Japan must not use G7 summit to gain own ends
本文转载自“China Daily”, 原标题为“Japan must not use G7 summit to gain own ends”。作者：杨伯江，中国社会科学院日本研究所所长、研究员，原文首发于2023年5月17日。
Japan will host the Group of Seven Summit in Hiroshima from Friday to Sunday and will include the decisions taken at the various ministerial meetings it has held since April in the G7 Summit declaration.
The visits of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa to various countries in recent months, along with Tokyo's invitation to the heads of state or government of the Republic of Korea, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, the Cook Islands, the Comoros and Brazil to visit Japan, reflect the country's intention to create the "right" atmosphere for the G7 Summit.
But the fact is that Japan's activities leading up to the summit could create instability in the Asia-Pacific region. Reportedly the G7 nations may discuss ways to impose more sanctions on Russia, provide more assistance for Ukraine and make the semiconductor and rare earth supply chains more efficient.
And many of the issues to be discussed may be directly or indirectly related to China. For example, the G7 countries may continue to hype up the "China threat" theory with an eye to promote the United States' "Indo-Pacific" strategy. They are also likely to attach greater importance to China's activities in the South and East China seas in a bid to highlight the risk of a conflict across the Taiwan Strait. Japan has made "Indo-Pacific" security and economic security separate issues for the first time at the summit, reflecting its intention of helping the US expand its "Indo-Pacific" strategy to contain China's peaceful rise.
Besides, leaders of the US, Japan and the ROK are likely to hold a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit to discuss economic security issues including how to diversify the cutting-edge semiconductor supply chains.
It is clear that Japan is eager to take advantage of its G7 presidency to strengthen cohesion among member states and promote the so-called rules-based international order. It also hopes to act as a bridge between the West and the Global South in a bid to encourage developing countries to join the West in targeting Russia and China. By doing so, Japan hopes to strengthen the US-led alliances in Europe and Asia and enhance its status in the US global strategy.
In fact, Japan plans to adopt a more aggressive security strategy by talking of the "Eastern Asia dilemma" and encouraging external forces to intervene in regional issues.
Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out in February 2022, Japan has followed the US' lead in comparing the fundamentally different Taiwan question with the Ukraine crisis, saying "Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow". Japan has also conducted naval operations in the Taiwan Strait and the South and East China seas, saying it is opposed to the use of force to change the status quo across the Strait.
Japan keeps criticizing China's attempts to explore and exploit natural resources in the East China Sea, has labeled China a rule breaker in the South China Sea, and launched the 2+2 dialogue mechanism to stir up trouble in the South China Sea.
Worse, it has been promoting security cooperation with Taiwan, helping Taiwan to improve its position in the global supply chains, and making it difficult for Beijing to resolve the Taiwan question through peaceful means.
Some media reports suggest the G7 Summit will issue a statement emphasizing the rules-based world order. But by doing so, the G7 countries will only expose their hypocrisy, because history shows both the US and Japan have been breaking international rules for years at will.
For example, China, the US and 24 other countries signed the United Nations Declaration in 1942 accepting the Atlantic Charter and agreeing not to negotiate a separate peace treaty with any of the Axis powers. But 49 countries, including the US, inked the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 without China's participation, establishing Japan's position in the world order and declaring that the legal status of the Chinese island of Taiwan was temporarily undetermined.
The fact is that the Potsdam Declaration of 1945 made it clear that "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine", as had been declared by the Cairo Declaration of 1943. Later, in 1945, the Instrument of Surrender of Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration and the Cairo Declaration, which specifically says Taiwan and Penghu should be returned to China.
In 1971, a backroom deal was signed between Washington and Tokyo in the absence of Beijing. And while the agreement required the US to give the "administration" of Okinawa to Japan, the document integrated the Diaoyu Islands — a Chinese territory which is part of Taiwan into Okinawa.
About four decades later, in 2003, the US-led coalition forces invaded Iraq without the UN Security Council's sanction. And Colin Powell, then US secretary of state, presented false evidence to the UN Security Council to claim Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Obviously, no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Instead, the US-led invasion caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and left the country in tatters. Not surprisingly, during the war, Japan Self-Defense Forces' ships provided fuel and logistics services for the coalition forces till 2009.
For the overwhelming majority of countries, international rules consist of the basic norms of international relations based on the principles of the UN Charter, which all countries must abide by. But for the G7 countries, international rules mean the G7's rules which serve the vested interests of the rich countries, rather than the common interests of the international community.The first thing the US and Japan should do as G7 members is to pay their arrears to the UN, with the US withdrawing its troops illegally occupying parts of Syria and Japan announcing it will not dump nuclear-contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea. The two countries should also stop triggering divisions and confrontations, or violating international rules to fulfill their own narrow goals.