China wrapped up this year’s National People’s Congress after setting the scene for a controversial third term for President Xi Jinping, with Japan increasingly on guard against the Asian power’s ambitions, Kyodo reports. Here are five areas of concern between the two neighbors:
- Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi last month urged China to take “positive” actions to protect rights and freedom in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang region amid allegations of abuses against protesters in the former and members of the Uyghur minority in the latter. A senior Japanese banker told AFP-Jiji last week that the crackdown in Hong Kong has left Japanese firms “very much afraid” and reconsidering whether to remain in the city.
- On the Uyghur issue, while the Japanese government has been criticized for not taking tougher action over China’s mass detention of the Muslim ethnic group, 12 major Japanese firms have established a policy of ceasing business deals with Chinese companies that benefit from forced Uyghur labor in far-western Xinjiang, a Kyodo investigation has shown.
- Reducing dependence on China had been on Japanese companies’ minds over the past few years due to the Sino-U.S. trade war, with the global health crisis pushing the issue further up the to-do list and Japan government incentives sweetening the deal, reports Kazuaki Nagata. Today, it’s imperative that business execs be able to look beyond profit and understand the larger geoeconomic context in which they operate, writes the JT Editorial Board.
- A Japanese expert from the World Health Organization who visited Wuhan last month has voiced skepticism about China’s claim that the coronavirus entered that country from abroad through cold-chain food distribution. China’s “vaccine diplomacy” is also raising hackles, with Tokyo 2020 organizers seemingly caught off-guard by China’s offer of free vaccine for all Olympians.
- Like every other nation in the region, Japan is involved in disputes with China over various islands and their surrounding waters. Most recently, Beijing told Tokyo that China is “exercising self-restraint” in operating its coast guard ships near the Japan-held Senkaku Islands after China passed a new law that allows such ships to use arms against foreign vessels.