Japan Responds to China — Manthorpe

Shinzo Abe. Japan government photo

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week launched a challenge of China’s increasing assertiveness in Asia, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. It’s a significant departure  for Abe, who became Prime Minister for the second time in 2012 with a mandate to reform Japan’s moribund economy and reassert the country’s international status. An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column: 

Japan this week launched a three-pronged response to China’s growing military and diplomatic shadow over Asia.

In Singapore today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged his country’s “utmost support” for the countries of Southeast Asia that are locked in increasingly tense confrontations with China over Beijing’s claims to ownership of most of the South China Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking this week at a meeting of Japan’s House of Councillors Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. Government of Japan photo.

On Thursday, Tokyo announced a breakthrough in talks with the North Korean government that could give the Japanese government a significant renewal of its political influence in the Far East, a status that has waned in recent years.

And on Tuesday, a parliamentary panel of members of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and their New Komeito party allies put forward suggestions for revisions of Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution … read more*

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