for "persuasion" to win China's agreement on Japan's claim as much as possible. In case neither "cooperation" nor "persuasion" works, "risk hedge" is necessary. However, taking measures of "risk hedge" can cause such a side-effect as the "security dilemma," the handling of which is also necessary.

Then, Chairman ITO Kenichi commented on the "Intermediate Draft" as follows:

1) Throughout the whole part, the keynote ideas basically do not contradict the main points of the previous discussions in the Policy Council. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to examine whether the words and expressions to describe the points are appropriate.

2) In the last paragraph of "Introduction," the word "engagement" is given a great significance and almost regarded as the conclusion of the whole part. However, since its definition appears too simple, the whole part might be regarded as shallow or insignificant. Though acceptable as one dissertation, our recommendations might lose the meaning of being published in this time, place and occasion. "Engagement" being placed as the opposite concept of "containment" as well as defined almost in the same way as "persuasion," the scope of our recommendations might be narrowed. We should not start a discussion from interpreting "engagement" as the opposite concept of "containment." Being also one form of power struggles, "engagement" should include not only "persuasion" to claim justice but also "inducing by profit" or "threatening by power" in accordance with the counterparts and the situations. Otherwise, a meticulous and inclusive attitude would be lost which the recommendations on foreign policies of one country should have. Depending on the situation, "engagement" should not exclude a possibility of partly overlapping with "containment." If we consider only "persuasion" when formulating our "engagement" strategies for China, there arises a question of whether they function. In the process of discussing the South China Sea issue in the ASEAN Regional Forum, unbinding "action declarations" or "guidelines" have been achieved through "persuasion" while binding "standards" have never been achieved yet. As a result of the U.S. "engagement," China finally started to show a sign to seriously address the issue. Presenting specific ways of "engagement" would enrich the substance of the recommendations.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)