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Japan may support ‘One Belt, One Road’ as a trade-off for constitutional revision

As Japan’s constitutional revision is expected to face opposition from China, a “diplomatic maneuvering” is in progress behind the scenes to win a certain level of understating from Beijing.  


“China wants Japan’s backing of its ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative,” said a source close to the Japanese government. “So what we are trying to achieve is to build a win-win relationship by using constitutional revision as a trade-off for supporting China’s ‘One Belt, One Road.’” In May, the Japanese government sent Takaya Imai, an executive secretary to Prime Minister Abe, to China to attend an international forum on the “One Belt, One Road” project, but Abe has made the “openness of infrastructure” and “transparency” preconditions [for extending support to China] and has yet to show a strong commitment to cooperation. This is where the trade-off scheme between constitutional revision and the One Belt, One Road initiative comes into play. “Pulling the strings of this idea are Imai and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, who are in favor of supporting the One Belt, One Road initiative,” said a senior member of the Liberal Democratic Party.


But National Security Secretariat Secretary General Shotaro Yachi is skeptical about the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Within the government, Yachi has been at loggerheads with Imai. This trade-off plot is also drawing anger from some LDP members. “If we wag our tail to China to win its understanding of our constitutional revision, it simply means we are welcoming China to interfere in our domestic affairs,” said a rightist politician in the LDP.


But it is true that China’s backing will make it easier for the government to get Komeito to support constitutional revision. Imai will likely continue this behind-the-scenes, trade-off plot.

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