What China did and should learn from Japan

Written by Mark Beeson. China and Japan don’t get on. This is a problem for them and for the rest of the world given their economic and strategic importance. It hasn’t always been this way, though. Japan once acknowledged China’s dominance via the tributary system. More recently, China has learned some important lessons from Japan’s …

China goes ballistic: Beijing’s response to US-Australia talks

Written by Mark Beeson. China’s not happy. Normally that sort of phrase is pretty meaningless. Clearly not everyone in China has the same view on anything – with the possible exception of its territorial claims in the South China Sea. This is why China’s policymakers and commentariat are so peeved about the declarations emerging from …

China’s slowdown is a sign of middle-class gains, not a reason for panic

Written by Peter Hilsenrath. It’s too easy to think China’s economy is in a downward spiral, given recent headlines in the US press, from “China’s Middle-Class Dreams in Peril” to “Is China Really Collapsing?” The world has been awash with such pessimism. And fumbled reactions by China’s leaders to disasters, excessive financial speculation and other …

Why the world is wary of China’s ‘great wall of sand’ in the sea

Written by Clive Schofield. The leaders of Southeast Asian nations recently took the extraordinary step of warning China that its island-building activities in the contested South China Sea “may undermine peace, security and stability” in the region. That’s strong language from the usually reticent 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and shows just how high tempers …

Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s War Responsibility

Written by Akiko Takenaka. Yasukuni Shrine, where the military-related dead of modern Japan are memorialized, remains one of the main focal points in the international debates on how Japan remembers its wartime past. It is also deeply intertwined with Japan’s domestic politics in the postwar decades as a result of the strong ties that the …

China: taking history seriously

Written by Mark Beeson. Many people outside China find it hard to understand its obsession with history. Appropriately enough, however, a little historical context can help to explain this. China has had more recorded history than anywhere else. For most of it, China was the centre of the known political universe. The only time when …

On our side: remembering the national and international in China’s war

Written by Andres Rodriguez. When did the Second World War start? For most people in the West this doesn’t sound like a difficult question. The answer varies, however, depending on who you ask. Back in 1944 US soldiers deployed to the Asian front were already made aware that no simple answer existed. The US Army …

The 70th Anniversary of Japan’s surrender

Written by Hans Van de Ven. On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced in his first ever radio broadcast that he had instructed his cabinet ‘to communicate to the governments of the USA, UK, China, and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration’. This was the Potsdam Declaration in which …

Abe’s Subtle Apology: Can It Help Japan Become ‘Normal’?

Written by Niv Horesh. Visitors to Japan can feel this is a country undergoing an identity crisis. After more than two decades of economic stagnation, falling birth rates and unstable governments, the Japanese have slowly become accustomed to the notion that the heady 1980s are long gone. Back then, amid a real estate and stock …

Japan’s sorry saga

Written by Mark Beeson. What is it about northeast Asia? Why is it that a part of the world that is a byword for unparalleled economic development and astounding social transformation can’t come to terms with its past and develop co-operative intra-regional relations? Northeast Asia ought to be the most important region in the world …