On October 31, 2023, the Institute for Global Governance Research (GGR) hosted the 21th GGR Brown Bag Lunch Seminar “How We Evaluate Japan’s Diplomacy toward China in 1989: ‘China’s Desirable Image’ from the Perspective of the ‘Tiananmen Files’” with Dr. Hidemi Shiroyama (Professor, Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University).
By analyzing diplomatic documents, Dr. Shiroyama showed that the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo had different attitudes toward China in 1989. In contrast to the Japanese Embassy, which at the time expected the trend toward democratization to continue in China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reluctant to comment, preferring to focus on the long-term Sino-Japanese relations. Dr. Shiroyama argued that the failure of diplomacy with China in 1989 was that Japan helped create a giant China which is undemocratic. He pointed out that in addition to a weak sense of human rights and distrust of closeness between the U.S. and China, another contributing factor was Japan’s failure to see through China’s manipulations as a result of its prioritization of Japan-led modernization of China.
【Event report prepared by】
Minhee JEONG (Doctoral student, Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University)