Japan is pragmatic about Hong Kong: China versus Australia, Canada, US, and the UK
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The nations of America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have rebuked China over Beijing’s proposed security law in Hong Kong. Thus some voices have been raised by the pragmatic approach of Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is focused on developing a more independent approach towards China and the Russian Federation. Equally, it is often forgotten that China, North Korea, and the Russian Federation are all nuclear powers and share the same Northeast Asian space. Similarly, the United States effectively protects Japan by its nuclear umbrella. Therefore, Abe fully understands the complex nature of the geopolitics of this region.
Also, Japan is beset by simmering disputes with regional nations over islands and minute islets. Hence, Japan seeks either a compromise with the regional powers of China and the Russian Federation; or to quell minor clashes with China that spiral into diplomatic spats.
Hong Kong is very far from America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the realm of geopolitics. Thus, while Japan is in the democratic camp and concerned by events in Hong Kong, it is important to take a more nuanced approach. After all, major convulsions in Hong Kong and Taiwan could have terrible repercussions for Japan.
Reuters reports, “The United Kingdom, the U.S., Australia and Canada condemned China on May 28 for imposing a law that they said would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.”
Japan refused to join the condemnation of China. However, Japan did issue that it is deeply concerned by ongoing events in Hong Kong. Therefore, given the geopolitical angle of Japan – and recent history with China – the approach of pragmatism is deemed necessary.
It is also galling that non-Northeast Asian powers should keep on seeking to enforce their collective diktats on Japan. Instead, they should understand that Japan needs a careful approach towards China and the Russian Federation.
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