#27 Kishida’s diplomatic talks, Pro-china attitude, Bayern visits Tokyo port, Japan's defence spending, Digitalized garden cities, Superconductors electronic research.
Here is a brief on the biweekly(1st- 15th, Nov.).
The new Japanese Prime Minister’s cabinet approval rating steps up
Along the sidelines of COP26, Kishida held in-person talks with other national leaders
Bayern, the German navy frigate, made a port call in Tokyo
Japan is considering doubling its defence spending
The US and Japan together account for a majority of Superconductor electronic related research
1. Japanese Prime Minister’s diplomatic talks:
According to a Kyodo News survey, the approval rating of the new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office in October, is at 58.1 per cent and has improved by 2.4 percentage points. Along the sidelines of the climate summit, Kishida had in-person talks with leaders of the US, Australia, Britain and Vietnam. Kishida affirmed strengthening bilateral ties and having a deeper engagement in the Indo-pacific region with the US president, Joe Biden. Furthermore, in his talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the leaders agreed to accelerate the finalization of a deal that will help smoothen the procedures related to holding joint exercises between the countries’ defence forces.
With the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Kishida vowed to improve bilateral and quadrilateral ties, involving the US and India in a grouping of the nations called the QUAD. Kishida also spoke with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and agreed to improve supply chain issues and promote Japanese defence exports.
2. Pro-China attitude:
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida appointed Yoshimasa Hayashi, former defence and education minister, as Japan’s new Foreign Minister. Hayashi heads a cross-party lawmakers’ group that promotes China-Japan ties. China, some Foreign policy observers and, LDP party members hope he will work with a pro-China attitude. On the other side, Kishida has created a new post of special advisor to the Prime Minister on human rights. The person in charge will watch human rights violations, including those in China, such as the Uyghur Muslims and Hong Kong issue. The former Defense Minister, Gen Nakatani, has been appointed for the position. Nakatani has advocated imposing sanctions on officials believed to be human rights offenders.
3. South Korea’s opposition leader vows to mend ties with Japan:
South Korea’s opposition party member Lee Jun Seok stressed the importance of mending the relationship with Japan and promised to fix bilateral ties if the party’s nominee, Yoon Suk Yeol, comes to power. The bilateral relationship has been at its lows under the current president Moon Jae-in. Japan has been at odds with South Korea over territorial and historical issues since World War II. The bilateral ties further deteriorated when South Korea’s court ordered a Japanese company to compensate for forced labour during WW-II in 2018.
1. Germany to deepen commitment in the Indo-Pacific region:
Bayern, the German navy frigate, had made a port call in Tokyo. It is the first time in twenty years. According to the Japanese Defence ministry, Bayern has been conducting joint exercises with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo. Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi visited the German frigate at a Tokyo cruise terminal. He said, "In the East China Sea and the South China Sea, we see unilateral attempts to change the status quo based on force, and these problems are a common concern not only in Asia but also in the rest of the world, including Europe." In recent times naval vessels from France and Britain were also sent to the Indo-Pacific region. The maritime vessel will be visiting Indo-Pacific countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, and South Korea. German Navy's Vice Adm. Kay-Achim Schonbach held meetings with officials of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force. Schonbach said, "the Indo-Pacific region is more than just an economic bloc". He also noted that the German navy would increase its security and defence engagement with countries in the region. Germany released the Indo-pacific strategy last year, which implied its shift from the china-centred Asia policy. According to some German officials, Bayern's request for a port call in Shanghai was rejected by Bejing.
In the video, Nobuo Kishi talks about deepening bilateral ties for promoting Free and Open Indo-Pacific region:
2. The US welcomes increased Japanese defence spending:
Daniel Kritenbrink, the US assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, welcomed Japan's plan to increase its defence spending. By the Pacifist Constitution, Japan has kept its defence spending below 1 per cent of its gross domestic product. However, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which has retained the majority under Prime Minster Fumio Kishida, has vowed to double its defence spending to around 2 per cent of GDP. Kritenbrink said Japan's intention to increase its defence spending would only "make Asia more secure and more prosperous". In addition, Kishida is looking forward to addressing security challenges linked with China and North Korea by strengthening US bilateral ties. Kritenbrink reflected Kishida's view on beefing up the bilateral alliance to address concerns about "a range of Chinese actions that we think are designed to undermine the rules-based international order."
3. Japanese ship remodelled into aircraft carrier:
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi visited the Izumo destroyer at the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. Kishi went to inspect the progress of remodelling the ship into an aircraft carrier. Kishi said, “it is absolutely necessary that we are capable of launching and landing F-35Bs at sea in order to successfully carry out defence policy so that we can deal with the new security environment and be prepared to defend our territory, which includes a wide area in the Pacific Ocean”. With China’s growing military assertiveness, Japan plans to introduce 42 F-35Bs; its first will start operation in 2024.
“It is modifying its two Izumo-class helicopter carriers -- the other is the Kaga -- to house the advanced stealth fighter jets, including by changing the front of the ships into a squarer shape.”
1. Japanese airline enters space & satellite launch business:
The largest airline in Japan, All Nippon Airways(ANA), has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US space company Virgin Orbit. The companies plan to launch satellites from aeroplanes in Japan. According to ANA, this joint venture will help cater to space business startups' growing demands in Asia, including Japan. The Japanese Airline group has been trying to enter the space industry by exploring options since 2016, such as investing in Japan's spaceship developer PD AerospaceLtd.
2. New Japanese government stresses building digitalized garden cities:
The newly-elected Japanese government has emphasized building digitalized garden cities. The government has devised plans to revitalize the economy by digitalizing local areas through fiscal stimulus. The economic policy panel working on the program has suggested the usage of drones and robots to deliver food and essential commodities to less-connected rural areas through legislation. To materialize the Prime Minister’s national concept of digitalized garden cities, the panel has recommended boosting innovation by leveraging digitalization and strengthening of science and technology field. The board predicts that this can help in doubling up growth and distribution stressed by Kishida.
3. Semiconductor shortage hits Japanese gaming giant’s business:
The pandemic triggered a mismatch in the supply and demand of semiconductors. As a result, a chip crunch has affected the Japanese gaming giant Nintendo. "We expect the harsh situation to continue as there are no signs of improvement", said Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa.
4. Japanese Auto industry opposes transition to all-electric cars:
When Kishida vowed to fight global warming and termed it as an "engine for economic growth", he was criticized by the Japanese carmakers. Akio Toyoda, head of the industry lobby group and the president of the world's largest car manufacturer Toyota Motor, has questioned the feasibility of governments pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The powerful Japanese carmakers are against the transition to all-electric cars.
"Experts in the automotive sector, which employs 5.5 million people, are closely watching whether Japan's government and industrialists can develop a genuinely environmentally progressive growth model."
5. Japan and its role in superconductor electronic research:
A recent study revealed that the United States and Japan together account for most Superconductor electronic related research. Additionally, the government’s funding towards the research is also high in these nations. Superconductor electronics research could help advance defence and commercial priorities for the countries. They have a wide range of useful applications such as supercomputing, artificial intelligence, sensors, signal processing, and quantum computing. Compared to semiconductors, they have zero electrical resistance, which results in less to no loss of energy dissipation. All these make them ideal than standard electronics in terms of low energy consumption.
Japan vows to climate finance Asia towards its carbon goals.
Talking at the COP26 climate summit, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida announced that Japan will climate finance to support developing countries in fighting global warming. He also emphasized that Japan will cut its emissions by 50% to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Furthermore, Kishida said, “Japan will press onward to undertake efforts toward net-zero emissions in Asia, the engine of global economic growth”. The Japanese government is also looking at investing a $100 million project to develop non-carbon emitting technologies.