China grows more wary about Abe



China is apprehensive about Japan becoming more nationalistic after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition scored a comfortable win in Sunday’s Upper House election, giving the ruling bloc control of both Diet chambers for the first time in six years.

Chinese media and some experts expressed concern that the already strained bilateral relationship could unravel further and said they will be closely watching Abe in the days ahead for signs of whether he will moderate or toughen his already hard-line stance.

“It’s none of China’s business whether Japan has a stable government or not,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China. “As long as Prime Minister Abe is in power, it will be difficult for the two countries to find ways in the near future to improve diplomatic ties.”

China views Japanese politics as having shifted to the right since Abe returned as prime minister in December.

“The election win will allow Abe to push forward his agenda to revive Japan’s economy and paves the way for his long-sought pursuit of revising the country’s pacifist Constitution, a move that would further complicate Tokyo’s relations with its neighbors,” China’s state-owned Global Times said Monday in a front-page story.

Beyond the friction growing out of the Senkaku Islands dispute, China has been irked by Abe’s major goal of relaxing the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9 to allow a full military, as well as his repeated comments suggesting he is unapologetic about Japan’s wartime aggression.

Shi said there are increasing worries that the big win in the Upper House election will make Abe and his backers in the LDP more confident in pursuing a nationalistic agenda. A more muscular push to amend the Constitution would have “repercussions on relations with China and South Korea,” which is embroiled in a territorial dispute of its own with Japan, he said.

Shi believes that the time is far from ripe for China and Japan to arrange a meeting between their top leaders later this year on the sidelines of multilateral gatherings.

“To have a summit meeting, both sides need to have some tangible achievements that can be explained to their own people, but the current situation is not like that,” he said, mainly citing the Senkaku dispute.

Liu Jiangyong, vice dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing, expects momentum for Abe to rewrite the Constitution will build, given that not only is there “no real opposition party any more, but also that many opposition lawmakers are now right-leaning.”

“As foreign policy is an extension of domestic policies, I am concerned that repairing bilateral relations will be harder,” Liu said, adding that he will be paying close attention to what kind of role New Komeito, which has maintained a friendly relationship with China and is cautious about revising the Constitution, will play in the administration.

Liu also believes that the United States is frustrated by Japan’s frayed relations with China and South Korea.

“There is a possibility that Mr. Abe will not listen to what the United States has to say” now that the election is over, though the LDP constantly criticized the previous administration headed by the Democratic Party of Japan for its “diplomatic failures,” such as weakening the security alliance with Washington, Liu said.

  • AC

    It is good that Abe won the upper house for he will stop what’s China doing in intruding other country’s sovereignty that China using force and coercion on that issue. Oh hail PM Abe!!

  • JimmyJM

    China can assume some of the blame for Japan’s veering off to the right. China’s aggressive tactics in laying claims to territory throughout Asia has alarmed many people here. No country’s populace likes seeing another country’s ships in its territorial waters and right wing calls for aggressive action in response are more likely to be encouraged when that type of aggression occurs. So voters who, before Chinese imperialism became flagrant, were rather liberal in their views now see a need for a more right wing government. If China continues these tactics, the Japanese government could get more support from the people to rewrite the constitution. And that in turn, could lead to a more militaristic government. I hope this doesn’t happen but every time a Chinese ship sails into the waters near the Senkakus, otherwise liberal Japanese feel threatened and turn to the right.-JJM

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    If there’s Kakuei Tanaka alive and well, as long as he’s a man who made promises between Zhou Enlai, there has been no territorial dispute with China, or major resurging of the Cult of Yasukuni, since there’s few reason for our piliticians to go worshipping the place which cooperated the war as an accomplice, upon the Communique which declares our full resposibility of the aggression and war.
    At least if he could have lasted little long, so as Masayoshi Ohira.
    There might be no need for Osprey if there was no territorial dispute.
    There might be no fear for going down of Osprey either.
    There might be no need for spending more money to afford Osprey or drones to be an equipment of Jieitai.
    There might be no need for selling nuclear merchandise to far abroad either, as long as it’s convenient and reasonable to deal with China, a most close, and vast, populated country which planning to dig a 123km tunnel under Bohai sea.
    There might be no fear for getting hated from Chinese people, or despised by other foreign people.
    There might be no Abe to be our PM if there was no territorial dispute, as long as this sick resigned man, had no available card without exaggerating a threat from abroad.
    It might be getting better with a negotiation between North Korea, or relationship with South Korea, if the one between China was going well.
    There might be no dead supposed to, on the area either.
    There might be no worry about our next time seceding from UN.

  • disqus_m9QKlBe6Ns

    China appears as a pacifists in words, but a bully in their actions in the South China Sea. When you put pressure on a nation by slowly bullying your way into their territory what do you expect them to do? These bullied countries will realize that they need to do something and in the meantime china will try to convince them otherwise that bilateral dialogue is the way to go, China will try and project themselves as pacifists in dealing with territorial disputes, resorting to so-called bilateral dialogues, but behind the scenes are acting slowly but with purpose to claim areas that it will soon populate with their civilians. If japan returns to its militaristic past, China will blame no one else but itself.