It is somewhat old news, but Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi visited China for two days from April 1st. Many Japanese media outlets cited the arrest of a senior employee of a Japanese pharmaceutical company on suspicion of spying at the end of March as the reason for Hayashi's visit to China, which had been invited since last year. However, a far bigger reason is that, ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Foreign Minister Beerbok, who also visited China in April, the presidency of the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in mid-April and the G7 summit in May is hostile to China, led by the United States. Rather, it seems that he decided to convey to Beijing his strong intention to improve relations.
The Chinese side welcomed Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi's visit to China. It was by no means inferior to Macron's visit to China, where his closeness with President Xi Jinping shocked the United States. What's more, there was no joint statement or agreement, and it was an unusual visit to China that made it impossible to know what was discussed and what results were achieved. This is the front line of the US containment of China, and the deployment network of missiles aimed at China in the Nansei Islands = preparations for attacking enemy bases are in place. This is probably because it had to be kept submerged in water. The Chinese side seems to have shown the utmost consideration to the position of the Japanese government, which seeks both easing compliance with the United States and improving relations with China.
Hayashi's visit to China is undoubtedly linked to the movements of France and Germany that followed. The Chinese side allocated about four hours to talks with Foreign Minister Qin Gang, and over two days, the Foreign Minister and Wang Yi, a member of the Politburo, had lunch and dinner together. It was fully furnished and treated to the utmost. In fact, the Global Times, affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party's organ, the People's Daily, reported on Foreign Minister Lin's visit to China, saying, "Japan is sending a sign that it wants to improve relations with China." On April 3, the People's Daily reported on the front page of a meeting between Premier Li Qiang and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. The Chinese side also emphasized that it "received Foreign Minister Lin with the highest level of hospitality and showed sincerity." However, the editorial warned against strengthening the Japan-U.S. security arrangements, and strongly cautioned against it, saying, "It is still unclear to what extent China-Japan relations will be eased."
In November 2021, Prime Minister Kishida, despite the strong opposition of anti-China conservatives, led by the Liberal Democratic Party's largest faction "Seiwakai" led by the late Shinzo Abe, led the restoration of Japan-China relations with Kakuei Tanaka and Masayoshi Ohira. Hayashi, who belongs to him, resigned as chairman of the Japan-China Parliamentary Friendship League and appointed him as foreign minister. Hayashi, who has been attacked as a ``flavoring China faction beyond the pro-China faction,'' counters that ``I am an intellectual China faction, not a pro-China faction.'' In the 1972 Japan-China Joint Statement that normalized diplomatic relations between Japan and China, Hayashi advocated "one China", stating that "the government of Japan recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate government of China." faithfully adhere to it. Therefore, today, when US-China relations have deteriorated dramatically to the point that the US has declared China a new Cold War adversary, the attacks on Hayashi by the Taiwan faction of the Liberal Democratic Party, which follows the US, intensify. The trust from Beijing seems to be increasing.
During the visit, pending issues between Japan and China included the arrest of a Japanese company employee on suspicion of spying, territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and export restrictions on semiconductor manufacturing equipment. But I don't think much time has been spent on these issues. President Xi Jinping's closest aides, Qin Gang, Wang Yi, and Li Qiang, the Chinese side's top quasi-tops, should take the time to discuss the most important issue. It is speculated that the issue was how to break through the difficulties in order to realize a Japan-China summit meeting. At the same time, in light of the past, especially the unfortunate and difficult bilateral relations that have existed for over 150 years since the Meiji Restoration, and the current world situation, what kind of long-term perspective should we take and how can we open up a positive future for Japan and China? It seems that a rather high-level issue was discussed.
Hayashi's visit to China was agreed at the sideline meeting between the leaders of Japan and China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok in November 2022. Since then, the Japanese government has consistently avoided mentioning China by name, and has spoken of "building a constructive and stable relationship." They agreed on the importance of repeated dialogue between leaders and foreign ministers in order to avoid accidental clashes between Japan and China. Kishida and Hayashi line avoid words that excessively stimulate the Chinese side.
This stance toward China was clearly shown in the remarks made at the press conference after the Karuizawa G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting on April 18.
When asked by Reuters in the UK, "As China increases its military pressure on Taiwan, how should the G7 deter such pressure?" I would like to refrain from answering questions based on the assumption that there is an emergency in Taiwan." "It has been the government's consistent position to hope that the issues surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully through dialogue. This G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting. In this regard, we reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is an essential element for the security and prosperity of the international community, and called for the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.” avoided. The joint statement stated that China "is deeply concerned about the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and strongly opposes any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion."
Hayashi, who visited the United States in August 2022 for the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2 Ministerial Meeting), gave a speech at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank called the control tower for Japan. A Sankei Shimbun visiting correspondent in Washington, D.C., who covered this, said, ``Although the speech was supposed to focus on how Japan would respond to China, which is violating the international order in the Indo-Pacific, Foreign Minister Hayashi said, ``China's domestic situation is not discussed. No,” he said, avoiding any criticism of China and advocating reconciliation with China by emphasizing ``cooperation'' and ``dialogue'' between Japan and China." . This article was a typical article of "excess vs. US assumption". Japan's conservative followers of the United States continue this kind of stereotyped criticism endlessly.
Under such circumstances, the British newspaper "Financial Times" reported on April 25, "Japan and the EU rejected the US proposal to proceed with "full sanctions against Russia" toward the G7 Hiroshima Summit as "impossible"." reported. French President Emmanuel Macron's remarks that "cutting ties with China would be insane" and "Europe will not follow the United States on the Taiwan issue" are clearly hollowing out the G7. What will happen to the “hidden faction that follows and withdraws from the US” within the Japanese government? How long will he keep his mouth shut for fear of being crushed by the United States?