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What Is the Impact of Tension Relationship Between Japan and China in the Past Ten Years?

In: Historical Events

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1.Background of Japan and China relationship

2. The causes of the tense relationship between Japan and China in the past ten years 2.1 The visitation of Yasukuni shrine 2.1.1 Background of Yasukuni shrine 2.1.2 Leaders of Japan and Yasukuni shrine 2.1.3Yasukuni’s international relation

2.2 The DiaoYu island incident 2.2.1 Background of DiaoYu island 2.2.2 Recent situation of DiaoYu island and its impact on economic activities

3.Effects of tense relationship between Japan and China

3.1 Negative economic effect for both countries 3.1.1 Japanese companies in China 3.1.2 Chinese workers in Japan

3.2 Economic importance 3.2.1 China as a economic partner to Japan 3.2.2 Japan as a economic partner of China 3.2.3 Japan is looking for alternative


Background of Japan and China relationship

China and Japan has been stayed in a very peaceful manner from the past 30 years. The signing of the "Sino-Japanese Joint Statement", "Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship", "Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration" built a peaceful foundation for Japan and China after World War Two.(Burns, 2000) Moreover, after Deng Xiaoping visited Japan and started his “opening-up” policy, China has opened up her economy door to Japan and the interactions of economic and culture between two countries had also reached to a peak when China became Japan’s biggest trade partner in 2004. However, for the past ten years from 2004 to 2014,there are so many political incidents such as the Prime Minister of Japan visited Yasukuni Shrine and the Diaoyu (Senkaku island )incident which has led to dissatisfaction from both countries. The political tension implicitly or explicitly gave an strong impact on the economy for both countries and it can be illustrated from the example of destroying Japanese shops and cars in China during the Diaoyu Island incident in 2010. It can be also proven by the example of the Japanese blaming China of withholding its reserves of rare earth elements in 2010. (Ankit Panda, 2014).

2.1 The visitation of Yasukuni shrine

2.1.1 Background of Yasukuni shrine

The visitation of Yasukuni Shrine is one of the causes of the tense relationship between Japan and China in the past ten years. Yasukuni Shrine was built to commemorate people who died for Japan during the wartimes, more than 2456000 divinities are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine and this include 14 Class A war criminals. (, 2014) of Japan and Yasukuni shrine and Yasukuni’s international relation

The Chinese could not accept that those Class A should not be inside the Shrine and worshiped by the people, especially by the Prime Minister of the Japan as it is very disrespectful to victim countries. The Global Times states that the conflict between two countries will lead to a “lose-lose situation” and “China has spent too many unnecessary resources and attention on Japan’s irresponsible attitude towards history.”(BBC News, 2014)

2.2 The DiaoYu island incident

2.2.1 Background of DiaoYu island
On 7th of September, 2010 a Chinese fishing craft collided with two Japanese patrol boats around the Diaoyu island known as Senkaku in Japan in the East China Sea. The Japanese coast guard arrested the Chinese fishing craft captain Zhan Qixiong. This incident has brought many protests in many cities of China, moreover, China started to withhold its reserves of rare earth elements to Japan. Politically, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao canceled the meeting with Naoto Kan on 1st of November.

2.2.2 Recent situation of DiaoYu island and its impact on economic activities

Moreover, many Japanese cars and shops were destroyed in many cities in China. The tension gets even worse when Japan had signed a contract to buy Diaoyu Island from their private owner on 11th of September. (BBC News, 2012). During the protests against Japan, many Japanese businesses and shops in China were closed for the safety purposes (, 2014). Since the 16th of September, most Chinese group tours were canceled, China Comfort Travel Group Co Ltd, one of the biggest travel agencies in China announced that its 220 branches and 5500 offices across the country have canceled the tours to Japan. (, 2014). On the same year, the people who chose to travel to Japan as a travel destination during the National Day Holiday had dropped by 30 to 50 percent compared to the same period in previous years. (, 2014)

The incident would bring huge financial loss to both countries’ travel agency and tourism industry. Acccording to the Japan National Tourism Organization

According to the figure above, the number of tourists dropped to 69713 from 121673 the previous month due to the Diaoyu island incident. Overall figures for 2012 fell by 34.3 from the previous year.

Among the 19 countries and regions surveyed by the JTA group. Chinese tourists spent the most in Japan about 12000 Yin per person. The dropping of Chinese tourists had a very big impact on Japanese economy. (, 2014)

3.1 Negative economic effect for both countries .

3.1.1 Japanese companies in China

The anti-Japanese sentiment in China together with the increasing labor costs and strikes, many Japanese firms started to shut down their companies in China and moved to other regions.

“Japanese companies should learn how to leave from China as soon as they enter it. They should review corprate charters just in case,” stated by Akihiro Maekawa. The anti-Japanese sentiment in China is so strong which makes Japanese firm no longer popular in China or the Diaoyu Islands dispute and the consequenet anti-Japan protests just reminded the Japanese firms in China to change their investment strategy and it is a must to move out from China.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Chinese officials welcome Japanese firm as the domestic economy is not running good during those years. The influx of Japanese firms will create jobs and pay tax to the government. Also, many Japanese companies practices life employment even though the companies are in overseas, It makes working in a Japaanese company a very popular choice and many Chinese have benefited through working in the Japanese companies.

3.1.2 Chinese workers in Japan
The Chinese workers in Japan is a very small percentage of total Japanese workforce and most Chinese workers come through the back door due to “guanxi” and relationship. Students in Japanese language school can work 28 hours a week, but many students are holding more than one job and working for more than 28 hours. The trend of Japanese companies hiring more Chinese is increasing,to allow employees to know both countries and open Chinese market in the future. In Japan, as the right-wings supporters are not in a big percentage so that most of the Chinese workers are not influenced by the incident.

3.2 Economic importance

3.2.1 China as a economic partner to Japan

China is the biggest trading partner to Japan with total trade volume of $301.9 billion dollars in 2010. It almost doubled United States of $185.4 billions.

Country Exports Imports Total Trade China 149.1 152.8 301.9 United States 118.2 67.2 185.4 South Korea 62.1 28.5 90.6 Taiwan 52.2 23.0 75.2 Australia 15.8 45.0 60.8 Thailand 34.1 21.0 55.0 Indonesia 15.9 28.1 44.0 Hong Kong 42.1 1.5 43.7 Saudi Arabia 6.5 35.8 42.2 Malaysia 17.6 22.6 40.2 Germany 20.2 19.2 39.5 United Arab Emirates 7.3 29.2 36.5 Singapore 25.1 8.1 33.3 Russia 8.0 16.1 24.1 Qatar 1.1 21.6 22.8

Thus, it is very easy to see that China is very important to Japan as a trading partner.

3.2.2 Japan as a economic partner of China

The below graph shows the figure of trade when Japan is considered as an economic partner of China in 2011.

Region Exports Imports[1] Total trade Trade balance Hong Kong 268.0 15.5 283.5 +252.5 United States 324.5 122.2 446.7 +202.3 European Union 356.0 211.2 567.2 +144.8 India 50.5 23.4 73.9 +27.1 Russia 38.9 40.3 79.2 -1.4 Brazil 31.8 52.4 84.2 -20.6 ASEAN 170.1 192.8 362.9 -22.7 Japan 148.3 194.6 342.9 -46.3 South Korea 82.9 162.7 245.6 -79.8 Taiwan 35.1 124.9 160.0 -89.8

Japan is not the biggest trading partner and it is only the third biggest in 2011. Therefore, the dependency of economic activity is different which makes China stands in a relatively advantage position.

3.2.3 Japan is looking for alternative

Since the hatred sentiment in China is so high, the Japanese firms are looking for alternative. The labor cost in China has been rising steadily at a rate above 10% every year, and the average monthly wage is $439 in Shanghai, $325 in Manila,$286 in Bangkok, $135 in Ho Chi Minh and only $68 in Myanmar. (Kuchikomi, 2012).Japan can set up their firms in any of those places above. It is clearly shown that in 2013, there is a 18% fall in the direct investments in China, but they doubled in Southeast Asia. Some of the firms stated the reason for shifting companies was due to the rising wages, but the main reason was a rising political risk for Japanese business operating in China.(Ivanovitch, 2014)

In conclusion, Japan and China’s tension in politics will directly affect the economy and business of both countries. From the analysis, it is bad if both countries continue this situation in the long run. Both countries have been in a “hot in economic, but cold in politic” situation, and it is not going to sustain in the long run. It is essential for both countries to solve the historical and political issue first then continue a long and sustainable economic friendly long term friendly relationship.

Ankit Panda, T. (2014). WTO Finds Chinese Rare Earth Export Restrictions in Violation of International Trade Law. [online] The Diplomat. Available at: [Accessed 18 Sep. 2014].

BBC News, (2012). China sends ships in islands row. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

BBC News, (2014). China media: Yasukuni shrine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

Burns, K. (2000). China and Japan: Economic Partnership to Political Ends. Economic Confidence-building and Regional Security, Washington, DC: Henry L. Stimson Center, pp.27--58., (2014). China Ready News | Chinese in Japan: Return of the Big Spenders. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014]., (2014). Chinese tourists canceling their trips to Japan Islands dispute with China may hurt Japanese .... [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

Ivanovitch, M. (2014). China and Japan decoupling business from politics?. [online] CNBC. Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

Kuchikomi, (2012). China less attractive to Japanese firms - but not because of riots ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014]., (2014). Japan businesses shuttered in China as protests rage | Toronto Star. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014]., (2014). About Yasukuni Shrine│Yasukuni Shrine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

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