Revealed: Japan's New China Strategy Has Ancient Roots

Revealed: Japan's New China Strategy Has Ancient Roots

Tokyo turns to its past to manage souring Sino-Japanese relations.

On the Chinese side, the recent unilateral and nonconsultative process of island building, the placing of defensive missile and radar facilities on disputed territories, has been unhelpful in allaying the concerns of territorial claimants or Japan’s security interests in the East and South China Seas. This non-consultative process needs to stop and the appropriate joint usage of the territories needs to be discussed in a transparent, multilateral forum. A declaration by the Chinese that disputes will not be settled by forceful means would also pave the way for multilateralization of resources in the SCS.

Ozawa Ichiro in his 1994 book “Blueprint for a New Japan: The Rethinking of a Nation/日本改造計画” he provided useful advice for future administrations. First, he advised that any steps towards normalization be in consultation with neighbours and that any dispatch of the Japanese military forces only be permitted under the United Nation. Although it would be difficult to conceive China agreeing to the normalization process in the current Sino-Japanese environment, the current buffer and nullify (防范/Fángfàn/ 予防) approach to Japanese foreign policy under PM Abe could make such declarations unilaterally or some version of the Ozawa normalization formula to allay some of the Chinese security concerns.

Stephen R. Nagy has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the International Christian University since September 2014.

*A modified version of this article was published in Diamond On Line, May 26th, 2016

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