Japan - China

Chronology from Jan 2022 to May 2022

: Japan protests the presence of a Chinese ship in its territorial waters.

: At a seminar hosted by the Japan-China Investment Promotion Organization to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations, the Chinese ambassador to Tokyo describes relations as at a crossroads, listing three main areas where Japan needed to improve, and points out that Sino-Japanese trade volume is about the same as that with the US and EU combined.

: Professor at Japan’s Chuo University warns that Japan’s support for the US position on Ukraine could backfire against its economy. 

: Asahi editorializes against the proposal to allow a counterattack capability on grounds that it could endanger Japan’s security should a mistake be made in judging an enemy’s intentions. 

: Commander of the US 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, speaking to US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Foreign Minister Hayashi aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, links Russian aggression in Ukraine with Chinese expansion in the Pacific region. 

: A multiparty group of 103 Diet members including ministers visit the Yasukuni Shrine on its spring festival, resuming a practice interrupted by the pandemic. 

: In response to the publication of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Blue Book, Da Zhigang of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences opines that the reason Japan had not reacted as strongly against China as against Russia was not only because of the upcoming 50th anniversary of normalization but because there “would be no diplomatic wiggle room for Japan if it defines both of its nuclear-armed neighbors as enemies at the same time.” 

: Granted a waiver from Taiwan’s inbound visa quarantine requirement, an 11-person delegation from the LDP’s youth division is to visit Taiwan May 3-7 to pay respects at former President Lee Teng-hui’s grave and meet high-ranking Taiwan officials.

: In an address to the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, Abe warns that Japan will become a laughing stock if it doesn’t raise its defense budget in line with NATO countries’ 2% of GDP. 

: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Kishida begin talks on a “seamless” sharing of classified information; The New York Times interprets this as a move toward including Japan in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing partnership. 

: LDP Research Commission on Security recommends use of the term “counterattack capability” to allow the SDF to strike an enemy base should it be believed to be preparing for a missile attack against Japan. 

: Global Times reports that a well-known Japanese lawyer has organized a grassroots “emergency rally” to persuade his government to return Chinese relics stolen during World War II. 

: China has an unusually low-key reaction to Kishida’s offering to the Yasukuni Shrine. 

: Reacting to a sharp slowdown in exports to China, rising energy prices, and the conflict in Ukraine, Japan’s March trade deficit amounts to more than four times that of market forecasts, though the economy is predicted to grow to an annualized 4.9% in the current quarter.

: Japanese energy group JERA is exploring expanding business operations to include China, with one scenario being that LNG stocks in the PRC be diverted to Japan to meet a shortfall. JERIA is also engaged in building facilities in Vietnam. 

: Japan expresses concern about interdiction of its seabed cables, most of which are concentrated in two landing stations, in time of conflict with China. 

: Australian sources reveal that China has built a new long-range early warning radar that can be used to detect ballistic missiles from thousands of miles away, likely giving it coverage of all of Japan.

: Yomiuri editorializes on the need for Japan and the US to work together to help coastal states improve their capabilities against China’s aggressive expansion into the South China Sea. 

: Abe states that Xi must not doubt Japan’s resolve concerning Taiwan, nor its intention to defend the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands and urges the United States to abandon its policy of strategic ambiguity and make clear that it will defend Taiwan against any attempted Chinese invasion. 

: MSDF patrol aircraft monitors the passage of a Chinese Dongdiao-class reconnaissance ship that passed through the Tsushima Strait though without entering Japanese territorial waters.

: Draft of the National Defense Program Guidelines under preparation by an LDP commission calls for changing the description of China from “serious security concern” to “a threat to Japan’s security” and increasing defense spending to 2% or more of GDP from its current 0.957%. 

: Two Chinese academics urge the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the illegality of Japan’s planned dumping of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. 

: US naval expert opines that Japan cannot outpace Chinese naval construction, recommending that it harness the latest technologies to increase the capabilities of its existing platforms.

: 2+2 meeting between Japan and the Philippines agrees to formal discussions on a defense pact that will allow reciprocal visits by their troops for training and to increase interoperability in equipment.

: Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo announces that discussions will proceed on acquiring the capability to attack enemy bases. 

: Chinese companies have displaced their Japanese counterparts in producing automotive battery materials, which account for about a third of the price of EVs and are a major factor in whether an EV can compete on the world market.

: Japan’s ambassador to Australia warns Canberra against overreliance on Chinese trade.

: Air Self-Defense Force says it will upgrade its irregular mobile radar unit on Yonaguni to permanent in response to increasing Chinese activities in the area. 

: Japan ends official development assistance to China after 40 years. 

: Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesperson reiterates that Taiwan is China’s internal affair that Japan must stay out of. 

: Investigation division of the Japanese defense ministry establishes global strategy intelligence officer position in response to the Chinese military’s introduction of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence.

: Japan’s defense ministry says the disparity—in which Japan’s Coast Guard had 69 patrol vessels of 1,000 tons or larger as of the end of fiscal 2020, compared to China’s 131 of comparable size at the end of calendar 2020—is likely to widen. 

: Global Times responds to Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa’s statement that Japan would help African countries escape China’s debt trap, calling it an absurd, futile attempt to slander Chinese-Africa cooperation.

: Xinhua reports the opening of an exhibition on China’s terra cotta warriors at a museum in Kyoto, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations.

: Yomiuri complains that Chinese fishing vessels continue to appear in the South China Sea off the Philippines. 

: Japan’s Diet passes an expanded defense budget aimed at strengthening the alliance with the US, including up to $164 million for advanced virtual combat training systems for joint exercises.

: Responding to Abe’s video call to Tsai, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office criticizes “certain people” for making malicious remarks.

: Director of Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences accuses Japan of using the Ukraine crisis to push further against the constraints of its pacifist constitution. 

: Japan commissions its first new Mogami-class multirole frigate, designed to help defend the southwestern Nansei islands against Chinese expansionism.

: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Abe hold a half-hour videoconference as part of an annual meeting of the 270-member Japan-Republic of China Diet Members’ Consultative Council. Abe reiterates support for Taiwan joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

: Japan analysts interpret Tokyo’s tougher response to the Ukraine invasion as likely to portend a stronger response to China should it follow Putin’s lead. 

: National security expert Takamizawa Nobushige advocates total security, including economic power, should be assembled in preparation for a deterrence by denial capability “against outrageous acts.”

: Japan’s Coast Guard’s Mobile Cooperation Team, now in its fifth year of guidance, has been dispatched to 14 countries to advise on tensions in the South China Sea and piracy. 

: Kishida pushes Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for a clearer response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

: Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accuses Japan of using the Russia-Ukraine conflict to further its militarist motives.

: Japanese amphibious rapid deployment brigade and Okinawa-based US marines hold first airborne landing and combat training exercise.

: Sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine reportedly give Japanese banks huge leverage over the Chinese economy. 

: Kyodo predicts China may take a softer approach to Japan to curb possible economic downturn as Xi Jinping is eager to secure a third term as leader, but that Tokyo is unlikely to reciprocate.

: Japan’s largest and second-largest circulation newspapers, the center-right Yomiuri and the center-left Asahi, editorialize against the PRC’s declaring respect for territorial integrity while not opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

: Japan Times faults China’s long military expansion for rising bilateral tensions. 

: Yomiuri editorializes that China cannot achieve stability while complicit with Russian aggression and its economic outlook is cloudy.

: Members of both the LDP and opposition parties call for a discussion on a nuclear-sharing arrangement with the US, with weapons to be stationed in Japan. 

: Concern with China’s increasing aggression is believed to be a decisive factor in the re-election of a pro-base and pro-Self Defense Forces mayor in Ishigaki, Okinawa.

: Nikkei poll shows that 77% percent of Japanese are concerned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will spill over into China using force against Taiwan.

: Chinese media interpret an Abe statement that Japan should consider a nuclear-weapons sharing agreement with the US in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine as unlocking the country’s militarism.

: Xinhua reports that, after a call by Abe to discuss nuclear sharing, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio informs the Diet that “it is unacceptable given our country’s stance of maintaining the three non-nuclear principles.”

: Japanese Press Research Institute survey shows that the proportion of Chinese who have a favorable view of Japan has plunged 13.4 percentage points to an all-time low of 26.3%. 

: Speaking on a morning television talk show, Abe says that it is time for the US to abandon strategic ambiguity about Taiwan and make clear that it would defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion.

: Japanese officials warn that the international community’s failure to hold Russia in check would send the wrong message to China. 

: After an investigation into the Japanese embassy’s complaint that one of its diplomats had been detained in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Chinese authorities announce that the Japanese claim is not acceptable. 

: Chinese media object to the Japanese ambassador to Canberra’s statement that his country is fully behind Australia on its allegation that a Chinese naval ship pointed a laser at its patrol aircraft.

: In response to concerns over leakage of classified information, the Japanese government seeks 100 billion yen ($8.7 million) for the fiscal year 2022 budget to buy technical documents from such companies. 

: China Daily emphasizes the supply chain difficulties Japanese firms will have if the government’s economic security bill becomes law.

: Media reports that a Japanese man in his 50s has been detained in Shanghai since December, though no charges are known to have been made against him.

: In a step toward diversifying Japan’s semiconductor supply chain, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, along with Sony and auto parts maker Denso, will increase its investment in TSMC’s first plant in Japan. 

: Quad foreign ministers meet in Melbourne a week after China and Russia declared a “no limits strategic partnership,” their most detailed and assertive statement to work together. 

: US and Japanese forces conduct exercise Noble Fusion involving the Aegis-equipped Kongo destroyer and a US aircraft carrier and amphibious assault ship. 

: Asahi criticizes the PRC policy of disappearing people and editorializes that China’s Olympic diplomacy risks creating rifts by not urging Vladimir Putin to refrain from reckless military action. 

: Taipei removes overall ban on products from the Fukushima area, though some items will remain excluded. 

: China becomes the largest importer of Japanese goods for the first time in 2021.

: With China and Russia making progress on the development of high-power microwave (HPM) weapons, Japan’s defense ministry will begin full-scale research and development on HPMs in the fiscal year that begins in April 2022.

: Japan’s Cabinet Office warns that the country’s import structure was “risky,” with 23% of the country’s imports in 2019 coming from China. 

: Japan expert at Shanghai’s Fudan University expresses concern that rightwing forces are slowly taking the initiative in Japan to provoke Sino-Japanese conflict. 

: Responding to Japan’s House of Representatives adopting a resolution of concern on China’s policies in Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and Hong Kong, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson states that Japan has no authority whatsoever to speak on the topic. 

: Tokyo Review speculates that Beijing’s recent fairly restrained attitude toward Japan reflects its assessment that Washington is the real instigator of heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait. 

: Japan reportedly considers deployment of US military drones at MSDF Kanoya base in Kagoshima. 

: Honda executive predicts that EV sales in China will make or break the company in the next five years. 

: In what Yomiuri says was aimed at countering China’s growing influence in Tonga, Japan dispatches relief supplies to the island kingdom where China accounts for about 60% of external debt. 

: China’s air force sends 39 warplanes toward Taiwan, the largest such intrusion since the record-setting 56 planes of Oct. 4, 2021. 

: Nikkei reports that Japan aims to become self-sufficient in quantum computing, with China seen as catching up, and in some areas surpassing the US. 

: Japan’s defense ministry announces that it scrambled fighter jets against possible airspace intrusions 785 times from April to December 2021, the highest for the same period over the last five years, with 571 or over 70%, being against Chinese aircraft.

: Japan’s ambassador to Poland describes Poles as finding promised China’s economic benefits less than they had expected and advocates that Japan strengthen relations with Poland.

: China’s foreign ministry accuses Japan and the United States of “baselessly smear[ing] and attack[ing] China and wantonly interfer[ing] in China’s domestic affairs” at their recent meeting as well as.

: Kishida tells Biden that he “intends to consider” possession of capabilities to attack enemy bases. 

: Chinese analysts interpret Biden’s virtual meeting with Kishida as a probe to test Tokyo’s loyalty to Washington rather than aimed at producing concrete results. 

: Former SDF Chief of Staff Oriki Ryochi, chair of a study group on policy proposals for the upcoming revision of the National Security Strategy, advocates enhancing Japan’s ability to act independently. 

: China becomes the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas in 2021, surpassing Japan.

: Kyodo reports that China is considering a face-to-face ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of relations with Japan and would invite “political and business leaders who have contributed to the development of relations.” 

: Chinese Coast Guard vessels patrol within the territorial waters of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands on Jan. 15 for the first time in 2022. 

: Former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo describes Taiwan as the biggest issue of 2022 and calls on the international community continue sending support to Taiwan. 

: Yang Yu, China’s charge d’affaires to Japan, describes Sino-Japanese ties like “a boat sailing against the current…we must forge ahead or it will be driven back.”

: Chinese company Huawei announces it will follow Tesla by selling large-scale battery systems for renewable energy storage in Japan, with both Chinese and US companies able to sell at prices far lower than Japanese producers.

: Mageshima Island is chosen as new training site for US carrier-based aircraft currently using Iwoto for landing practice. 

: Japanese defense industry reportedly contracts even as the threat from China and North Korea grows. 

: At a Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association meeting, Chairperson Ohashi Mitsuo calls for more chip tie-ups between the two; Taiwanese ambassador-equivalent Chiou I-jen thanks Japan for his country’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

: Yomiuri reports that since spring 2021, Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers have repeatedly sailed through waters outside the territorial waters of areas that China claims as its territorial waters. 

: Center-left Asahi editorializes that while Japan “may need enough defense to discourage China from taking actions that threaten the regional peace and security.”

: Observing the mismatch between Japanese and Chinese military strength, a Nikkei correspondent advocates giving the Self-Defense Forces the ability to strike back. 

: Chinese professor at Yokohama University interprets the Australia-Japan agreement and the US-Japan 2+2 meeting as Tokyo seeking to discard the shackles of its constitution by joining with the US to contain the PRC. 

: At the virtual 2+2 meeting of foreign affairs and defense ministers, the US and Japan agree to bring together their scientists and engineers to collaborate on emerging defense technologies, including ways to counter hypersonic missiles, increase shared use of facilities, and affirm their commitment to the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. 

: Beijing municipal government fines Japanese-owned 7-11 stores $23,500 for describing Taiwan as an independent country on its website. 

: Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson expresses strong dissatisfaction with the 2+2 agreement, with an academic describing it as motivated by rightwing politicians to justify changing Japan’s war-renouncing constitution.

: Australia and Japan sign a defense agreement to allow greater interoperability of military forces. 

: Taiwan’s foreign ministry declines to comment on reports that when, in February 2019, it proposed to the Japanese government that the two sides regularly exchange intelligence about the locations and activities of Chinese warplanes, it was turned down on grounds that the two have no formal diplomatic ties.

: While not referencing threats, an Asahi editorial expresses skepticism about the government’s plan to increase defense spending given worsening fiscal problems due to higher social security payments and anti-pandemic measures.

: Komeito leader Yamaguchi Natsuo advocates Japan create a permanent framework which would include the US, China, and the other countries of the Indo-Pacific region. 

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