Posts tagged ‘Tokyo’

10/11/2016

PM Modi heads to Japan to seal nuclear deal amid uncertainty over U.S. policy | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to Japan on Thursday to seal a landmark nuclear energy pact and strengthen ties, as China’s regional influence grows and Donald Trump’s election throws U.S. policies across Asia into doubt.

India, Japan and the United States have been building security ties and holding three-way naval exercises, but Trump’s “America First” campaign promise has stirred concern about a reduced U.S. engagement in the region.

Such an approach by Washington could draw Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe even closer, said foreign policy commentator and former Indian ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar.

Officials in New Delhi and Tokyo said a deal that will allow Japan to supply nuclear reactors, fuel and technology is ready for signing after six years of negotiations to find a way around Tokyo’s reservations about such an agreement with a country that has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India says the NPT is discriminatory and it has concerns about nuclear-armed China as well as its long-time rival Pakistan.

Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, has been seeking assurances from New Delhi that it would not conduct nuclear tests any more.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the two sides had reached a broad agreement on nuclear collaboration as early as last December and had since been trying to finalise the document.

A “legal, technical scrub” of the agreed text has now been done, he said, but added that he could not pre-judge the outcome of Modi’s summit talks with Abe over Friday and Saturday.

A Japanese ruling party lawmaker said the two sides will sign an agreement during Modi’s visit. A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment.

JAPANESE AIRCRAFT ALSO DISCUSSED

The nuclear agreement with Japan follows a similar one with the United States in 2008 which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation.

That step was seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China.

India hopes to lift ties with the United States to a new height, Modi said in a message to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday.

A final deal with Japan could also benefit U.S. firms.

India is in advanced negotiations with U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric, owned by Japan’s Toshiba, to build six nuclear reactors in southern India, part of New Delhi’s plan to ramp up nuclear capacity more than ten times by 2032.

“Japan is keen to put aside it’s staunch non-proliferation principles and engage with the lucrative Indian programme,” said Manpreet Sethi, nuclear affairs expert at the Centre for Air Power Studies, a New Delhi think-tank.

But the agreement will still have to be ratified by the Japanese parliament, she said.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper said the main accord will likely be accompanied by a separate document stipulating that Tokyo will suspend nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test. Initially, Japan wanted that inserted into the agreement itself, but India resisted, it said.India has declared a moratorium on such testing since its last explosions in 1998.

The two countries have also been trying to close a deal on the supply of amphibious rescue aircraft US-2 to the Indian navy, which would be one of Japan’s first sales of military equipment since Abe lifted a 50-year ban on arms exports.

India’s Defence Acquisitions Council met earlier this week to consider the purchase of 12 of the planes made by ShinMaywa Industries, but failed to reach a decision.

An Indian government source said opinion within the military was divided over whether to buy the aircraft when it was struggling to find resources to replace ageing and accident-prone submarines and address a shortage of helicopters.

A Japanese defence source said Japan was considering a cost reduction, which would mean a price cut for India as well as for the Japanese navy which it supplies. A US-2 currently costs about 13 billion yen ($123 million).

Source: PM Modi heads to Japan to seal nuclear deal amid uncertainty over U.S. policy | Reuters

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21/03/2015

Top South Korea, Japan, China envoys agree to work for a summit soon | Reuters

The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China agreed on Saturday that a summit meeting of their leaders, on hold for nearly three years because of tensions over history and territory, should be held soon to mend the countries’ ties.

(L-R) Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi make a toast during a banquet at the South Korean Foreign Minister's residence in Seoul March 21, 2015. REUTERS-Kim Hong-Ji

The ministers were meeting, also for the first time in three years, in a bid to restore what had been a regular forum to discuss cooperation until it collapsed over what Seoul and Beijing saw as Japan’s reluctance to own up to its wartime past.

“Based on the accomplishments achieved through this meeting, the three ministers decided to continue their efforts to hold the trilateral summit at the earliest convenient time for the three countries,” a joint statement after the meeting said.

via Top South Korea, Japan, China envoys agree to work for a summit soon | Reuters.

09/03/2015

China hints Japan to be invited to war memorial parade | Reuters

China will welcome all national leaders to a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, the foreign minister said on Sunday, the strongest sign yet that it could invite wartime enemy Japan.

Sino-Japan relations have long been poisoned by what China sees as Japan’s failure to atone for its occupation of parts of the country before and during the war, and it rarely misses an opportunity to remind its people and the world of this.

In the last two years, ties have also deteriorated sharply because of a dispute over a chain of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, though Chinese and Japanese leaders met last year in Beijing to try to reset relations.

But the remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi come as the two countries plan to hold their first security talks in four years in Tokyo on March 19, an indication of a possible improvement in strained ties.

“Our goal is to remember history, commemorate the martyrs, cherish peace and look to the future,” Wang said of the parade at a briefing on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament.

“We will extend the invitation to the leaders of all relevant countries and international organizations. No matter who it is, as long as they come in sincerity, we welcome them,” Wang said in response to a question about whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be invited.

via China hints Japan to be invited to war memorial parade | Reuters.

13/01/2015

Japan, China hold maritime crisis talks in Tokyo – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Japan and China hold the fourth round of talks in Tokyo on maritime crisis management mechanism Monday, with both countries agreeing to launch it as soon as possible once a broad agreement is reached.

The working-level talks, participated by officials from Japan’ s Defense Ministry and the Maritime Self-Defense Force and China’ s Defense Ministry, firstly reaffirmed basic agreements they have made so far.

The two sides also discussed some specifics of the mechanism, including technical problems, and agreed to trigger it as soon as possible after some necessary adjustments based on Monday’s talks, Chinese officials said.

The mechanism of high-level consultations on maritime affairs between the two countries was launched in 2012. After three rounds of successful talks, the talks were suspended after the Japanese government‘s so-called”nationalization”of China’s Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea in September 2012.

via Japan, China hold maritime crisis talks in Tokyo – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

28/10/2014

Softbank invests $840M in India tech companies – Businessweek

Japanese telecommunications company Softbank Corp. is investing nearly $840 million in two technology companies in India, eyeing what it sees as a lucrative market for growth.

Softbank said Tuesday it is investing $627 million and becoming the biggest shareholder in Snapdeal, the largest digital marketplace in India with 25 million users and 50,000 businesses. It brings together products from thousands of big and small brands.

The Tokyo-based company, which recently acquired Sprint in the U.S., is also investing $210 million in Ola Cabs, which runs the technology to connect consumers with cab drivers in India.

Softbank executives said they were banking on India because it has a large number of Internet users, the online market is not yet saturated and connection speeds are likely to get faster.

via Softbank invests $840M in India tech companies – Businessweek.

17/09/2014

Will Chinese President Xi be able to compete with Japan’s Abe for India’s affections?

Any adjustments in the India-China-Japan triangle will have an impact all across Asia.

East Asia has eagerly set out to court New Delhi’s new government. That’s obvious from the spate of state visits that have taken place of late between India, China and Japan. Earlier this fortnight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan. Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s begins his first official state visit to India. Trade, investment and infrastructure are the buzzwords on the road towards deepening ties.

The complexities of the India-China-Japan triangle are far too intricate to be spelt out in a simplistic fashion. Will trade and investment become the motive force that will fashion ties, more so at the cost of pressing strategic realities that appear conflicting at times? Going by the school of interdependent liberalism, states will be propelled to adopt a cooperative framework by economic symbiosis and the web of multilateral international institutions and frameworks.

In the case of China, India and Japan, while investments  have taken precedence, the competitive race is far too obvious. Last fortnight, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that this country’s private and public investment in India will double to $34 billion over the next five years. Within a fortnight comes Xi Jinping with his administration’s plans to invest around $500 billion overseas in the next five years, with big-ticket investments coming India’s way likely to exceed $200 billion. It is being suggested that China could spend $35 billion merely on power and highway projects ‒ almost the same amount as Japan’s total investment in India.

Growing trade deficit

It is apparent that cooperation through economic considerations has its share of hidden problems. India continues to be hurt by  the growing trade deficit with China, which stood at a record $ 36 billion in 2013-’14. In fact, China accounted for more than 50% of India’s current account deficit in 2012-’13. Indian exports to its neighbour fell nearly 10% during that period.

By seeking economic and military clout, could China reject the liberal regional order and seek to replace it with its own Sino-centric Asian order? China’s much-debated rise is always under scrutiny, given its role as Asia’s largest economy and the fact that it is the No. 1 trading partner for almost 120 economies around the world.

More so, in the strategic sphere, are Asian nations, including India and Japan, prepared to recognise such an order? So profound is the presence, rise and status of the People’s Republic of China that one is often confronted with a debate whether a potential Asian century could actually become a Chinese century.

The Chinese government chose to downplay Modi’s earlier indirect reference to China during his visit to Japan, where he took a swipe at the “18th century expansionist mindset of some countries”. But the reaction of state-controlled Chinese media over Modi’s remark was noticeably irate. Chinese media fervently cautioned against any attempt by Tokyo to structure a united front against Beijing with New Delhi as its pivot. All this very palpably falls into the realist paradigm of international relations, which posits that states often find themselves in a zero-sum contest for power and influence, where the prevailing international power balance remains a key determinant of the region’s future stability and strategic order.

Geo-strategic realities

Realignments in any part of the India-China-Japan security triangle will have far-reaching impact all across Asia. It should be remembered that Xi Jinping’s address at the 18th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012 contained a reference to “rejuvenating China”, which has been interpreted as an oblique reference to “reclaiming lost historical territories”. This approach could well have a direct bearing on Japan and India, with whom China contests territories and borders.

On another level, the camaraderie between Modi and Shinzo Abe speaks volumes. Systemic conditions present a favourable platform for the duo to guide their countries to “… the dawn of a new era in India-Japan relations”, as they agreed to in the Tokyo Declaration last fortnight. Moreover, providing cement for this approach, Modi underlined the significance of India and Japan being democracies, which affords them a solid basis to converge at various levels on the Asian stage. As for the ties between China and Japan, there could not have been a worse time for relations between them, with the bitter contest over the East China Sea amidst a rising tide of nationalist sentiment against one another in both countries.

Whether Xi Jinping will manage to find success in making inroads into Delhi and buying a sizeable share of Indian attention is too early to say. However, one thing is for sure ‒ it will not happen at the cost of Japan.

via Scroll.in – News. Politics. Culture..

04/09/2014

India and Japan Are a Perfect Fit – India Real Time – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan will generate headlines for the big deals that he does (or doesn’t) conclude with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. These include civil nuclear cooperation, high-speed rail construction and defense ties.

However, the bilateral relationship ultimately depends on thousands of smaller commercial deals. If the two leaders set the tone and clear away obstacles, the India-Japan partnership can become the driver of Asia’s growth. Mr Modi said on this visit that Japan and India bear a ‘huge responsibility’ to define the path of Asian growth in the 21st century.

The two powers are complementary on several levels, but primarily in the economic realm. Japan has the largest growth problem in the world while India has the largest development problem.

There is no clearer example of this than India’s need for new roads, railways and ports. The Reserve Bank of India has defined India’s key economic problem as a supply-side deficit; demand is abundant, at times rampant, but supply responses are reduced by the unavailability and cost of capital, alongside logistics bottlenecks. The result is higher inflation and lower growth.

Japan can provide the solution in the form of capital and technology. Tokyo is a partner in the $90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor which will create new “smart cities,” seven of which have started construction. Some 100 more are planned nationwide. This initiative has already yielded the Delhi Metro, built under budget and within schedule with Japanese loans and rolling stock.

via India and Japan Are a Perfect Fit – India Real Time – WSJ.

01/09/2014

Japan and India vow to boost strategic ties during summit | Reuters

Japan and India agreed on Monday to strengthen strategic ties as Asia’s second and third biggest economies keep a wary eye on a rising China, and said they would accelerate talks on the possible sale of an amphibious aircraft to India’s navy.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before their talks at the state guest house in Tokyo September 1, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Files

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi also agreed to speed up talks on a so-far elusive deal on nuclear energy cooperation, welcoming what they called “significant progress” in the negotiations.

“The two prime ministers reaffirmed the importance of defense relations between Japan and India in their strategic partnership and decided to upgrade and strengthen them,” Abe and Modi said in a statement after a summit in Tokyo.

Modi, on his first major foreign visit since a landslide election win in May, arrived on Saturday for a five-day trip aimed at capitalizing on a personal affinity with Abe to bolster security and business ties in the face of an assertive China.

In a sign of their warm ties, the two leaders greeted each other with a bear hug when they met on Saturday in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto for an informal dinner. Modi is one of three people that Abe follows on Twitter, while the Indian leader admires Abe’s brand of nationalist politics.

“The 21st century belongs to Asia … but how the 21st century will be depends on how strong and progressive India-Japan ties are,” Modi told Japanese and Indian business executives earlier in the day.

“The 18th century situation of expansionism is now visible,” Modi said, referring to incidents such as encroachment of others countries’ territories and intruding in other countries’ seas, in a veiled reference to China, with which India shares a long disputed border.

“Such expansionism would never benefit humanity in the 21st century,” he said.

Sino-Japanese ties have also been chilled by a row over disputed isles, feuds over the wartime past, and mutual mistrust over defense policies as China seeks a bigger regional role and Abe loosens the constraints of Japan’s post-war pacificism.

Abe is keen to expand Japan’s network of security partnerships with countries such as India and Australia to cope with the challenge presented by China.

via Japan and India vow to boost strategic ties during summit | Reuters.

18/08/2014

Japanese Prime Minister Avoids Controversial War Shrine – Businessweek

On Friday morning, while several members of his cabinet marked the anniversary of World War II’s end by visiting a controversial shrine in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wisely decided to sleep in. He had caused a storm last December by paying a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead. By skipping Yasukuni, Abe may have improved the chances of a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping that could help defuse tensions between the two countries.

The Imperial chrysanthemum crest is displayed at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo

The shrine has long been a problem for Chinese and Koreans. The Chinese media often refers to the shrine as “notorious.” “Each and every visit here by officials upsets and incenses Japan’s neighboring countries,” says a Xinhua commentary published on Friday. The shrine is a symbol “of the brutality of Japanese rule and military expansion,” Lee Won Deog, a professor of Japanese studies at Kookmin University in Seoul, told Bloomberg News. By visiting Yasukuni anyway, Japanese politicians show that “Japan continues to overlook the pain it caused its neighbors during its imperial expansion.”

A look at the shrine’s website shows why visits are so sensitive. In describing the shrine and the almost 2.5 million people it honors, Yasukuni does whitewash Japan’s history of aggression toward its neighbors. Some of the souls enshrined at Yasukuni died as Imperial Japan colonized Korea and Taiwan, occupied Manchuria, and brutalized many parts of China. But according to Yasukuni’s narrative, they died “to protect their country,” and “all sacrificed their lives to the public duty of protecting their motherland.” The shrine “is a place for Japanese people to show their appreciation and respect to those who died to protect their mother country, Japan.”

And what about the World War II-era war criminals enshrined there? Yasukini says not that they were convicted, but rather, that some “were labeled war criminals” (emphasis added) and executed after trials by the victorious Allies.

Some Japanese politicians worry about the way the shrine talks about Japan’s past militarism. Yasukuni “pays homage to war criminals, and exhibitions within its walls extol wars,” former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said in an interview with the China Daily published on Thursday. “I think the best solution is that prime ministers and cabinet members shun the shrine.”

Abe, though, is trying to have it both ways: He didn’t visit today, but two members of his cabinet did—and the prime minister sent a donation through an aide.

via Japanese Prime Minister Avoids Controversial War Shrine – Businessweek.

17/07/2014

With Tensions Rising, Japanese Investment in China Plummets – Businessweek

Another consequence of the worsening Sino-Japanese relations: Japanese investment into China dropped by nearly half in the first six month of 2014, according to a new report by China’s Ministry of Commerce. As recently a 2012, Japanese investment posted growth of 16.3 percent, reaching $7.28 billion. The decline actually started last year, with a 4.3 percent drop.

Zhang Jifeng, director of the Japanese economy department in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the China Daily that Japan’s entrepreneurs are “waiting and watching.” He added: ”They’re profoundly aware of the connection between the political climate and their commercial performance [in China]. They don’t want to put their assets at risk.”

English: Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

English: Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China and Japan are in a dispute over the ownership of the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe further angered Beijing in December when he visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine, a temple that honors Japanese soldiers but also its war criminals. Earlier this month Japan’s cabinet passed a resolution reinterpreting its pacifist constitution so its military can defend its allies.

via With Tensions Rising, Japanese Investment in China Plummets – Businessweek.

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