On August 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially announced his resignation for health reasons (suffering from chronic ulcerative colitis). What does the change of head of Japan’s cabinet mean for the foreign policy of “Land of the Rising Sun”?
Japanese foreign policy remains unchanged
Although there is no clear regulation in any legal documents, the whole world knows for itself that the main character of the State of Japan is the Prime Minister and the head of the Cabinet of Japan is the architect. for the country’s foreign policy.
In the “Land of the rising sun”, the emperor is a symbol of national harmony with a purely ceremonial role. The State Department is a purely bureaucratic organization that follows the foreign policy outlined by the ruling party and its leader is of course the Prime Minister.
Therefore, the foreign policy line of the Japanese country is embodied in the speeches of the Prime Minister and through international meetings and meetings of the head of the cabinet, while the emperor rarely have foreign trips.
After Shinzo Abe’s resignation, there is now a discussion about who will replace him as prime minister of Japan.
Most of the names above are no stranger to Japanese and foreign observers. These are basically the members of Shinzo Abe’s cabinet. For example, current Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi or his predecessor in the years 2012-2017, Mr. Fumio Kishida. Among potential candidates include the current Japanese Defense Minister, Taro Kono.
All of these potential candidates have the same party, have been or are working in the same team under the leadership of Shinzo Abe and are unlikely to make drastic changes in foreign policy. Japanese.
Although it must be admitted that each politician still has their own style of conduct, their own ideas about this particular issue or another event, in this case if any changes seem to be just a little sharp. Thai, unscrupulous moments, and as a whole, Tokyo’s foreign policy is probably still in the same direction as when Mr Abe was in office.
Continue negotiations with Russia, maintain alliances with the US
For example, Mr. Shinzo Abe has always been seen as active in talks with Russia on the peace treaty issue between the two countries.
He has more than 20 times met with Russian President Putin. The problem remains unresolved. And it would still be difficult to undo, when the basic Japanese demand was to transfer to Tokyo the islands of the South Kuril Islands, which had joined the Soviet Union as a result of World War II.
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The Kremlin has expressed its resolve not to give up these islands. However, all Japanese politicians have included this “northern territory” on the agenda for relations with Russia. It was like that before Mr. Abe, and so it will be.
Perhaps the new Japanese prime minister will still be determined to continue this agenda, despite previous unsuccessful meetings.
And Japan’s relations with the United States will not change in the main content and preserve the military-political alliance of the two countries.
For now, this alliance ensures the security of Japan, which is still afraid of its neighbors. First of all, China, the country with a billion people has surpassed Japan in economic strength and military potential. Tokyo must be concerned with the rise of China, because Japan-China relations have never been considered simple.
The new Prime Minister as well as Mr Abe will have to be concerned with coordinating and continuing to develop relations with regional groups opposing Beijing such as the “Diamond Quartet” (The QUAD Group, including: USA, Australia, Japan and India. Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP 11) …
Ghosts of the past and challenges from neighboring countries
Tokyo’s relations with Beijing and the two countries on the Korean peninsula are influenced by the burden and ghosts of the past.
The Chinese and Koreans both want the Tokyo government to apologize for the crimes committed by the Japanese military soldiers during their occupation of these countries.
Among the candidates for the new Prime Minister position are figures who visited the Yasakuni Shrine, which is a homage to the spirits of Japanese war criminals. This move caused resentment and protests in China and on the Korean peninsula, so the new head of Japan’s cabinet would have to take into account.
As before, Pyongyang can threaten Tokyo with missile launches or nuclear tests. Therefore, the problem of resolving the situation on the Korean peninsula will be an indispensable item on the potential diplomatic agenda of the new Japanese prime minister here.
In addition, it is certain that Japan will continue to maintain partnership with the majority of other Asian countries.
The Japanese Government has always expressed its attention to ASEAN countries, which are an important area for profitable investment, seeking allies to encircle and isolate China; And the Middle East and African countries continued to preserve significance for the Tokyo government as the markets for raw materials such as oil that Japan always needed.
So why change in these directions if Japanese diplomacy is trying to make further progress there? As such, Mr Abe’s policy continues even though he is no longer the head of Japan’s cabinet.