By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily
Japan has continuously made erroneous words and deeds to hurt its relations with neighboring countries. The so-called joint communique issued after a Group of 7 (G7) foreign ministers meeting in Japan grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and maliciously smeared and discredited China. which reflected the group’s deliberate desire to block and contain China.
Besides, Japanese politicians also made erroneous comments on the Taiwan question which concerns the post-war international order.
Such remarks and deeds of the Japanese side are strategically short-sighted, politically wrong and diplomatically unwise, and will only make regional countries more vigilant about Japan’s strategies.
As a country in Asia, Japan has frequently “invited the wolf into the house” over the recent years. Its diplomatic strategies are becoming dangerous.
As the United States claimed to “shape the strategic environment in which China operates,” Japan accelerated the adjustment to its diplomatic and security policies. Last December, it officially approved three updated security and defense-related documents, including the new National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy and the Defense Buildup Program, declaring that Japan should have “counterstrike capability,” or “enemy base strike capabilities.”
According to the three documents, Japan intends to increase its defense spending between fiscal years 2023 and 2027 by 1.6 times from that between 2019 and 2023. The total defense spending in fiscal year 2027 will be aimed to account for 2 percent of the country’s GDP.
This means that Japan, which had once launched wars of aggression, has totally discarded its exclusively defense-oriented policy, which completely deviates from the philosophy of peace in the Japanese constitution.
Seeing China as the “greatest strategic challenge,” Japan distorts facts on the Taiwan question, the issue of Diaoyu Island and the South China Sea issue, and keeps fanning the so-called “China threat.” It takes this as an excuse to break free from the post-war order and is moving further down the path of military expansion.
Since this year, the country has made frequent moves to expand its military strength. Its defense budget for fiscal year 2023 jumped 26 percent from a year ago, and it announced a decision to develop a new missile force to obtain the capability of striking targets more than 1,000 kilometers from Japan. It also plans to deploy hypersonic weapons and develop submarine-launched hypersonic missiles with a range of 3,000 kilometers.
It is Japan who seeks military breakthroughs under the excuse of so-called “surrounding security threat” that is making real threats against regional security.
To loosen constitutional restrictions on military, Japan has constantly elevated the importance of U.S.-Japan alliance in its diplomatic strategies. The country believes that it could seek speculations in the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” of the United States and even introduce the NATO to the Asia-Pacific region by cooperating with the United States. This is serious strategic confusion.
History has proved that the United States is indeed the one that’s always steering the U.S.-Japan alliance, and to maintain its own hegemony and interests is always its goal in handling its relations with Japan.
Japan deeply knows the harms of the U.S. hegemony. The United States once launched seven trade and financial wars against Japan. In September 1985, the United States forced Japan to sign the Plaza Accord, which was believed to have paved the way for Japan’s “Lost Decades.”
In 1986 the United States and Japan inked the Semiconductor Agreement and renewed it five years later. After the agreement terminated, the U.S. semiconductor industry expanded its market share to around 30 percent in both the global and Japanese markets.
Over the recent years, the United States has not only increased tariffs on steel, aluminum and beef imported from Japan, but also claimed Toyota vehicles to be a national security threat against the United States.
These all indicate that Japan, though an ally of the United States, can never escape U.S. extreme oppression once it shakes up American interests.
Japan had long been addicted to the daydream of “Departure from Asia for Europe,” which finally led it to the wrong path of militarism that caused deadly disasters to the people in regional countries and brought unbearable results to the Japanese people.
Today, regional countries are generally concerned that Japan may repeat its mistakes given its current military expansion.
China-Japan relations are of crucial importance for regional peace and stability as well as the development of Japan itself. However, some forces in Japan are blindly following the wrong policies on China of the United States and working with the U.S. side to stir up troubles on issues concerning China’s core interests, which seriously undermines the political foundation of China-Japan relations and the basic trust and good faith between the two countries.
On April 24 and 25, a delegation of lawmakers from Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture submitted a resolution to the Defense Ministry, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign Ministry, which voiced concern over the three updated documents on Japan’s security and defense policies, calling on the Japanese government to follow the principles it reached with China in relevant political documents, develop friendly relations with China, and engage in peacebuilding through dialogue and diplomacy. The Japanese government should listen to the voices of peace and justice made by all relevant parties.
If Japan is still addicted to seeking private interests through exacerbating tensions in the region, which is no different from “pulling chestnuts out of the fire,” it can never gain the so-called strategic freedom or the identity of a major country, but only bring to itself unbearable outcomes.
Only by coming to a correct perception of history, taking a hard look at itself, exercising caution in its words and deeds, and adhering to the path of peaceful development, can Japan be trusted by its neighboring countries in Asia and the international community.