Japan’s foreign minister says “Taiwan domestic”, a change in positioning towards Taiwan?

The aftermath of Japan’s vaccine gift to Taiwan has been turbulent. Some scholars in Taiwan noticed that Japanese Foreign Minister Toshichika Mogi used the word “Taiwan domestic” in the parliamentary inquiry on the gift of vaccines to Taiwan, which is quite unusual, does it mean that Japan’s positioning towards Taiwan has changed? We interviewed a number of Japanese experts who presented polarized interpretations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshichika Mogi said in the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Diet on June 3, when answering a question on vaccine delivery to Taiwan, “After July in Taiwan, a domestic production system will be set up, and we recognize that there is an urgent need in Taiwan.”

Chen Yongfeng, director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Tunghai University in Taiwan, observed Foreign Minister Shigeki’s second use of “Taiwan domestic” and “domestic”, which was apparently unusual, and posted on Facebook, “Foreign Minister Shigeki’s The Chinese Foreign Ministry forgot to protest the ‘Taiwan domestic’ statement. #Japan deliberately China also deliberately.”

Chen Yongfeng China does not want to flip with Japan at this moment for core interests

Chen Yongfeng 8 interview with Radio Free Asia analysis: “has been very obvious, the parliamentary proceedings will be recorded in, permanently saved. The foreign minister’s speech is very heavy, heavy weight, so the ‘Taiwan domestic’ deliberately said, you can hardly say he was a slip of the tongue, and later did not correct. There has been no very strong protest from the Chinese side so far, and both sides have let it pass, so I can fully judge this to be a very important turning point in Japan’s view of Taiwan from now on.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Blinken publicly referred to Taiwan as a “country” when he appeared before the federal House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 10. The U.S. White House on June 3, the first release of foreign aid vaccine list of Asian countries (countries), Taiwan will be listed alongside the country, the White House after the list of Asia to “countries and entities (countries and entities)”.

According to Chen Yongfeng, the U.S. and Japanese foreign ministers called Taiwan a “country” with relevance, “The United States certainly considers Taiwan a country. It is very strange that U.S. military aircraft entered Taiwan, which is ‘part of Chinese territory,’ and there is no doubt that Taiwan and China are different political bodies. But the fact that China’s protest is not so obvious is of concern, which means that China may still want something from Japan, or it does not want to target China’s core interests and directly turn the tables on Japan now.”

Chen Yongfeng mentioned that Japan’s prime minister was re-elected in September, and recent polls show that incumbent Prime Minister Kan Yoshihide’s approval rating has fallen to the lowest since he took office, and that “anti-China” is in line with mainstream public opinion and Japanese interests.

The first to disclose the news of Japan’s vaccine donation to Taiwan, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun’s Taipei branch director Akio Yabata, also said in an interview with Radio Free Asia that Shigeru speaks of “Taiwan country” and “Taiwan domestic”, which is a big change.

Yaban Akio: In the past, everyone gave face to China

Yaban Akio said: “Imagine going back ten years, if this foreign minister can say so, this may cause an international uproar, and then may have to force the foreign minister to resign. Calling Taiwan a country is against Japan’s basic foreign policy, because Japan does not recognize Taiwan as a country. But now this situation, China has become a street rat, the Japanese Foreign Minister said this, surprisingly, in Japanese public opinion, the Japanese opposition party, we basically did not say anything, even China is embarrassed to protest, so how not to say Xi Jinping is the total gas pedal it? This is all the aftermath of China’s so-called war-wolf diplomacy in the past year or two.”

Akio Yaban mentioned the expansion of the Sino-Japanese conflict from the Diaoyu Islands, the Chinese Maritime Police Law, to this vaccine delivery. In the past, Sino-Japanese relations or relations between countries around the world are “you respect me a foot, I respect you a ten foot”, China has asked the international community not to recognize Taiwan as a country, so give him a face. This time Japan’s aid to Taiwan, China has been obstructing, Japan is also very upset, they are doing a good thing to help others, you are there to say something, and still obstructing? This is the same as tearing your face off, then the Japanese foreign minister does not matter.

Doesn’t mean the one-China policy is loosening

Yaban Akio mentioned that Japanese officials have always been cautious in their speeches, “when talking about Taiwan people will be very concerned about the small details, intentionally avoiding the word ‘country’. In other words, it is to give China a face, since it gives you a face, we do not care. Of course, the Foreign Minister said this, belongs to the mantra, a bit of verbal pleasure, it does not necessarily mean that he said so, it means that Japan can recognize Taiwan is a country, but at least not as tied up as before. “

Zhongshan University China and Asia-Pacific Regional Research Institute Professor Guo Yuren interviewed by Radio Free Asia, judged that Foreign Minister Shigeki indeed Taiwan as a “national subject”, he wants to avoid the “Taiwan domestic”, “domestic vaccines If he wants to avoid the words “Taiwan domestic” and “domestic vaccine”, he can use “Taiwan internal”, “local”, “self-developed”, etc. There are actually many alternative words.

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The company’s main business is to promote the development of the company’s products and services. In accordance with the practice of the Japanese parliamentary questioning, before a member of parliament questions an official, his questioning script will be sent to the official first, and the official is to prepare a reply according to the written questioning script put forward by the member of parliament, so Shigeki is actually looking at the script in answering these questions, and he has the script in his hand.”

Guo Yuren said that Foreign Minister Shigeki belongs to the conservative faction, and his ideology is closer to that of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is relatively sensitive to the threat of China and speaks bluntly and boldly. The other day, the U.S.-Japan two plus two talks, Shigeki has criticized the provocative behavior caused by the Chinese threat.

Guo Yuren mentioned that the U.S. Department of Defense’s Indo-Pacific Strategy last June and the U.S. Department of State’s Indo-Pacific Vision report last November have both written “Taiwan” specifically as “country”. In addition, three U.S. lawmakers recently flew a C-17 military aircraft to Taipei’s Songshan Airport to take off from a short field to “show off their muscles.

He Sishen: Shigeru has no intention of calling Taiwan a “country” and the relationship with China will not be so bad as to break the bones

However, there are also experts who hold a different view. He Sishen, a professor of Japanese at Fu Jen Catholic University, was interviewed by Radio Free Asia and stressed that the independence faction would be happy to see the Chinese characters translated as “Taiwan domestic”, but he believes that the Japanese Foreign Minister does not mean that at all.

He said, “In fact, the Japanese Foreign Minister would not say that. If he said that, mainland China would break off diplomatic relations with him, which is possible! Even if the Biden administration is now in fierce competition and even confrontation with China in many places, the United States will not hurt the bones, so that the entire U.S.-China relationship will be destroyed, Japan is the same.”

He Sishen also said that the Japanese Prime Minister Kan mentioned that the 30 million vaccine aid is also spoken to the country and the region, and yesterday the Prime Minister mentioned in the parliamentary question and answer that the consistent position of the Taiwan issue is to be resolved peacefully by the parties. Japanese officials are cautious in answering Taiwan issues, especially in the parliamentary questioning session to leave a record, must be in accordance with Japan’s diplomatic position, that is, the post-war San Francisco Peace Treaty, Article II of the identification of Taiwan, Shigeki’s meaning is more precise within the Taiwan region, Taiwan part. The Chinese mainland is more careful to describe Taiwan as “the island”.

Li Jiajin: Vaccine is a life-saving issue, won’t get involved in politics

The former president of the Association for Asia-East (now known as “Taiwan-Japan”) Relations, Li Jiajin, in an interview with Radio Free Asia, also believes that Mogi speaks of “Taiwan” and “domestic” with a pause in between, which is the secret of diplomatic rhetoric. He is convinced that there is no need to involve politics when the Japanese foreign minister talks about vaccines.

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Li Jiajin mentioned that he had received a visit to Taiwan’s Shigeki, Shigeki was the LDP Grand Whip, Minister of Economic and Trade, speaking in a calm and steady manner. However, Li Jiajin said he observed that any country that holds a joint press conference with the United States will not be too soft on China, but it is not accurate to judge the country’s position on this, after all, a big brother standing behind, how can the little brother show weakness?