Japan - China

Chronology from May 2021 to Aug 2021

: In a potential flashpoint for the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute, Japanese fishing boats operating in the surrounding waters may face enforcement actions under China’s new Maritime Traffic Safety Law imposing fines on foreign-flagged vessels for sailing in waters it claims as its own.

: The first-ever Taiwan-Japan security talks take place, largely focusing on Taiwanese chip makers’ potential investment in Japan.

: In the third consecutive day of Chinese drone sightings, the ASDF scrambles planes after three Chinese military aircraft, one of them an TB-001 unmanned aerial vehicle, enter airspace between the main island of Okinawa and Miyakojima.

: Japan participates in the annual Malabar naval exercise alongside Australia, India, and the US, with Global Times denigrating the operation.

: Yomiuri editorializes that China’s buildup of silos, reportedly for the Dongfeng-41 intercontinental missile that would pose a major threat to the United States, goes far beyond its claim to keep nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required.

: Referencing reports that security talks will be held between the LDP and the DPP, a spokesperson for the Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office admonishes Japan and Taiwan’s ruling party.

: Nikkei cites unnamed analysts who say that Japan’s plan to station anti-aircraft, anti-ship missiles, and hundreds of troops on Ishigaki island, 300 km from Taiwan, is aimed as much at defending Taiwan as Japan.

: Yomiuri editorializes that the Japanese government needs to rebuild the nation’s research system as soon as possible, since science labs are the new front line with a rising China.

: Japan’s defense ministry decides not to request funds in the fiscal 2022 budget for a sea-based missile defense system that would also have monitored Chinese naval ships’ advances into waters around Japan.

: Japanese exporter of a motor that converts electrical signals into movements of a machine is preventedfrom exporting to China over the products’ potential military purposes.

: Jiji reports that, at the request of the Japanese side, the LDP will hold online talks with Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party within the month, the equivalent of the 2-plus-2 security dialogues between governments.

: Japan’s defense ministry announces that it will seek a fiscal 2022 budget of more than ¥5.4 trillion ($49.3 billion) that could surpass the longstanding cap of 1%.

: In response to Chinese ships entering Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus and illegal fishing by Chinese and North Korean vessels, Japan reportedly intends to launch a new surveillance system that identifies suspicious ships by combining artificial intelligence and satellite technology.

: China’s Association of Performing Arts calls for a boycott of actor Zhang Zhehan after photos of him visiting Yasukuni Shrine in 2018 and 2019 circulated online.

: A second Cabinet member, Defense Minister Kishi, visits the Yasukuni Shrine, eliciting a solemn response from the Chinese government. A spokesperson for China’s defense ministry admonishes Japan to reflect truthfully on its history of aggression and objects to “a lot of negative acts” when dealing with China.

: Asahi takes Nishimura Yasutoshi, head of the central government’s effort against the pandemic, to task for ignoring his own advice by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine during the state of emergency.

: Prime Minister Suga tells Newsweek magazine that the government should not feel bound by the informal 1 % cap of GDP, reinforcing comments by Defense Minister Kishi in May.

: Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum, Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu voices Japan’s strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China seas by force.

: Japan’s surge in orders of Taiwan pineapples after China banned them results in improved sales, with a Taiwan Council on Agriculture official announcing that “the bleeding was stopped before it even began.”

: Global Times compares Japan’s military construction on the islands close to Taiwan to cannon fodder for the US to contain China’s rise.

: China’s embassy in Australia claims its ambassador “excoriated” his Japanese counterpart at a National Press Club event for downplaying imperial Japan’s wartime atrocities, but a spokesperson for the Japanese embassy denies that the incident took place.

: Defense Minister Kishi confirms plans to station an additional 500 to 600 missile defense personnel on Ishigaki, which is close to the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and 185 miles from Taiwan.

: New Zealand Herald reports that a video circulating on official CCP channels warns that if Japan so much as deploys one soldier, plane, or ship in defense of Taiwan China will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons.

: Center-right Yomiuri, noting signs of softening in the Chinese economy such as chip shortages, rising resource costs, a stronger yuan and the ongoing dispute with the US, predicts that a downtrend will likely have a significant negative impact on Japan.

: Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responds to the publication of Japan’s 2021 defense white paper by admonishing Japan to maintain basic respect for China’s internal affairs.

: On the fifth anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s judgment against China’s claims in the South China Sea, The Japan Times editorializes in favor of the ruling, calling it a “brick in the wall supporting the rules-based order” that must be supported.

: Asahi applauds defense ministry’s decision against replacing last year’s “strong national security concern” to “strong national security threat,” but criticizes the review for not specifying what should be done to build a peaceful, stable relationship with the PRC.

: Japan’s 2021 defense white paper is released, devoting three times as much coverage to China than to the United States in outlining the defense programs of various nations.

: Contributor to Jiefangjun Bao opines that Japanese politicians’ recent activity on the Taiwan question reflects Japan’s sense of helplessness at China rise, its sense of loss at its declining influence over the Taiwan question, and its sense of fear for its security when China achieves “full reunification.”

: A film shown on Chinese television urges that, if Japan intervenes militarily on the side of Taiwan, China should be exempted from its pledge of no-first-use of nuclear weapons

: Twenty-four memorial halls in 14 of China’s provincial-level regions commemorate the 84th anniversary of the full-scale Sino-Japanese War.

: Global Times responds to Aso’s statement by saying that if Japan involves itself militarily in the Taiwan question it will be “digging its own grave.”

: Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro states that if China were to invade Taiwan, the move could be interpreted as a threat to Japan’s survival, enabling the SDF to be deployed for collective self-defense under security laws enacted in 2015.

: Director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences says Tokyo is using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in order to increase its discourse power on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands issue and to contain China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

: Japan’s Defense Ministry announces plans to increase cybersecurity staff in response to increasingly sophisticated attacks.

: Japanese Communist Party is the sole major party in the Diet not to extend its congratulations to the Chinese Communist Party on the centenary of the latter’s founding in 1921.

: Financial Times reports that the US and Japan have been conducting war games and joint military exercises in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan.

: A ranking of 15 global cyberpowers by London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies places Japan in the bottom of the three tiers, below China and Russia.

: Chinese official Jing Duan, addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council, urges Japan to treat the issue of World War II-era sexual slavery in an honest and responsible manner.

: State Minister of Defense Nakayama Yasuhide says it was necessary for countries including Japan and the US to “wake up” to Beijing’s pressure on Taiwan and protect the island as a democratic country.

: Japan ratifies the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

: Two US analysts advocate that Japan respond to increasing Chinese assertiveness by disavowing pacifism and embracing collective defense.

: Chinese Coast Guard 2301 fleet conducts a patrol in the territorial waters off the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, the sixth time since the beginning of 2021 such patrols have been publicly announced.

: Speaking to the European Parliament’s security and defense subcommittee, DM Kishi expresses “serious concern” with China’s steady buildup of its military capacity and lack of clarity about its intentions.

: In an interview with Bloomberg, Kishi says explicitly that the security of Taiwan is directly connected to that of Japan, and that Tokyo is closely watching China-Taiwan ties as well as Chinese military activity.

: Draft of the Japanese defense military’s 2021 white paper states, for the first time, the strategic importance of Taiwan for Japan’s national security and the stabilization of the international community.

: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences expert accuses Japan of making a “wild bet on the Taiwan card.” He predicts that such actions as sending vaccine to Taiwan and expressing concern about the Taiwan Strait situation in a two plus two meeting with Australia would send China-Japan relations “back to the freezing point.”

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu says there has been no change in Japan’s basic policy to maintain working relations with Taiwan at the nongovernment level.

: China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office objects to “the latest moves by multiple Japanese government officials who have openly referred to Taiwan as ‘a country.”

: Joint opinion poll by Yomiuri and South Korea’s Hankook Ilbo finds that 88% of Japanese and 72% of South Korean respondents think that the military pressure that China is putting on its neighbors is a threat to their countries.

: Tokyo University Professor Sahashi Ryo urges the Japanese government to end its policy of excessive self-imposed restraints on official interactions with Taiwan for fear of offending Beijing.

: Reports say Japan’s education ministry will ask 14 universities that host Confucius Institutes to provide information on matters like funding, number of participating students, and whether the CI intervenes in research.

: LDP’s Foreign Affairs Division proposes third update to US-Japan defense guidelines including Japanese participation in freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea and a focus on contingencies during a conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

: Japanese Coast Guard confirms presence of four China Coast Guard vessels in the contiguous zone off the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and that they mark a record 112 consecutive days of such intrusions.

: Japan’s first shipment of 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrives in Taiwan, sent via the unofficial Taiwan-Japan Relations Association to avoid charges of violating Beijing’s one China policy.

: Suga, speaking at the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, urges the 18 nations to unite against authoritarianism and in favor of freedom navigation in the high seas and respect for international law.

: Director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences characterizes an LDP-proposed growth strategy linking economic policies and business activities directly to national security as a revival of fukoku kyōhei, the Meiji-era’s call to “enrich the country and strengthen the military.”

: In response to repeated advances of China’s carrier fleet into the Pacific Ocean, it is reported that Japan’s defense ministry will deploy the Air Self-Defense Force’s mobile radar unit to the Ogasawara Islands to watch for violations of Japanese air space.

: Japanese and EU leaders release a joint statement that “underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and calls for “enhanced cooperation for a free and open Pacific.”

: Specifically referencing China’s increased capabilities as well as new areas of warfare such as space, cyber, and electromagnetics, Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo signals the end of Japan’s self-imposed 1% GDP cap for annual defense spending.

: Yomiuri reports that, with China in mind, Japan will strengthen regulations to prevent the outflow of military-related technology.

: China denies any connection between its flotilla passing through the Miyako Strait and the joint Japanese, US, French, and Australian exercises that had concluded the day before.

: For the first time, the Japanese government publicly identifies China as responsible for a cyberattack.

: Annual report of the Japanese Coast Guard reveals that the number of large-sized Chinese Coast Guard vessels has more than tripled over the past eight years.

: ARC21—large-scale joint military maneuvers among Japan, the US, and France—take place for the first time on Japanese soil.

: Yomiuri covers a ceremony to commemorate the centennial of the start of a dam and irrigation project in southern Taiwan led by an engineer from Kanazawa.

: China’s leading military newspaper says that Japan is moving yet further from the defense-only stipulation in its constitution.

: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin describes moves by Japan and the United States to make supply chains less reliant on the PRC violations of the principles of fair competition.

: A retired GSDF officer urges Japan to develop a deterrent credible enough to convince China that armed clashes over Taiwan would be unproductive and irrational.

: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggests a new concept of integrated deterrence that calls for Japan to assume a role in the numerous chokepoints of the Nansei Islands group.

: A report says leading Japanese infrastructure companies such and NTT and Kyushu Electric Power are replacing Chinese-made drones due to concerns with security.

: Documents obtained by Kyodo from the US National Archives reveal the Fukuda administration in April 1978 asked then-US President Jimmy Carter’s government to amend its position of neutrality over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands but was rebuffed.

: Japanese government lodges diplomatic protest against the presence of a Chinese marine research vessel conducting unauthorized research within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the first confirmed incursion around the Okinawa area since July 2019.

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