Senkaku/Diaoyu Island fallout from the Obama-Xi Summit

Already comments Xi Jinping made about the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands during last week’s Xi-Obama summit are reverberating back across the Pacific to Japan, where Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has denied Xi called the islands a “core interest.”

Japan has denied Chinese President Xi Jinping termed the Senkaku islands ‘a core interest’ of China in his informal summit with U.S. President Barack Obama last week in California.


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga brushed aside the reports during a Wednesday news conference, indicating Tokyo was briefed otherwise by U.S. officials about the Xi-Obama meeting.

But the Japanese, it seems, aren’t taking any chances. They plan to develop an elite force designed to retake islands in the event of an invasion. The article notes that they are years away from this.

Abe and Obama spoke recently by phone. The Japanese indicated that even if Xi called the Senkaku Islands a “core interest” that observation was not passed along by Obama to Xi.

Should Japan boost its ailing economy by arming Asia?

So the winds shift. Japan and the Philippines agree to deepen their strategic partnership as the Asia Pacific region changes. As the AFP article notes, “Both countries are locked in separate territorial disputes with China.”

Specifically, Japan is to help the Philippines improve its coast guard ability, possibly including the sale of 10 multi-role coast guard response vessels. While Japan is taking small steps out of the post-war shadow of legislated pacifism, I can’t see a new Japanese war machine any time soon.

Only today, Japan announced a $117 billion economic stimulus with the aim of boosting economic growth by 2 percentage points. The economy, which shrank 0.9 per cent in the 3rd quarter is officially in recession. But before this recession, it has long faced deflation, an aging population, a shrinking workforce and a general economic malaise after the stellar growth until the late 1980s. The government is carrying debts of more than 204 per cent of GDP.

The stimulus flagged today is about newly elected PM Shinzo Abe’s bootstrap policy to turn Japan’s economy around. It would be interesting to see Japan twin its dual need to boost its flagging economy by selling ships and armaments to its Asian neighors in need of hardware to respond to China in the region. I understand the Japanese still make good submarines.

Japan “strongly” protests Chinese ships around Senkakus

The impact of Japan’s new nationalist government led by Shinzo Abe can be seen with Japan summoning the Chinese abassador to “strongly protest”  the proximity of Chinese state ships near the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands.
This is what was expected from the newly elected government, which has promised to take a tougher line with China. China of course, says it won’t be cowed by the Japanese.

A Japanese war apology…revisited

What could possibly go wrong with this? My feeling is that no matter what the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s wording, it will make things worse. 

Newly installed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted Monday saying that he would revisit a 1995 apology made by his nation’s government for suffering caused in World War II. 

Although other Japanese officials have suggested retracting apologies for wartime horrors, the words coming from Abe himself are bound to inflame anti-Japanese sentiment in China and the Korean peninsula and put the new government off to a bad start with its neighbors.