People’s Daily Online on Economic Sanctions against Japan: “Don’t Hurt the Friends, don’t Please the Enemy”

The following is a translation of an article published by People’s Daily Online (人民网) on September 18, 2012.

Links within blockquotes were added during translation.

The article focuses on two levels of sanctions: government-level (with a very cautious attitude) and “non-governmental boycotts” (with an “understanding” attitude).  In terms of business, the article addresses losses that China would incur in terms of technological progress if it took comprehensive “countermeasures” against Japan. Further down, the article suggests that rare-earth sanctions against Japan had basically backfired, in or since 2010.

Rather than expressing an editorial stance of its own, the article quotes a number of academics. The subtitles within the following translation are not part of the original article.

Main Link: 打经济战 中国承受力定比日本强? – People’s Daily Online, September 18, 2012
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Economic Sanctions: Not while Japan maintains its Technological Edge

[...] Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei said recently that the so-called “islands purchase” by Japan (Diaoyu Islands) made it hard to avoid negative impacts on Sino-Japanese trade relations.

因日本对中国固有领土钓鱼岛进行所谓“国有化”,中日关系再度降温,由此引发的寒潮在经贸领域已经有首当其冲的显现。商务部副部长姜增伟日前表示,日方的所谓“购岛”(钓鱼岛)行为,难以避免地会对中日经贸关系产生负面影响。

In Chinese public opinion, voices sympathetic to terrorizing Japan by economic sanctions have emerged, which say with certainty that Japan’s economy was more dependent on China than vice versa. Even if economic and trade confrontation had the killing power of weapons on both sides, China’s ability to bear that was far stronger than Japan’s. However, to “play the economic card needed to be done  cautiously, and the two countries’ abilities to bear this be judged by seeking the truth in the facts, and this issue be dealt with rationally and objectively”. Recently, a scholar with a good knowledge of Sino-Japanese economic and trade issues talked with this People’s Daily Online reporter.

中国舆论中已出现用经济制裁威慑日本的声音,并言之凿凿:日本经济对中国经济的依存度高于中国对日本。虽然中日经贸对峙对双方都有杀伤力,但中国承受能力远高于日本。然而,“打经济牌必须慎重,要实事求是地评估两国的承受力,理性客观地对待这个问题。”近日,谙熟中日经贸事务的学者如是告诉人民网记者。

Japan’s economy entered a long-term depression in the 1980s, with exports as the main driving force in economic development. Although European and American markets were the main factors in influencing Japan’s economy, China’s influence was no insignificant factor either.

自上世纪80年代中期始,日本经济陷入长期萧条,出口是其经济发展的最主要动力。虽然欧美市场是影响日本经济的最主要因素,但是对日本经济而言,中国因素早已不可忽视。

China is currently Japan’s biggest trading partner and its biggest export market. According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance statistics, Japan’s trade with and its exports to China stand at 19.7 percent and 20.6 percent respectively, in its total amount of foreign trade. After the European Union, America, and ASEAN, Japan is China’s fourth-largest trading partner.

中国是目前日本最大的贸易伙伴和最大出口对象国。据日本财务省统计,2011年日本对华贸易和对华出口将分别占日本外贸总额和出口总额的19.7%和20.6%。而日本在欧盟、美国、东盟之后,是中国的第四大贸易伙伴。

Analysts have pointed out that Japan’s economy is more dependent on China than vice versa. Even if economic and trade confrontation had the killing power of weapons on both sides, China’s ability to bear that was far stronger than Japan’s. Once China started economic and trade sanctions against Japan, this could lead to a Japanese economic crisis.

有分析人士指出,日本经济对中国经济的依存度高于中国对日本。虽然中日经贸对峙对双方都有杀伤力,但中国承受能力远高于日本。一旦中方启动经济制裁,可能引发日本经济危机。

Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the National Japanese Economic Research Institute, told this People’s Daily Online reporter that taking economic countermeasures against Japan’s economy could have a greater than on China in theory. “However, the so-called ability to bear” is no mere matter of numbers.

而全国日本经济学会研究员冯昭奎则告诉人民网记者,对日本采取经济上的反制措施,理论上日本受到的影响大于中国。“但是所谓的‘承受能力’却不是光用数字就能够衡量的。

Feng Zhaokui says that since 2002, in Sino-Japanese trade, China has always recorded a trade deficit, mainly because much of the trade was in the field of production. The levels of bilateral import and export differed, and the weight of technological content differed. In the industry chain, Japan stood at the high end, and China mainly imported key core technological components from Japan, with high technological content, much added value, and if these imports were affected, the industrial chain would see disrupture, which would damage China’s production. Even as Sino-Japanese trade was gradually transforming from a vertical division of labor to a horizontal pattern, Japan generally was the side with goods of high technological content, high added value and maintained an edge there.

冯昭奎说,自2002年以来,在中日贸易中,中方一直处于逆差状态,主要原因在于中日之间在生产领域内的贸易所占比重较大。中日双方的进出口产品层次不同,技术含量不同。日本处于产业链的高端,中国从日本主要进口关键的核心零部件,技术含量高、附加值高,如果进口受影响,产业链将面临断裂,对中国将产生损害。尽管中日之间的贸易结构正在逐步从垂直分工向水平分工方向转化,但总体来看,日本在技术含量高、附加值高的产品方面仍占优势。

According to surveys, Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) in China in 2011 was at 6.35 billion US dollars, an increase of 49.7 percent compared with the previous year. This was abut 40 percentage points more than the increase in what China attracted in overall FDI (9.72 percent). Japanese investment in China supported Japan’s economic recovery and growth; it also contributed to China’s economic development. Hasty economic sanctions against Japan could lead to Japanese companies withdrawal from China.

调查显示,2011年日本对华直接投资实际到位资金63.48亿美元,同比增速高达49.7%,而中国实际吸引外资增幅为9.72%,与此相比整整高出近40个百分点。日本对华投资有力地支持了日本经济的复苏和增长,也对中国经济的发展做出了贡献。如果轻率地对日本使用经济制裁,可能会导致在华日企撤离中国。

“China’s economic growth this year is voluntarily restricted to eight percent, which is to say that we are approaching the lower limit”, says Feng, as China adds twenty million new workforce annually. Our country has entered a period of accelerated promotion of economic transformation, it faces growing pressures from the global economy which complicate the external environment, with growing uncertain factors such as if the economy can maintain needed growth, and the job market may suffer blows. “Therefore, the economic card must be played cautiously, and the two countries’ ability to bear this be judged by seeking the truth in the facts, and this issue be dealt with rationally and objectively”.

“今年中国的经济增长率将自行控制在8%,对我们来说,是接近下线的。”冯昭奎说,而中国每年新增劳动力一两千万。我国已经进入加快推进经济转型的关键时期,面临着世界经济下行压力增大的复杂外部环境,不确定因素增强,如果经济不能保持适当的增速,就业市场就会受到冲击。“所以,打经济牌必须慎重,要实事求是地评估两国的承受力,理性客观地对待这个问题。”

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The Rare-Earths Card

Among the economic-sanction measures discussed recently, limiting exports of rare earths to Japan has been most frequent. Many people say that when it comes to rare-earths resources, Japan will continue to depend heavily on China in the near future, and therefore, China should play the “rare-earth card”.

在近日经济制裁日本的诸多措施中,限制对日稀土出口是讨论得最多的。不少人士表示,日本在稀土资源近期仍将倚重中国,因此中国可打出“稀土牌”。

According to the Nihon Kezai Shimbun, Japan’s imports of rare earths frm China have fallen by 3007 tons during the first six months of 2012, i. e. 49.3 percent of Japan’s total imports. These imports were reduced by fifty percent within half a year. Before 2009, 90 percent of Japan’s rare-earths imports came from China.

而据《日本经济新闻》报道,2012年1到6月份,日本从中国进口的稀土资源下降到3007吨,仅占全部输入总量的49.3%,半年内减少了50%。而在2009年之前,日本的稀土资源9成以上都需依靠中国进口。

China got a lesson, in terms of economic sanctions”, Feng believes. In 2010, Japan had illegally detained the captain of a Chinese trawler. Although China hadn’t openly acknowledged the use of economic sanctions, practically, China temporarily halted rare-earths exports and created temporary difficulties for Japan at the time. “But in fact, Japan mainly cried out, and had already got prepared. Their inventories were ample.

“在经济制裁方面,中国是有教训的。”冯昭奎认为,2010年,日本非法扣押中国渔船船长。中国虽然没有公开承认使用了经济制裁,但事实上中国暂停了对日稀土出口,当时给日本造成一时困难。“但其实困难主要是日本叫唤出来的,他们早就有备无患,存货很多。”

China holds only one-third of the global rare-earth reserves, but currently supplies some 90 percent of the worldwide quantity. “There are countries rich in rare earths, too, and their technological ability to produce them has increased” Feng Zhaokui says. After China had restricted imports of rare earths in 2010, Japan resumed research of resources policies, and especially decided that it couldn’t depend on only one country for rare minerals and rare metals. These days, Australia, Malaysia and other countries rare-earth projects are developing very smoothly.

中国的稀土储量只占世界的三分之一,却承担了目前国际市场上90%的供应量。“国外也有稀土资源丰富的国家,而且有技术,这两年里他们把稀土生产搞上来了。”冯昭奎说,2010年中国限制稀土出口后,日本就重新研究了资源政策,尤其决定稀土及稀有金属不能只依赖一个国家。如今澳大利亚、马来西亚等地的稀土项目,进展得都很顺利。

“As far as our talk about having a monopoly position on rare earths, other countries have caught up, and we haven’t increased our technological content, and we haven’t upgraded the industrial change. Our competitiveness in the field of rare earths has been greatly affected.”

“而我们总说在稀土产量上有垄断地位,但是现在其他国家赶上来了,我们却没有提高技术含量,升级产业链,在稀土产业竞争力方面大受影响。”

Feng believes that rare earths won’t restrain Japan anymore, and that they are no longer a card that could be played. If one wanted to impose economic sanctions, one had to take the rare-earths lessons into account.

冯昭奎认为,稀土已经制约不了日本,不再是一张牌。如果要采取经济制裁措施,一定要吸取稀土教训。

In the wake of the heightened temperatures from the Diaoyu Islands’ issue, another popular surge in “boycotting Japanese goods” and even a low in travels to Japan are inevitable. Information from all travel agencies say that since September, the number of group travels to Japan had gone down drastically, and some travel agencies have stopped Japan travel services altogether. Numbers released by the Chinese automotive industry on September 10 show that compared with last year’s same period, August sales of Japanese cars had dropped by two percent. From August, Japanese goods such as household appliances had also gone down in China.

在钓鱼岛事件升温之际,“抵制日货”的浪潮不可避免地在民众中再次掀起,连带着赴日旅游也遭遇低谷。来自各大旅行社的消息称,进入9月份以来,赴日旅游成团数量急剧减少,有的旅行社则干脆停止赴日旅游业务。中国汽车工业协会9月10日公布数据显示,与上年同期比较,8月日系车销量下降2%。而8月份以来,日系品牌家电在中国销售额也整体大跌。

Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei said on a press conference that given Japanese violations of Chinese territory, Chinese consumers had a right to express their position in reasonable manners, and that we should express understanding for that.

商务部副部长姜增伟近日在记者会上表示,针对日方侵犯中国领土主权的行为,中国消费者以理性的方式表达其立场和他们的一些想法,是他们的权利,我们对此应该表示理解。

“Reach for the wine when friends arrive, and reach for the gun when enemies arrive”, China Academy of Social Science Japan Institute director Gao Hong told People’s Daily Online reporter in an interview. The Chinese people have shown patriotic enthusiasm, and spontaneous boycotts of Japanese goods was a right which gave no cause for criticism. “However, we need to distinguish between the non-governmental and the governmental level when it comes to the economic card. At the government level, more economic policies need to be adjusted to each other.”

“朋友来了有好酒,敌人来了有猎枪,”中国社科院日本所副所长高洪在接受人民网记者采访时也如是说,中国人民出于爱国热情,自发地抵制日本产品,是自己的权利,无可厚非。“但是经济牌要有区分,政府层面和民间层面的牌是不一样的,政府层面更多的是进行经济政策的调整。”

Liu Gang, professor at the Okinawa University, pointed out in a number of media that to sanction a country, other countries’ support was frequently required. To mobilize international sanctions against Japan, these needed to be adopted by the United Nations. That’s how so-called sanctions would be legitimate. If one country high-handedly reached for the big stick of economic sanctions, this didn’t only deviate from WTO principles, but also give rise to gossip and a series of other side effects.

日本冲绳大学教授刘刚在此前的媒体评论中分析指出,制裁一个国家,通常应该有其他国家的支持。如若真要动用国际力量制裁日本,有必要提请联合国通过。这样,所谓的制裁行动才具有正当性。如果一国妄自舞起经济制裁大棒,不仅容易偏离WTO原则,更易授人口实,引起一连串的副作用。

“As for economic sanctions, I believe that generally-speaking, it isn’t China’s position that they should be a tool in handling international relations”, Qu Xing, director of the China Institute of International Studies, clearly points out.

“对于经济制裁,我觉得中国一般地讲,不主张把制裁作为处理国际关系的一个手段。”中国国际问题研究所所长曲星明确地指出。

Gao Hong also told the People’s Daily Online reporter that as far as countermeasures were concerned, these were meant to subdue the other side. Countermeasures needed to correspond with the other side’s provocation. If Japan didn’t continuously act provocatively on the economic level, countermeasures on a governmental level could usually not be carried out. After Japan’s so-called “nationalization” [of three of the Senkaku islands - JR], China had announced its points about the Diaoyu territorial seas, institutionalized the dispatch of naval patrol boats, and submitted material and cartography to the United Nations, etc.. These “combined punches” had already hit Japan where it was vulnerable.

高洪也告诉人民网记者,就反制来讲,反制是针对对方进攻所采取的反击制服的斗争手段。反制和挑衅的层次和力度相当。如果日本在经济上没有进一步的挑衅行为,政府层面的经济反制一般不会进行。在日本对钓鱼岛进行所谓“国有化”后,中方随即公布钓鱼岛领海基线基点,派海监船对钓鱼岛实施常态化监测,以及向联合国提交钓鱼岛坐标表和海图等,这一套“组合拳”已经击中日本的要害。

Liu Gang believes that Japan’s established policy of swallowing the Diaoyu Islands is an international problem, and China didn’t need to oblique references to that. The best approach would be tit-for-tat, to confine oneself to the facts, to make representations when needed, and to let strength and actions speak – to learn from Russia meant to use strength as a backup, with less talk and more action.

刘刚认为,吞下钓鱼岛已经是日本的既定方针和国是问题,对此问题,中国没必要再旁敲侧击,又何必冀望于“歪打”迂回,反而最好针锋相对,就事论事,该怎么交涉就怎么交涉,让实力和行动说话。学习俄罗斯,以实力做后盾,少说多做。

The Diaoyu issue is inherited from history, as many experts say. The struggle for the Diaoyu Islands is a long-term one and can’t be done overnight. This is only the first round of the struggle, and the struggle needed long-term preparation. China’s departments in charge also state clearly that they reserve the right to all kinds of action. Since a long-term struggle was needed, strategies needed to be made, orders [of approaches], and sequences of goals. Nothing should be done on the spur of sentiments, and not in a way that would “hurt friends and please the enemies”.

正如近期不少专家学者所说,钓鱼岛问题是历史遗留问题。关于钓鱼岛的斗争是长期的,不能一蹴而就。现在只是斗争的第一回合,要做斗争的长期准备。中国相关部门也明确表示,保留一切行动的权利。既然要做长期斗争,就要讲策略、讲次序、讲阶段性目的,不能意气用事,做令“亲者痛、仇者快”之事。

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Related

» Making Patriotism Useful, Sep 17, 2012
» The Nine-Dotted Line, Foarp, Sep 30, 2011
» Collision with Sth Korean Coast Guard, Dec 18, 2010
» A Nefarious Turn, Sep 25, 2010

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