In recent weeks Japan has taken a stronger stance against the Chinese government’s human rights abuses. Tokyo joined a Group of Seven statement strongly urging the Chinese government to “reconsider” imposing national security legislation on Hong Kong. And members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party said he should reconsider a scheduled visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Japan also joined 15 other countries opposed to a problematic Chinese government resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Japan’s recent diplomatic shift is noteworthy, considering it has a track record of being weak on human rights issues abroad. Part of its shift appears to be driven by a recent push by more than 100 opposition and ruling lawmakers who signed an international joint statement to express “grave concerns” about Beijing’s national security legislation.