Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Japanese Politics and China

Greetings from the Australian National University, where Dr Sheila A. Smith is speaking on "Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China". Dr Smith is the author of "Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China". She argues that the Japanese PM is not the most significant player in determining Japanese foreign policy and inherited the current Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute. Dr Smith argued that the islands dispute is separate from the East China Sea dispute. She also pointed out that China and Japan were able to cooperate on investigation of tainted Chinese dumplings in Japan. Dr. Smith' conclusion was that while there were individual points of dispute between Japan and China, but this did not reflect a general rise in anti-Chinese nationalism in Japan.

This is of relevance to Australia, due to its increasing military ties to Japan and economic ties to China. However, there is only one mention of Australia in Dr. Smith's book and only to do with China's exporting of food (page 163).

Dr. Smith pointed out that until recently the USA and Japan had no plans for managing military conflict with China. I assume this is a reference to diplomatic plans, as it seems unlikely that the USA would not have detailed military plans in place and their Japanese counterparts would not be familiar with these, even if this could not be publicly acknowledged.

Dr Smith asserted that US representatives have made clear they will not provide direct military force to defend the Senkaku Islands, but they are helping Japan train its soldiers as marines (something Australia is also developing an amphibious capability and might usefully work with Japan)

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