Original: yinguoming source wechat official account: Mingren Mingcha has been authorized to reprint
Recently, Japan’s diplomacy has entered an unprecedented active period, and the signs against China are becoming more and more obvious, and Japan’s actions are also getting bigger and bigger. We need to be highly vigilant. This neighboring country is also playing a big game.
Although its strength alone is not enough, it is not difficult to detect Japan’s strong hostility and conspiracy towards China from its attitude towards the Taiwan issue.
The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interests. Adhering to the one China principle is an important foundation for China to establish diplomatic relations with all countries. As the United States increasingly plays the Taiwan card, Japan also follows suit, often acting more radical than the United States.
Taiwan was first mentioned in the “Japan us 2+2 joint statement” in March 2021. In July 2021, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Taro Aso also openly said that “Japan and the United States must jointly defend Taiwan”.
Since then, at the 2021 seven nation summit, the Japan EU summit, the Japan France 2+2 conference, the Japan Australia 2+2 consultation, the joint statement of the trilateral ministerial meeting of the United States, Japan and the ROK, as well as the leadership talks between Japan and the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, the Taiwan issue has always been said.
Japan’s “2022 diplomatic blue book” has mentioned the Taiwan Strait issue five times, which has changed a lot compared with the previous five years.
Recently, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun reported that the Japanese government plans to send active duty officials of the defense ministry to “reside in Taiwan” as soon as this summer.
On more and more international occasions, Japan has taken the Taiwan issue as a necessary item to be discussed, which is not only in line with the US strategy towards China.
Japan’s actions on the Taiwan issue are related to the changes in Japan’s positioning of China.
If we say that Japan is the last country in the world that wants China to be strong, it must be one of them. As China becomes more and more powerful, Japan’s attitude towards China tends to be more and more antagonistic.
In April, 2022, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) political Survey Committee defined China as a “major threat” for the first time in its proposal on national security strategy.
In the proposal, Japan also openly put forward its position of intervening in the Taiwan Strait, the East China Sea and the South China Sea, militarily “calling on all countries to jointly contain China”, and Japan should also have the “counterattack capability” to attack the enemy’s command center, with obvious directionality.
The proposal also proposes a plan to double defense spending in the next five years, and proposes to increase the proportion of military spending in GDP from 1.24% to 2%. If it does, it means that Japan has taken an important step towards becoming a politically normal country and a military power.
Japan has not only become the most effective helper for the United States to contain China in Asia, but also an advocate of many plans against China.
The four nation mechanism of the United States, Japan, Australia and India was first proposed by Abe before he took office for the first time in 2006; In 2013, Abe proposed in his speech in the United States that “in the Indo Pacific Century, Japan and the United States should be linked together”. In 2016, Abe proposed the “free and open Indo Pacific” strategy, one year earlier than the formal formulation of the “Indo Pacific strategy” for China in 2017.
Japan is also strengthening cooperation with NATO countries.
Japan and Britain have signed a new defense agreement, the reciprocal access agreement, which will deepen military cooperation between the two countries in the Indo Pacific region.
The relationship between Japan and Germany, the two sponsors of World War II, is also approaching. These two countries are taking advantage of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to increase military spending and expand armaments. The suppressed military potential is breaking the seal, and their ambitions will expand accordingly.
As a “loyal partner of NATO”, Prime Minister Yukio Kishida will attend the NATO summit at the end of this month, and will also consider holding talks among the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand during the summit to promote the concept of “free and open Indo Pacific”.
Japan’s extremely active diplomacy is highly targeted, and all revolves around the neighboring Oriental powers.
All that Japan has done revolves around its goal of becoming a normal power and a world political and military power. But instead of trying to speed up its own development, Japan, like the United States, places its hopes on curbing the development of its neighbors.
The most explicit manifestation of Japan’s ambition is the right-wing speculation on the issue of “nuclear sharing”.
The change in Japan is also one of the phenomena that the world has entered a century of great changes.
The changes in the world over the past century began to accelerate. Japan felt both crisis and opportunity. He felt both nervous and restless, and excited.
This ambivalence is not only related to the complexity of the international situation and development trend, but also to Japan’s particularly complex national psychology.
As an island country, Japan’s long-term severe natural conditions and living environment have formed its special island state mentality. The chrysanthemum and the knife, which thoroughly and comprehensively studies Japanese social culture and dissects the Japanese’s multiple contradictory characters, has a classic depiction of the Japanese psychology: the Japanese are polite but arrogant; They are extremely stubborn, but they can easily adapt to fierce innovation; They are docile, but they do not easily obey the control of their superiors; They are loyal and generous, but they are rebellious and full of resentment; They are courageous but cowardly.
The colonial education of the United States to Japan after the war was very successful. Japan has been acting as the strategic fulcrum of the United States in the Western Pacific for 70 years without losing control. The mainstream elites and mainstream culture in Japan are still obedient to the United States as a whole, which has a great relationship with the measures taken after Americans fully understand the national character of Japan. The United States has grasped one of the core features of Japan: fear of the strong but not virtue. It is not so much Japan’s loyalty to the United States as Japan’s fear and attachment to the strongest.
The complexity of Japan’s national psychology is also reflected in several aspects:
Although Japan is an Asian country, it has started the process of national Westernization since it left Asia and entered Europe more than 100 years ago. On the one hand, Japan is used to thinking that it belongs to the developed Western camp. On the other hand, it also retains some characteristics of the East Asian civilization circle, forming Japan’s open and conservative national psychology.
Japan is a contradictory combination of economic power and political dwarfism. After the war, Japan’s economy once became the second largest in the world. At its peak, its economic scale reached more than 60% of that of the United States. Japan’s manufacturing industry put great pressure on the United States. Enterprises and semiconductors made the United States feel a sense of crisis. After being restrained by the United States, Japan has ushered in the “lost 30 years”. The economic foam of Japan’s real estate and stock market burst, Japan’s finance and economy suffered serious internal injuries, and the manufacturing industry also began to decline. But even so, Japan’s GDP is still the world’s third largest economy. Japan has strong advantages in the fields of automobile manufacturing, semiconductor materials and equipment, machine tools and robots. After the end of World War II, Japan, bearing the status of a defeated country, has always been a political dwarf. It has not yet achieved real independence and sovereign integrity. It has a relatively low voice in international politics, and basically appears as a firm follower in the U.S. camp. The mismatch between economic development and political status has also aggravated the internal contradiction of Japanese national psychology. It has always been the goal of Japan to become a political power and achieve a political status matching its economic strength.
The contradiction between the dream of a world power and natural endowment conditions also projects to Japan’s national psychology. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan took the lead in realizing industrialization and modernization in Asia and became one of the “world powers” in Asia. It has always been Japan’s dream to build greater East Asia for common prosperity and become the leader of the Asian order. After the failure of World War II, Japan’s dream was shattered, but then the economy took off again, and Japan began to implement the wild geese model headed by Japan. However, after 10 or 20 years of loss, Japan’s driving force for progress is gradually failing. Then, due to China’s rapid development, Japan’s wild geese model also failed. The Japanese do not seem to think clearly that Japan’s natural endowment is the weakness that restricts Japan from becoming a world power. Japan is just an island country with a big country like China and Russia. Japan does not have the natural conditions and external environment to become a world power. Japan is short of domestic resources and the domestic market capacity is limited, which determines the upper limit of Japan’s development. Japan cannot soberly acknowledge this. It ignores the ceiling of its own development. It thinks that by restricting the development of neighboring powers, Japan can highlight its own status. It thinks that by relying on the United States and using the power of the United States to curb the development of other Asian countries, Japan can obtain outstanding advantages in Asian countries. This is the idea of the mainstream circle in Japan. Japan’s lead over China in modern history is only an episode in a long history. For a longer period of time, Japan can only exist as a supporting role in East Asia. The difference is who plays the supporting role. Japan is now the supporting role of the United States, acting as a pawn of the United States. This is Japan’s destiny determined by its natural conditions. No matter how loyal Japan is to the United States, the United States will not trust him more than the white people. Moreover, Kissinger once said, “it is dangerous to be an enemy of the United States, but it is fatal to be an ally of the United States”. It’s true.
Since the beginning of the cold war, Japan has long been at the mouth of the storm in which the US sphere of influence has been playing games with other strategic sectors. During the cold war, it was the United States and the Soviet Union. Now it is China and the United States. Japan is such a country that has the ambition of a world power, but lacks the endowments and resources to become a global power, and has always been unable to put itself in a correct position.
Such countries are either too deferential or too aggressive. It all depends on their strength.
Japan’s ambivalence is particularly evident in its attitude towards China and its orientation of relations.
Before the Tang and Song Dynasties, Japan was a serious and studious student of Chinese civilization. From 630 to 895, Japan appointed 19 envoys to study in China. It has had a significant impact on Japan.
In the yuan and Ming Dynasties, China Japan relations began to change.
In modern history, Japan twice interrupted the development of China. China has caused the most harm to other countries, and this country has not seriously reflected on it.
Active reflection is not in line with Japan’s national personality. Especially in the absence of the liquidation of militarism, Japan as a whole does not have the possibility to take the initiative to reflect on history. Only under sufficient external pressure and after the liquidation of the history and existing forces of militarism can we have a more thorough passive reflection.
At present, the biggest obstacle preventing Japan from liquidating militarism is the protection and connivance of the United States. The United States allowed Japan’s militarism to remain so far, in order to seize the opportunity to turn it into a militarism controlled by the United States, and release the cage when necessary.
It was under the aegis of the United States that after World War II, Japanese militarism had not been thoroughly liquidated. On the contrary, some important war criminals were put in important positions after the war. This is similar to the fact that the United States likes to reuse the puppet forces in South Korea, which reflects the philosophy of American pragmatism. Whoever is easy to be controlled and is conducive to achieving the goal can be vigorously reused without any moral constraints. Reuse political forces that have political flaws and have to rely on American forces to survive, and train them to become generation after generation accustomed to obeying American forces and controlling the country at the least cost.
With the support of the United States, the Japanese militarist forces have become more and more popular in Japanese politics. More and more Japanese politicians have no scruples about paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s important class a war criminals. This is a symbolic move to continue the tradition of Japanese militarism. In doing so, Japan meets the strategic needs of the United States; At the same time, it is also related to the change of domestic political power. After the cold war, as the political spectrum of the world moved to the right as a whole, Japan’s left-wing forces tended to decline, and militarism was increasingly lacking in checks and balances. The political tendency of the Liberal Democratic Party will become more and more militaristic. It is looking for an opportunity to revive.
Japanese dignitaries believe that the once-in-a-century opportunity to become a normal country has come. It has set its goal, that is, to become a booming eastern power. Japan’s layout of China is second only to that of the United States.
The Chinese people are not a narrow-minded nation. Instead, they are very kind-hearted and magnanimous. However, they can not be magnanimous to those individual countries that not only do not reflect on the history of infringing on China, but also continue to do harm to China in reality. There are too many lessons to be learned by repaying good for bad. Uphold morality and do not cause trouble, but do not fear trouble. Love peace, but also have the means to defend peace. As long as we don’t go wrong, no one can stop us. We should have this confidence, but we should also have a timely and sober perception and prediction of risks and threats.