Diplomatic Relations: Boring Dogs, Casual Oppression, and Poor Career Decisions

Japan’s new ambassador to China, Masato Kitera (木寺昌人), will watch China’s Japan policies closely, Huanqiu Shibao quotes China Radio International online (国际在线, CRI) – which in turn had quoted Kyodo News, from an interview on Thursday. No matter which shape Japan’s next government would take, diplomatic relations with China would be important. There was nothing supernatural in the world of diplomacy, and problems in politics could only be solved with by perseverance. An emergence of new problems couldn’t be ruled out, but he would then have to address and explain them in good faith.

Japanese analysts had close contacts with Japan’s governing Democratic Party, and given his rank as assistent chief cabinet secretary, the government’s decision to appoint him as the country’s ambassador to China showed some kind of importance attached to relations with China, and serious efforts to break the current confrontative deadlock. However, Huanqiu also quotes views that the Noda government was approaching a defeat in the coming elections, and a new government could make it difficult for Kitera to be influential in its policies towards China.

According to the usual Huanqiu emoticons underneath the article, eighteen reader-voters find the article (or the news it contains boring, and thirteen find it ridiculous. Only one is “angry”.

A commenter finds it tiresome to see that meaningless (or boring) Japanese dog again. It should leave and pick up one of the bones from its American daddy instead, the commenter suggests. Another expresses hope that some day, there would be no need to attach importance to Japan which was just a dog (what else). “Let’s strengthen ourselves, and casually oppress Japan.”

But generally, the boredom appears to be genuine: there were only five comments during the first hour (if not two hours) the article had been online.

Masato Kitera was chosen as ambassador in early October this year. According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on October 6, he is a career diplomat with little Chinese experience, but renowned for his mediating skills.

In contrast to CRI/Huanqiu’s comparatively optimistic news article today, the SCMP article in October quoted Zhou Yongsheng (周永生), a Japanese affairs expert at China Foreign Affairs University, as saying that [n]aming someone who has no China experience simply tells us that Tokyo does not pay much attention to Sino-Japanese ties.

Zhou Yongsheng had appeared to be more sanguine in July this year. When Japan’s current ambassador, Uichiro Niwa, left Beijing for a brief return to Tokyo to report on Chinese actions concerning the Senkaku Islands, Zhou suggested that the Japanese government wanted to gain first-hand information about China’s attitude concerning the Diaoyu Islands. And [t]he Japanese government has become aware of the trend of ever-stronger Chinese reactions concerning the Diaoyu Islands, and the need to attach importance to Chinese reactions and trends, Zhou believed back then.

Shanghaiist, also in October, kind of agreed with Zhou’s second thoughts: Kitera was […] a man who has never served in any important roles related to China and (by taking this post) clearly makes poor career decisions.

Kitera will reportedly be posted in Beijing on December 25.



» Too Complex to keep the Peace, Sep 18, 2012
» Fully Understood, July 27, 2010


2 Comments to “Diplomatic Relations: Boring Dogs, Casual Oppression, and Poor Career Decisions”

  1. I found an interesting article in the FT, which says “Philippines backs the rearming of Japan”. At least for now, nothing but one refers to Philippines foreign minister’s comment in Japanese news reports. But I think more attention should be focused on it, especially in Japan and China, given that the new government led by a well-known conservative, who insists on amending the current pacifism constitution, will likely emerge after the next Sunday’s election.

    Still, It’s less likely, in my opinion, that the next government, be it conservative or other, completely changes the article of 9 in the constitution, which stipulates the pacific nature of Japanese army, because concerns should arise not only in Asia with dark memories of Japanese occupation but the US, Japan’s biggest ally. The rearming of Japan is supposed to compromise the US-Japan military treaty. Domestic opinion still mostly prefers to the current constitution, opposing the amendment.

    Anyway, China’s confrontational foreign policy risks to the awakening of the old ghost, which should have been the nightmare for China.


  2. Just heard that the printed edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung carried an article about a possible Chinese-Japanese arms race today, in cooperation with the New York Times. Strikes me as sort of funny that two ageing societies (China and Japan) would make big investments in military hardware. Flying remote-controlled drones may become a pensioners’ sport in the parks, or mini-aircraft carriers in their ponds, thus replacing Taijiquan or whatever.

    As for China, I think that a siege mentality actually suits the CCP well – their concern about free navigation may not be small, but the more the public gets the impression that China is under a potentail (or existing) “blockade”, the more “stability” may be achievable at home.

    Seems the Inquirer (an overseas Filipino website/paper) now carries the story about Manila supporting Japan dropping its pacifist constitution to become a fully fledged military force and act as a balance against a rising China, too.

    That would be no small thing, in the light of history.


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