Foreign Affairs in Japan, 21st Century

It is fair to say that after the change of regime, policies on foreign affairs led by the DPJ have not necessarily been implemented well.

The previous Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who failed to relocate of the Futenma military base in Okinawa, resigned due to this failure.

On September 7 2010, an incident occurred, where a Chinese fishing boat collided with Japanese patrol boats off the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, resulting in the arrest of the Chinese skipper.

China applied strong pressure on Japan to release the captain and subsequently arrested four Japanese employees on September 20 for entering a military zone in China without permission. The captain was finally freed by the Okinawan district prosecutors office on September 25.

The incident looks as though Japan had bended to China and the Prime Minister Naoto Kan was blamed for this decision not only by the opposition parties, but also the members of ruling party.

The government insists that the decision was made by the Okinawan district prosecutors office was inline with its legal procedure.

However the masses including media, complained that Prime Minister Naoto Kan escaped his responsibilities from the incident, which resulted in this issue being solved by the burocrats instead of the government.

This result brought a big loss to both Japan and China. The NEW KOMEITO and LDP have constructed a good relationship between Japan and China since the 1960's and currently the amount of trade between the two countries is larger than between Japan and the U.S.

However after this incident, the relationship between Japan and China clearly began to worsen.