Japan - China

Chronology from May 2022 to Aug 2022

: Global Times mourns the death of business management expert Kazuo Inamori for his contributions to development of bilateral trade and Sino-Japanese friendship.

: Chinese ambassador to Tokyo Kong Xuanyou urges prudence on Japan’s part, warning that bilateral relations are at a new crossroads and face a fresh round of conflicts.

: According to Nikkei, Sino-Japanese financial cooperation may have hit its high water mark 10 years ago, with a proposed agreement on cross-ownership of each other’s bonds having fallen into abeyance.

: Global Times criticizes Japan for its failure to acknowledge forced labor abuses during World War II.

: Mindful of China’s growing influence over Sri Lanka, Japan, its second-largest creditor, seeks to organize a conference to resolve Sri Lanka’s debt crisis.

: PM Kishida, speaking at the triennial Tokyo International Conference on African Development, pledges $30 billion in investments in human resources, mainly in the agricultural and health sectors

: Asahi reports that more Japanese companies, concerned with COVID-induced supply chain disruptions, higher wages in China, and issues of quality control, are moving facilities back to Japan or, in some cases, to Vietnam.

: After a nearly two and a half year ban, China will allow foreign nationals, including Japanese, to apply for visas to study in the PRC.

: Jiji reports meeting between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and a supra-partisan group of Diet members who favor stronger Taipei-Tokyo relations. Delegation head Keiji Furuya terms Chinese intimidation of Taiwan “absolutely unacceptable.”

: To stem the exodus of domestic firms from defense-related production, Japan’s Defense Ministry will seek a special budget to dissuade them from doing so.

: In what appears to be an attempt to soften relations ahead of the September commemoration of the 50th anniversary of mutual diplomatic recognition, an article in China Daily describes the 30-year friendship between the Tsukamoto family of Osaka and Xi Jinping.

: Mindful of Chinese and Russian advances in hypersonic missile technology, Japan’s budget requests for fiscal 2023 will include funds to strengthen Japan’s capability for detection and interception.

: Japan’s Defense Ministry announces plans to equip MSDF vessels engaged in long-term voyages with the system offered by SpaceX to boost telecommunications capabilities and resolve the issue of manpower shortages in the MSDF.

: Chinese military experts respond that there is no connection between Tokyo’s decision to deploy more and longer-range missiles and Chinese actions; the true motivation is to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution and enhance its military power.

: With a Taiwan contingency in mind and mindful of the missile gap with China, the Japanese government announces plans to station more than 1,000 long-range missiles, most of them from Kyoto to the Nansei Island chain.

: Chinese state councilor Yang Jiechi and head of Japan’s national security secretariat Akiba hold talks on the security implications of China’s recent activities in areas surrounding Taiwan
Aug. 19, 2022: In a telephone conversation with Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, FM Hayashi expresses Tokyo’s concerns about the security pact that the Solomons concluded with China in April.

: Four Chinese Coast Guard vessels enter Japanese territorial waters near the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

: Nikkei reports a rise in anti-Japanese sentiments in China, resulting in the cancellation of events and removal of paintings that public opinion regard as “too Japanese.”

: On the eve of the anniversary of Japan’s surrender after World War II, Zhong Sheng “Voice of the Central [Party]” a pseudonym for a highly authoritative entity, issues a litany of complaints against Japan including its most recent criticisms of China’s legitimate countermeasures in the Taiwan Strait.

: Reacting to Nishimura’s visit and the 77th anniversary of Japan’s surrender after World War II, Global Times observes that more countries are becoming concerned that Japan may return to militarism. It does not mention any specific countries.

: About 150 children and parents attend the showing of a dinosaur-themed film at the Japanese embassy in Beijing, with a paleontologist explaining that Japan and China were contiguous at the time the dinosaurs lived.

: China’s Foreign Ministry issued stern representations to Japan over its ministers’ behavior in visiting the Yasukuni Shrine.

: In the 17th such intrusion so far this year, two Chinese Coast Guard ships enter Japanese waters around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

: Economics Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi visits Yasukuni Shrine, the first member of Kishida’s Cabinet to do so.

: Japanese logistics company SBS Holdings calculates that buying electric vans assembled in China will lower its operating costs by 30% over gasoline-powered vehicles.

: Huang Xingyuan, representative director of the Japan-China Friendship Center, advises Japan to rectify its mindset of relying on China for its economy and the US for security and to drop its emphasis on the US-Japan alliance.

: Newly appointed Defense Minister Hamada Yasukaza expresses concern about China’s military exercises near Taiwan and pledges to increase the defense of Japan’s southwestern islands.

: In response to Japan signing a G7 letter of protest against Chinese actions against Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cancels meeting with counterpart Hayashi that was to be held on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting.

: Japan’s government protests after five Chinese missiles shot in retaliation against Taiwan hosting US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi land in Japan’s EEZ.

: Speaking at CSIS, Foreign Minister Hayashi emphasizes China’s behavior in the Indo-Pacific, saying the “logic of brute force” was gaining traction over the rule of law.

: Global Times denounces the cross-party visit of Japanese lawmakers to Taiwan as nonsensical actions by politicians seeking Instagram-worthy publicity.

: At least seven Chinese cities cancel annual Japan-themed Matsuri festivals after some incidents, including a woman who enshrined Japanese war criminals at a Nanjing temple and, separately, unspecified comments by others that were made during the public debate over former Japanese prime minister Abe.

: Stating that Japan must be able to deal with the drastically changing security environment, LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi urges that defense spending increase from 5.4 trillion yen in fiscal year 2022 to the mid-6 trillion range in 2023.

: Xinhua responds to the white paper by describing it as showing a total disregard for facts and full of bias.

: Defense of Japan 2022 takes note of China’s ramping up civil-military fusion, its “relentlessly continuing unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion near the Senkaku Islands, and the creation of faits accomplis in the South China Sea” and highlights the need for deterrence.

: A Chinese navy ship sails through Japanese territorial waters, the sixth such intrusion of the year and the first since April.

: Draft basic guidelines indicate that Japan is to invest heavily in high-tech areas that involve the nation’s security.

: Taiwan’s China-leaning opposition party the KMT’s decision to lower the flag at its Taipei headquarters to half-staff in honor of former PM Abe draws criticism from the party’s more assertively pro-China faction.

: US satellite operator Planet Labs releases photographs from base in Xinjiang showing a mockup of a Japanese SDF aircraft destroyed, apparently from a missile.

: China’s foreign ministry lodges “stern representations” with the Japanese government over Taiwanese vice-president William Lai’s attending Abe’s funeral.

: According to a Japan expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Japan saw in the NATO summit an opportunity to join with the US and some European countries to encircle China, possibly intervene militarily in the Taiwan question, and consolidate the Japan-US alliance thus increasing US military presence in the region.

: Taiwan Vice President William Lai becomes the most senior official to visit Japan since Tokyo broke relations in 1972 to recognize the PRC.

: Japanese government lodges a diplomatic protest after two Chinese Coast Guard ships stayed continuously in the territorial waters around the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands for 64 hours and 17 minutes from July 5-7, the longest single intrusion since 2012.

: Global Times describes late former Prime Minister Abe as a controversial figure who ruined his contribution to bilateral ties by visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, “denying” Japan’s invasion history, and declaring that a Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency.

: Japanese defense ministry official expresses “serious concern” about the numbers of Chinese and Russian warships circumnavigating Japan, with speculation centering on their checking SDF surveillance capabilities and tracking systems, with information being shared between the two countries.

: Veteran Japanese political analyst Yoichi Funabashi argues that Japan and China look as if they are being pulled back to the starting point of normalization 50 years ago, with both lacking domestic support for better relations.

: Japanese government lodges protest to Beijing through diplomatic channels about the passage of a Chinese frigate through the contiguous zone around the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the fourth such instance since June 2018.

: Aiming to bolster Japan’s ability to defend the Nansei Islands from Chinese expansionist activities, the defense ministry contracts for the delivery of 12 next-generation offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from fiscal year 2023.

: In response to Kishida’s efforts to broaden NATO’s concerns to the Indo-Pacific, Global Times cites Mencius saying that a gentleman [NATO] should not stand under a dangerous wall, and that the sewage of the Cold War should not be allowed to flow into the Pacific Ocean.

: At G7 press conference, Kishida says he wants to hold summit talks with Xi Jinping; although there are no plans for a summit, it’s important to keep dialogue at various levels.

: Speaking at the G7 summit in Germany, Kishida takes the unusual step of criticizing China by name, saying “The G7 countries need to present measures to deal with China’s unfair and opaque financing for development projects.”

: Global Times reports first successful voyage of the “golden channel” Qingdao-Osaka fast logistics route since the RCEP trade agreement came into effect on January 1.

: Japan Coast Guard confirms that two China Coast Guard vessels intruded into Japanese territorial waters off the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and stayed for 64 hours, repeatedly attempting to approach a Japanese fishing boat.

: Citing the launch of the PRC’s third aircraft carrier and the joint Chinese-Russian circumvention of Japan’s home islands, Asahi, normally accommodative to Chinese government positions, editorializes that China’s “reckless military buildup is needlessly stoking tensions.”

: Chinese luxury market analyst Jing Daily attributes Japanese fast fashion behemoth Uniqlo’s exceptional success despite the pandemic partly to its refusal to comment on political matters such as sourcing of cotton from Xinjiang, which has hurt several of its rivals.

: Having confirmed Chinese construction work suspected to be for gas field exploration in contested waters, the Japanese government lodges a protest over this and repeated intrusions by Japanese ships into waters around the contested Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

: Japan’s defense ministry reports that two Chinese navy vessels, one of which is a destroyer, are spotted navigating through the Tsugaru Strait toward the Pacific with seven Russian navy vessels, including a destroyer and an intelligence-gathering ship, and may be conducting joint training exercises when the Chinese vessels are deployed in the Pacific.

: On the sidelines of the SLD and marking the first meeting between Chinese and Japanese defense ministers since 2019, Kishi raises “serious concerns” over the continuation of joint Sino-Russian military exercises around Japan to counterpart Wei Fenghe.

: Head of Yomiuri’s international news department argues that, faced with China’s militaristic rise and North Korea’s missile development, the Japanese public has given up its utopian dream and now supports strong defense spending.

: Responding to Kishida’s speech, former vice-president of the PLA’s Academy of Military Science states “on the so-called issue of unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East China Sea, it was Japan who firstly and illegally ‘nationalize’ [sic] the Diaoyu Islands and other relevant island [sic] around the region.”

: Speaking at the SLD, Japanese DM Kishi says that joint military operations by Russia and China are upending international norms and that Japan is on the front lines of the increased tensions.

: In a keynote speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), Kishida says that Ukraine could be tomorrow’s East Asia, chiding China for not complying with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and stating that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in violation of international law are continuing.

: Elaborating on the Yang-Akiba telephone call, Global Times asserts that “Japan needs a head blow to wake up.”

: In a telephone conversation with Japanese national security chief Akiba Takeo, his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi states that old problems in bilateral relations are intertwined with new ones and that challenges cannot be ignored.

: Japan’s defense ministry is studying the war in Ukraine to prepare a response to an invasion by an unnamed power and decide what equipment and what an enhanced budget should focus on.

: Japanese government establishes 30-member team to designate by year’s end the use of land plots viewed as important for national security, such as remote islands and areas near Self-Defense Forces bases.

: Jiji describes mood ahead of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japanese relations as far from festive, as persistent tensions mean it will be difficult to hold large-scale government-sponsored events, leaving the private sector to play the major role.

: Japan’s Foreign Ministry protests presence of Chinese ships apparently releasing observation equipment in Japan’s EEZ about 73 km north of Ishigaki Island.

: In response to strong concerns from the LDP, Japan’s government revises a draft document with a timeline of five years for comprehensive strengthening of Japan’s defense.

: Nikkei assesses that Japan’s economic strength in Southeast Asia has declined relative to that of China, which does three times more trade with ASEAN countries even though Japan leads in accumulated investment.

: Chinese media describe reports that Izumo will participate in RIMPAC exercise and Indo-Pacific Deployment as further examples of Japan’s violation of its pacifist constitution.

: Japan announces plans to develop drones to support fighter aircraft, and is considering equipping drones with missiles that would intercept enemy-launched missiles. To be developed with the US to ensure interoperability, the drones will be equipped with artificial intelligence.

: Japanese companies are cautiously resuming operations in Shanghai, though concerned about another extended lockdown and pessimism over how soon the Chinese economy will recover.

: Japan’s Defense Ministry announces that its de facto aircraft carrier Izumo will make 12 ports of call that include four South Pacific states as well as fellow Quad members.

: Japan’s foreign ministry creates internal strategy group tasked with monitoring Chinese activities.

: Komeito representative states that Japan should discuss possessing the ability to strike enemy bases that are preparing an attack.

: Nikkei opinion poll finds the approval rating for Kishida’s Cabinet reached the highest level since it was sworn in after Kishida and Biden affirmed the need to strengthen deterrence “with China in mind.”

: Chinese military source reportedly tells Yomiuri that drills by aircraft carrier Liaoning off Japan from 3-20 May near Okinawa were to establish the capability for around-the-clock attacks on Taiwan.

: Global Times editorializes that the Quad is an insidious effort to contain China.

: Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden confirm their commitment to oppose China’s and Russia’s expanding military activities in East Asia.

: DM Kishi describes Beijing and Moscow’s sending warplanes near Japan’s airspace during the meeting of the Quad “provocative,” with China responding that they were part of an annual military exercise.

: Quad members Australia, India, Japan, and the US announce a satellite-based plan to help Indo-Pacific countries track illegal fishing and unconventional maritime militias.

: Reuters reports that Japan is asking its universities for greater scrutiny of foreign students and scholars to prevent technology leaks to places like China.

: A Japanese academic urges caution on Taiwanese lobbies in Japan who call for a version of the Taiwan Relations Act, which he worries will give China a pretext for aggression.

: Satellite photos indicating a dummy Japanese E-767 surveillance aircraft that could be used for training to attack with missiles are detected in the Xinjiang desert.

: In a videoconference with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, FM Hayashi states that Japanese public opinion is very critical of China, and expresses deep concern about Chinese activity in the East China and South China seas, Hong Kong, in Xinjiang, and in the Taiwan Strait. Xinhua omits Hayashi’s words.

: Former Pentagon official Elbridge Colby terms the Kishida administration’s plan to move toward spending 2% of GDP on defense as too late to meet the threat.

: Yomiuri reports Japanese and UK governments are coordinating in development of a successor to the ASDF’s F-2 fighter jet, with Lockheed Martin to participate in a limited role.

: Yomiuri reports that China will soon unveil its third aircraft carrier which, despite rumors to the contrary, may not be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult system since the required amount of electricity is not currently available.

: Spurred by concerns over China and Russia, Japan passes a law strengthening supply chains to procure semiconductors and other vital products and facilitate development of artificial intelligence and other cutting edge technologies through public-private partnerships.

: Responding to an LDP party member’s criticism of Chinese air force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson states that “there is no reason for Japanese individuals to force themselves into the spotlight.”

: China’s leading military newspaper describes Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Asian and European countries from April 29 to May 6 through the guise of a free and open Indo-Pacific as having strategic intentions of gathering support for the revision of Japan’s constitution.

: Foreign Minister Hayashi visits Fiji and Palau to discuss concerns over Chinese expansionism in the South Pacific in the wake of Beijing’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands.

: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, meeting with Japanese counterpart Kishi Nobuo, reiterates the US commitment to defend the contested Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

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