Japan - China

Chronology from Sep 2021 to Dec 2021

: Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department issues a warrant for the arrest of a Chinese citizen in connection with cyberattacks on Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency.

: Yomiuri reports that Japan is to establish an embassy in Kiribati and a consular office in Noumea, New Caledonia, to better compete with China.

: LDP policy chief Takaichi Sanae criticizes the lateness of the government’s decision on not sending government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Natsuno Hirkazu announces that China and Japan agreed to launch a military hotline next year.

: Chinese and Japanese defense ministers hold video talks. China’s leading military paper quotes Gen. Wei Fenghe as stressing China’s determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, and urging Japan to learn from history. It does not mention, but Kyodo reports, that Kishi “strongly demanded” an explanation for China’s new coast guard law, which gives it the right to search and seize other countries vessels in the islands contested between the two countries.

: Center-left Asahi editorializes that the absence of Japanese officials at the Beijing Winter Olympics notwithstanding, continued dialogue with China is essential.

: Bilateral forum backs a partnership between Hitachi Zosen and Yulin Chemical to develop a renewable alternative to natural gas for industrial and household use, though cost remains a major hurdle.

: Japan’s Taipei ambassador-equivalent Hiroyasu Izumi describes 2021as the year of Taiwan since more countries have stood up to support its free and democratic way of life.

: Japan-Taiwan Co-Prosperity Chiefs Alliance, comprising 127 Japanese city and local officials, holds its first meeting and calls on Tokyo to draw up a Japanese version of the US Taiwan Relations Act.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announces that Japan will not send Cabinet members or high-level officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics.

: Japanese Cabinet approves a 1% increase in the FY 2022 defense budget to $291 billion.

: Japan Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Forces conduct a joint exercise to simulate responses to a Chinese military vessel approaching waters near the contested Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

: Kyodo reports that the Japanese and US armed forces have a draft plan for a Taiwan emergency under which the US marine corps would set up temporary bases and deploy troops on the Nansei at the initial stage of a Taiwan emergency.

: Global Times depicts Japan as struggling under the burden of hosting US troops.

: China’s leading military newspaper notes Tokyo’s concern that if the US were to adopt a no-first-use nuclear policy, its function as an umbrella for Japan would be lost.

: Chinese state-owned FAW group, targeting the Japanese market for electric cars, will offer a hybrid version of its SUV next summer.

: China’s leading military newspaper describes Abe’s remarks as driven by rightwing adventurism, citing a Japanese academic’s opinion that Abe is obsessed with realizing what his Class-A war criminal grandfather Kishi Nobusuke could not.

: Global Times, referencing Abe’s “repeated provocations over the Taiwan question” describes him as Japan’s chief anti-China politician.

: Ninth annual meeting of the Japan-Taiwan Cultural Exchange Summit is held in Kobe, with the organizers reporting that attendance was greater than expected due to resistance to China’s coercive tactics.

: Former PM Abe warns Beijing that it would be “suicidal” to invade Taiwan and advises that Taiwan, the US, and Japan to work together to strengthen their deterrent capabilities.

: Former defense minister and current head of the LDP’s public relations division Kono Taro backs a visit to China by current Foreign Minister Hayashi.

: Beijing uses commemoration of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre as a “barometer” of Japan’s support for the Beijing Olympics warning that if Japan does not participate, the bilateral relationship will veer into a downward spiral.

: Sugiura Yasuyuki, senior researcher at the National Institute for Defense Studies, tells Yomiuri that Japan must have the “correct” amount of fear about China.

: Observing that 99 members of Japan’s House of Representatives including nine deputy ministerial-level government officials visited the Yasukuni Shrine on the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, China’s leading military newspaper criticizes the action as “a slap in the face of the United States.”

: Oxford Economics note says that in 2020 Japan spent a greater percentage of its foreign direct investment in the ASEAN 5 economies (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines) and the Asian Tigers (Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan) than it did in China.

: Retired Japanese admiral advocates that Japan consider hosting US intermediate-range ballistic missiles. An accompanying chart shows the discrepancy between the reach of Chinese vs Japanese naval missiles.

: Chinese foreign ministry summons Japan’s ambassador in Beijing to an emergency meeting to refute Abe’s remarks, calling them “erroneous” and a violation of the basic norms of relations.

: Former Prime Minister Abe warns that a Chinese attack on Taiwan would be an emergency for Japan and could meet the conditions for Tokyo to use military force.

: Citing threats stemming from North Korea and China, Kishisda says that he does not rule out options such as striking at enemy bases.

: Japanese government approves a supplementary budget increase defense spending for FY 2021 to $52,8 billion, or 1.09% of GDP, the highest percentage in a decade.

: Yomiuri points out the importance of the conversion of two destroyers into de facto aircraft carriers given their role in case of a Chinese attack on Japan’s remote islands.

: Japan and Vietnam sign a cybersecurity agreement as they step up military ties amid concerns over China’s growing assertiveness.

: Nikkei reports that Japan and Australia will sign a pact enabling each country’s forces to enter the other for joint exercises.

: Former Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi invites counterpart Hayashi to visit the PRC, but without setting a date. The last such visit was in December 2019.

: Nikkei reports that the Japanese government will exercise tighter scrutiny on supply chains for missiles, ships, and other equipment, restricting the use of Chinese-made equipment.

: Japanese government protests the apparently intentional entry of a Chinese navy survey ship into Japanese coastal waters on Nov. 17.

: In his first telephone call to counterpart Wang Yi, newly appointed Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi emphasizes the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

: Chinese military analysts play down the significance of the joint US-Japan exercises, with expert Song Zhongping terming any attempt to hunt PLA submarines a “daydream.”

: Yomiuri reports that the United States and Japan have conducted their first joint drills, citing MSDF Chief of Staff Admiral Yamamura Hiroshi as saying that the drills show the high level of interoperability between the forces of the two countries.

: A joint bilateral opinion poll in August and September finds that 66.1% of Chinese have a bad impression of Japan, up 13.2 points over the previous year and the first time that impressions had worsened since 2013.

: Global Times cites a Japanese professor at Shenzhen University as disputing Japanese concerns about the outflow of technology to China, 2021: truth is that more research in China is brought back to Japan than vice-versa.

: In what Nikkei calls one of the most aggressive international expansions by a Japanese restaurant brand, sushi chain Sushiro plans to open between 42 to 46 locations in China in addition to the one it opened in Guangzhou in September.

: Japanese destroyer Inazuma escorts Australian frigate Warramunga during a joint exercise, the first time a Japanese vessel has protected warships other than those of the US.

: Asahi editorializes that the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to rewrite history so that the public will embrace the official version of its past will only push China further away from the rest of the world.

: Hayashi announces his intention to resign as chair of the Japan-China Friendship Association “to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings in performing [his] duties as foreign minister.”

: Kishida appoints pro-China former Defense Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa as foreign minister.

: Defense Minister Kishi, welcoming the first port call by a German warship to Tokyo in 20 years, says that the two countries will step up their military cooperation in defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific. The frigate Bayern participated in two days of exercises with MSDF destroyer Samidare.

: Asahi editorializes that Xi Jinping and Kishida must make efforts to stop the cycle of mutual mistrust.

: Japan Times editorializes that Beijing is building a military to rewrite rules of the Indo-Pacific region, and urges Tokyo to increase its defense budget while integrating more deeply with the US and other security partners.

: Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) decides to exclude renminbi-denominated Chinese sovereign bonds from its portfolio.

: According to a Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation poll, 58% of respondents think it possible that Japan would send troops to defend Taiwan.

: Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent is to acquire a 6.86% stake in Japanese publishing giant Kadokawa, making Tencent Kadokawa’s third largest shareholder.

: Foreign Minister Wang Yi offers five suggestions on improving China-Japan ties such as managing their differences and upgrading cooperation in sundry spheres.

: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Isozaki Yoshihiko states that the government has been monitoring the passage of a joint Chinese-Russian flotilla traversing Japanese chokepoints.

: Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu describes ties with China as remaining in a difficult situation as the two prepare for the 50th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties.

: Sony’s Chinese subsidiary is fined $156,000 for violating China’s advertising laws over its plan to hold a new product launch event on the anniversary of the Marco Polo bridge Beijing commemorates as the beginning of the war with Japan.

: Kishida expresses willingness to specify the possession of capabilities to destroy enemy missile bases in the new National Security Strategy.

: Chinese media criticize Japanese plans to double the defense budget, seeing them as connected with attempts to revise the country’s constitution by clarifying the role of the military.

: Sony discusses with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) the possibility of jointly building a new semiconductor plant.

: US analysis urges US and Japanese officials to think through many potential scenarios in a Taiwan contingency and clarify to each other privately their potential responses, since a Taiwan contingency is likely to require quick thinking and a decisive response.

: Japan’s defense ministry plans to enlist YouTube stars and other opinion leaders to help it lobby for a bigger defense budget, due to the gap between Chinese military spending and that of Japan.

: Bloomberg reports that Japanese utilities are stepping in to help ease China’s fuel crisis by selling excess liquefied natural gas at sky-high prices.

: China’s leading military newspaper takes issue with Suga’s presence at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue just before leaving office.

: Chinese media criticize the Takaichi-Tsai meeting, particularly video footage of Takaichi hanging the Taiwan and Japanese flags side by side.

: Takaichi Sanae, another contender in the LDP leadership race, confers with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, with The Japan Times noting that it is extremely rare for a Japanese politician to hold a meeting with any senior Taiwanese officials.

: Prime Minister candidate Kono Taro describes a best-case scenario for defense as aligning with the “Five Eyes”—Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States—with Japan as the sixth eye.

: Kishi urges European states to speak out against China’s military expansion.

: According to former dean of Beijing University’s School of International Studies Jia Qingguo, China’s bid to join the CPTPP is designed to split the US and Japan.

: Kishi states that the Diaoyu/Senkaku are “unquestionably Japanese territory” and will be defended as such.

: Yomiuri editorializes that the Japan Coast Guard must strengthen its ability to protect the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands against Chinese encroachment.

: Chinese observers of Japan’s largest Self-Defense Forces exercises since 1993 describe them as designed to challenge the PRC’s sovereignty and demonstrate loyalty to the US Indo-Pacific strategy.

: Responding to Kishi, the PRC embassy in Vietnam accuses Japan of interference in China’s affairs through the Taiwan question.

: In a speech in Vietnam on his first overseas trip as defense minister, Kishi Nobuo criticizes China and highlights the key role Taiwan can play in the world.

: Japan Coast Guard confirms a submarine believed to be Chinese is cruising underwater within Japan’s contiguous zone east of Amami Oshima.

: Taiwan Japan Academy is launched at Taipei’s National Chengchi University, with ambassador-equivalent head of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Izumi Hiroyasu saying that the passing of the old generation of Japanese-speaking Taiwanese such as former president Lee Teng-hui makes the academy’s work more important than ever.

: Nikkei observes that US Space Force head Gen. John Raymond didn’t give a direct answer when asked if the US would consider applying the mutual defense provision of the US-Japan security treaty to the space domain.

: Global Times describes the passage of a Chinese destroyer flotilla in the waters between Taiwan and Japan as sending a warning to Japanese right-wing forces and Taiwan secessionists at a time when the two have been colluding to sabotage the peace and stability of the region.

: Global Times editorializes that Japan is in its worst geopolitical environment since the Meiji Restoration and terms its hatred toward China as “morally dirty.”

: In a surprise remote call to a conference on Japan-Taiwan relations, Deputy Defense Minister Nakayama Yasuhide declares that Japan and Taiwan are not friends but family members.

: Commander of British aircraft carrier visiting Japan reveals that the carrier had been escorted and shadowed by Chinese units, but in a safe and professional manner.

: Yomiuri editorializes that should Japan steadily enhance its defense capabilities in response to China’s military buildup, with particular attention to detecting hypersonic glide vehicles.

: A Kyoto-themed shopping complex in Dalian is forced to suspend operations after internet criticism that the Japanese government is engaged in a cultural invasion.

: An opinion piece in Japan Forward advocates that Japan establish a “territorial army” to counter China’s maritime militia, with special reference to the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

: Global Times editorializes against taking too seriously Kishida’s vow to make dealing with China a top priority if elected.

: Signaling increased concern with Chinese assertiveness in the waters around Japan, British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth makes its first port call in Japan.

: Speculating on Beijing’s concern with any post-Suga shift in Japan’s Taiwan policy, Kyodo cites unnamed Beijing diplomats’ opinion that China would avoid taking a hardline approach to Japan until after the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics in February and March, since it wants Japanese participation.

: Former Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio, a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Suga, says that Japan should seek to cooperate with Taiwan and countries that shares its values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. He would encourage Taiwan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it “can meet the necessary high standards.”

: Japan’s Defense Ministry notified Okinawa prefectural authorities that it plans to install an SSM battery at the GSDF’s Katsuren sub-camp so that, together with other installations, the Miyako Strait will have full protection. The intent is to prevent enemy landings on outlying islands, including the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu group.

: Noting Suga’s stance that a Taiwan crisis could have ripple effects on Japan and the need to “focus on Taiwan,” Japan Forward says it sends a message to China that there is the possibility of joint US-Japanese military intervention on behalf of Taiwan.

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