China’s Perception and Policy toward Japan in the 2000s Case Study: China’s Anti-Japan Campaign in 2005
This chapter systematically examines the evolution of the attitude of China’s strategic elites toward Japan (indirect perception) in the 2000s by dividing this stance into four groups of strategic perceptions: US-centric Pessimism, US-centric Optimism, Periphery First, and Globalism. Yun Zhang finds that China’s inconsistent policy toward Japan is mainly a result of the competition of these strategic perceptions. As China understands that the stakes with the US would be high, a signal to the US can be channeled via Sino–Japanese relations so as to avoid direct confrontation with the US. The case study of China’s strong diplomacy toward Japan in 2005 (the anti-Koizumi campaign and opposition to Japan’s attempt at seeking a permanent seat on the UN Security Council) will be analyzed in order to support the argument. Although there were also large-scale anti-Japanese demonstrations in China, and China’s strong signals seemed oriented toward Japan, the real audience was the US. The largely unintended “spillover” effects that left a negative mark on Japan’s perceptions toward China could be seen in this case study in 2005.