Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly being threatened by China, and like-minded nations should work together to resist such threats, Japanese politicians said.
Japanese House of Representatives members Keiji Furuya and Masahisa Sato made the comments in a video played on Friday at a conference held by the Taiwan Japan Academy in Taipei.
Furuya praised President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration for its efforts in reinforcing exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia through the New Southbound Policy.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Taiwan also has interests in the Pacific Islands region, but they have come under threat from China in the past few years, he said, adding that the issue was discussed at this year’s Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, which was held online in July.
PALM is a gathering of the Japanese government and leaders of Pacific island nations, held once every three years.
Taiwan’s successes in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic could serve as a model for other countries, he said, adding that countries that share values with Taiwan and Japan should cooperate to safeguard peace and the international order.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Sato, a Liberal Democratic Party member, said the party had recently formed a committee to discuss Taiwan-related government policies, and offer suggestions to the Japanese administration.
The party is seeking to improve ties with Taiwan, he said.
Yasuhiro Matsuda, a professor of international politics at the University of Tokyo, told the online meeting that Japanese politicians cannot easily be classified as favorable toward China, or either of Taiwan’s major political parties.
Making such distinctions when discussing Japanese politicians is common among Taiwanese, but Japanese politicians do not align themselves in such a way, he said.
Taiwanese discourse on Japanese politics also often mistakenly compares Japan with the US, glosses over Japan’s diplomatic ties with China and lack of such ties with Taiwan, and mistakenly assumes that Japanese politics are rigidly set in place, he said.
“Taiwanese are not alone in applying labels to people like this, but the issue is particularly apparent in Taiwan. Taiwanese discourse labels people ‘pro-China,’ ‘pro-this party’ or ‘pro-that party,’” he said. “Taiwanese apply these labels to politicians from all over the world as a way to simplify discussion.”
Taiwanese tend to say that someone who emphasizes Japan-China relations is “pro-China,” someone who meets with Tsai is “pro the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP),” and someone who meets with former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is “pro the Chinese Nationalist Party,” he said.
“Yet, it is possible that the same Japanese politician is all three,” he said. “Japanese officials and academics cannot be labeled like that. They tend to just act based on personal experience and the current political climate.”
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