[Speaking Out] Japan should impose sanctions on China too
Should Japan remain hesitant to take action against human rights violations in China? If Japan values human rights, now is the time for Japan to impose substantial sanctions on China.
Japan took the initiative to voice concerns at the 2 + 2 meeting
A joint statement from the so-called “2 + 2” meeting between Japanese and US foreign and defense ministers in mid-March, held for the first time with the Biden administration, criticized China, saying “Ministers pledged to oppose coercion and destabilizing behavior towards others in the region, which undermines the international rules-based system. ”
In addition, the declaration noted, as proposed by Japan, “The ministers shared serious concerns regarding the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
Since President Xi Jinping took over China, Beijing has stepped up its military build-up and sought to create a China-centric international order through its Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing built and militarized man-made islands in the South China Sea and attempted to wrest the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from Japan.
He exerted pressure on Taiwan, free and democratic. He also cracked down on Hong Kong and continued human rights violations against Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongols.
Why did Tokyo choose China to criticize and refer to the human rights situation in the statement, even in anticipation of Beijing’s harsh reactions? Wasn’t it because Tokyo concluded that such Chinese behavior was unacceptable?
Washington highly praised the statement as demonstrating Japan’s strong resolve. Nevertheless, Japan has failed to join with the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union in imposing an asset freeze and other sanctions on Chinese officials.
Of the Group of Seven industrial democracies, only Japan has refrained from imposing sanctions on China.
Human rights have nothing to do with distance
“Japan is geographically much closer and has stronger economic ties with China than either Europe or the United States,” a senior Japanese government official said. “It is inevitable that Japan will not agree with them in its relations with China.”
Is this explanation convincing?
When he was a young lawmaker, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga advocated Japanese sanctions legislation to address the issue of the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by North Korea. He took the initiative to impose sanctions on North Korea, including restrictions on visits by North Korean officials to Japan and remittances to North Korea, and a ban on Japanese stopovers by northern ships. -koreans.
If Tokyo has “serious concerns” about the human rights situation in China, it should take all possible legal and diplomatic measures.
The US Treasury Department has previously imposed financial sanctions on Banco Delta Asia, a financial institution in Macau, for its alleged involvement in money laundering in North Korea. The sanctions, including freezing deposits and voluntary restrictions by other financial institutions on transactions with the Bank of Macao, are said to have had a big impact on North Korea.
Sanctions against China should be just as substantial, and not just have a nominal impact. A country’s sense of distance from China is irrelevant when it comes to dealing with human rights.
Author: Takashi Arimoto
Takashi Arimoto is the editor of the monthly SEIRON magazine at The Sankei Shimbun newspaper.