Six new embassies eyed as Beijing’s influence spreads


The Foreign Ministry may set up embassies in six more countries in fiscal 2014 to reinforce Japan’s diplomatic presence as China’s influence continues to grow, a government source said.

Among the six are the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Republic of the Marshal Islands, which lack diplomatic ties with China. The others are the Republic of Namibia, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Armenia and Barbados.

The ministry will seek appropriations before the approaching the end-of-August deadline for budget requests for fiscal 2014, the source said.

As of January, Japan had diplomatic corps in 134 countries, compared with 164 for China.

Japan does not have an embassy in nearly 20 countries in Africa, where China is quickly gaining influence. Tokyo opened an embassy in the Republic of South Sudan in July.

Bhutan and the Marshall Islands are “target” countries for countering China, which lacks diplomatic ties with the two. Turkmenistan operates a natural gas pipeline to China. Japan is hoping to drive a wedge between them to swing interest toward Japan, the source said.

Tokyo is considering a mission in Armenia to gain access to its rich natural resources.

  • Jaycasey

    Tokyo needs to get with it if Japan wants to have influence in the world. Better watch out for all the soft-power-projecting Confucian Institutes China is putting all over the world too.

  • Ron NJ

    Just what Japan needs: more wastes of money when Tohoku reconstruction and the looming debt crisis are having tea in the next room waiting to be called in for their appointments.

  • Spudator

    Sounds to me like too little, too late. China has eclipsed Japan as the manufacturing centre of the world and is intent on using the wealth created by its being an industrial power to transform itself into a world power. This, of course, is what Japan should have done when its own economy was booming back in the seventies and eighties; but it preferred making money to being influential—or maybe it conceitedly thought that its advanced technology, manufacturing prowess and wealth made it superior to other countries, and that this perceived superiority defined it as being a world power.

    Japan’s glory days are over and I really don’t see how it has a hope of catching up with China now. “Make hay while the sun shines,” the old proverb advises us. Japan failed to do this and now its sun is setting.

    • Franz Pichler

      I somewhat agree with you but Japans days are not over as you state. An economy evolves, back in the 70 and 80s everybody was paranoid Japan would rule the globe, now everybody (well, mainly the media) tells us China is the new kid on the block and we only can learn from them…. India was supposed to take a similar place on the stage, but it crashed… idem with Brasil … so, no, Japan is not dead… travel to Shanghai, go to the port area, and drive for 3 hours in one direction, you’ll see 99% Japanese factories…. Japan is not dead, it just relocated…. still a very important country in terms of innovation and technology & manufacturing. Talk to many Chinese, Japan is very important…