Prime Minister Suga showing early nationalist signs

Prime Minister Suga showing early nationalist signs

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is showing early nationalist signs even if not overtly. Hence, it is striking that several members of his Cabinet and policies announced seem to have a nationalist slant.

Of course, some of this is natural geopolitics and continuation. However, it looks like the Japanese Foreign Ministry isn’t restrained to the same level during the early period of Suga’s leadership. Therefore, with his leadership being in its infancy, it certainly appears that China and the Russian Federation are watching carefully.

It emerged that the Ministry of Defense is hoping to obtain a budget of 52 billion dollars next fiscal year. If this is guaranteed, it will be a record defense budget. Yet, in truth, this is a continuation of recent years but it highlights Suga’s intent.

The issue of Taiwan is complex. Thus the appointment of Nobuo Kishi as the Minister of Defense isn’t a positive sign. He is not only hawkish and pro-America but he is also pro-Taiwan. Therefore, with statements saying Japan will watch events in Xinjiang – and the new Defense Minister being a hawk – this could unravel negatively.

Yes, Japan should support democratic Taiwan but based on all the right channels. This applies to economics, supporting Taiwan via several important international institutions, and so forth. However, the new Defense Minister shouldn’t overstep the mark.

If he does, then expect more tensions over territorial spats with China and other convulsions. Likewise, the Russian Federation might become less amiable if Suga’s admin becomes too hawkish.

Suga also is seeking more subsidies and economic support to 71 remote islands that are sparsely populated. The purpose is to strengthen Japan’s islands near its maritime borders. Therefore, while this is geopolitical, it highlights the urgency of Suga’s nationalist vision by promoting this so early during his leadership.

Of course, it is too soon to judge Suga but nationalist trends are emerging. Thus, political elites in China and the Russian Federation are hoping that nothing overtly challenging occurs.

However, it certainly appears that Suga’s admin is more hawkish during the early period.


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