China Policy Institute Blog

The Kuril Islands dispute in 2014: (Yet) another setback

Written by Miha Hribernik. Russo-Japanese relations have grown closer over the past two years, before the Ukrainian crisis began to strain Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s carefully-crafted Russia policy. By summer 2014, Abe’s delicate balancing act – manoeuvring Japan between the interests of its Western partners and those of energy-rich Russia – came close to collapse …

How to fix Japan-Korea relations

Written by David A. Welch. In an earlier piece, I suggested that the first thing Japan and Korea should do to set the stage for progress on dealing with the very real issues that divide them is to signal their joint desire for improved relations and for each to acknowledge that the other is an important …

Taiwan’s Pivotal Place in Asia’s Territorial Dispute Chessboard

Written by Alex Calvo. A look at the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region reveals a landscape full of territorial disputes, with more than a few featuring regular incidents and a clear risk of escalation. Right in the middle of these disputes stands Taiwan, in more than one way. First of all, geographically, the Island is right between …

‘Takeshima’ and ‘Northern Territories’ in Japan’s Nationalism

Written by Alexander Bukh. In 2005, Japan’s Shimane Prefecture adopted the ‘Takeshima Day’ ordinance that designated the 22nd of February, the day Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo in Korean, Takeshima in Japanese) were incorporated into Japan in 1905, as a prefectural memorial day. The passage of the ordinance, the Korean reaction and the wide domestic coverage propelled …

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands: The Spark for Great Power War?

Written by Harry Kazianis. While China has multiple overlapping territorial claims with many of its neighbors in various parts of the East and South China Seas, none has more potential for great power conflict as claims concerning the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. In fact, considering this hotly disputed area of the Asia-Pacific is contested by two of …

Amphibious Posturing and the Senkaku Dispute

Written by Ian Bowers. The creation of a Japanese amphibious unit tasked with recapturing the nation’s outermost islands following an invasion is part of a package of measures designed to counteract potential Chinese aggression over the Senkaku islands. However, the use of military force to decide the dispute is unlikely given the inherent difficulty of …

Korea’s ‘Dokdo’ Claim is about more than just Territory – It’s Identity

Written by Robert E. Kelly. Korea and Japan have been locked in an on-again/off-again dispute over two small volcanic rocks in the Sea of Japan since the 1950s. In Korea, these two rocks are known as ‘Dokdo’ (독도); in Japan, they are called ‘Takeshima’ (たけしま). In the West, they are called the ‘Liancourt Rocks,’ after …

Abe’s Cabinet Reshuffle: Implications for Collective Self-Defence Legislation

Written by Corey Wallace. The July 1 cabinet declaration was a critical symbolic change in how the Japanese government conceptualises the spheres of action the Self-Defense Force can (and should) operate in to uphold the security of Japan. Previously the SDF was required to wait until a direct attack on Japan started to take place …

Interpreting Japan’s right to collective self-defense

Written by Kei Koga. The Abe administration’s reinterpretation of the right of collective self-defense on July 1, 2014 has become the center of political attention both domestically and internationally. Although there are many focal points revolving around the re-interpretation, the core of the debate stems from two basic questions: why did the reinterpretation need to …

The Democratic Deficit of Collective Self-Defence in Japan

Written by Rikki Kersten. When Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet decided on July 1st to revise the interpretation of the pacifist clause of Japan’s constitution, commentators in Japan and around the world took notice. Those who argued the move was long overdue called it ‘historic’.[i] Those who found the move disturbing employed the language of alarm, …