The State of Japan-China Relations: A Conversation with Christopher Johnstone

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In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, CSIS Japan Chair Christopher Johnstone joins us to discuss the current state of Japan-China relations. Mr. Johnstone argues that Prime Minister Kishida’s policies have picked up from where his predecessors left off in terms of taking a more hardline China policy. He states that China’s deepening relations with Russia and its assertive behavior in Asia is alarming Tokyo, weighing on Japanese public sentiment toward China, and fueling proposals to increase defense spending. Despite these tensions however, Mr. Johnstone notes that he has not seen significant Chinese economic coercion toward Japan in recent years, which speaks to the close economic relations that persist between the two countries. Lastly, Mr. Johnstone comments on rising Japanese support for Taiwan, discussing the growing Japanese consensus that Japan’s security and Taiwan’s are increasingly linked.

Christopher B. Johnstone is senior adviser and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to joining CSIS, Mr. Johnstone served in government for 25 years in a variety of senior positions with a focus on U.S. policy toward Japan and the Indo-Pacific. He served twice on the National Security Council, as director for East Asia under President Biden and director for Japan and Oceanian affairs under President Obama (2014–2016).

Bonny Lin
Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security