Japan seems increasingly keen on playing geopolitical games with the US
Published: Apr 15, 2021 07:42 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Japan and Germany held their first "2+2" security talk, agreeing to working closely to "build orders" based on certain rules in the Indo-Pacific region. Japanese media outlets said the aim of the talks was to confront China's growing power in the region.

From the perspective of the Japan-Germany relationship, Japan apparently is taking a stronger initiative in this latest round of political maneuver. It is also attempting to introduce European elements into the Asia-Pacific region. 

Given the fact that Biden-Suga summit is to be held in Washington soon, the Japan-Germany "2+2" security talk is a proof of Washington's international coordination to counter China's rise.

Over the past few years, Japan has been trying to invite European powers to step in Pacific region for its geopolitical calculation. Earlier, Japan has pulled UK and France to the region. Japan's basic strategic consideration is to counter China by borrowing strength from the US.

Although the US is ramping up efforts to form a clan to counter China's rapid development, it is not likely to reach that goal. A US-led anti-China front including Japan, Germany and other countries are not likely to come into existence. 

Some countries may have stronger intention such as Japan, but European countries are not expected to follow the US' footsteps in terms of China policies.

According to Japanese media reports, Japan and Germany exchanged ideas on South China Sea, while pointed fingers at Hong Kong and Xinjiang. This is flagrantly interfering China's internal affairs. 

While Tokyo's recent decision to discharge the nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean is posing serious health and security hazards to other countries - which will pose a major human rights issue, it's double-standard and hypocrisy for Japan to point its fingers at China.

Japan's economy has high level of dependency on the Chinese market. As the COVID-19 pandemic continue to take tolls on Japan's economy, its economic growth becomes more dependent on external demands, including from the huge Chinese market. For instance, in November 2020, Japan made a decision toward signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, by integrating the regional economies. Against such a backdrop, Japan's economy's dependence on external demands will only increase. 

However, Japan's recent interference and hype on other country's internal affairs on the baseless pretense of human rights will inevitably sabotage the atmosphere for economic and trade cooperation. Such ill-willed moves will inevitably disrupt stability of China-Japan relationship.

The author is director-general of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.