Japan-China Relations 2005-2010: Managing Between a Rock and a Hard Place. An Interpretative Essay
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Between China and Japan, the past is ever-present. Notwithstanding shared cultural and historic ties, throughout the past century and going back to the Sino-Japanese war at the end of the 19th century, a bitter legacy of history the Boxer Rebellion the Mukden Incident and Japan s occupation of South Manchuria 1931 the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Japan s subsequent invasion of China, and the Nanjing Massacre 1937 and the Sino-Japanese War 1937 1945 has left an indelible mark on this relationship. Nevertheless, the two countries have demonstrated the ability to put history on the back burner in order to address immediate needs. Diplomatic relations were normalized in 1972 and a Treaty of Peace and Friendship, committing the two countries to economic and political cooperation, was signed in 1978. Japan s Official Development Assistance programs and low interest yen loans contributed to the success of China s market opening reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping. This study examines the metafactors shaping the China-Japan relationship the rise of China, a competition for regional leadership within a shifting balance of power, and history. At the strategic level, there is intense, but quiet, political competition for the mantle of leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. With memories of history suffusing critical aspects of the relationship, managing and adjusting to China s growing influence and successfully managing relations will challenge political leadership both in Beijing and in Tokyo. There are also several macro-structural factors that shape the China-Japan relationship. They begin with the critically important economic relationship. In 2006, China became Japan s top trading partner, and in 2007 China became Japan s top export market, in both instances replacing the United States. Within Japan s business community, the China boom is widely recognized as the driving force behind Japan s recovery from its lost decade in the 1990s.
- Government and Political Science