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Anonymous article on America’s China policy triggered stir in diplomatic circles

  • January 7, 2021
  • , Mainichi
  • JMH Summary

Mainichi published a prominent inside-page story on a controversy over an anonymous opinion piece on U.S.-China relations published in the magazine The American Interest last April. In the article, titled “The Virtues of a Confrontational China Strategy,” Y.A., who was described by the magazine editor as “an official of the Government of Japan,” heavily criticized the Obama administration’s China policy, saying that “Japanese policymakers despaired of Obama’s so-called ‘21st-century approach’” since it emboldened Beijing to stage provocations in the South and East China Seas. Y.A. stressed that the Trump administration’s confrontational approach is preferable by saying: “An alliance explicitly focused on China is better than one which is vague and unfocused.”

The daily said the piece drew strong reactions in Japan’s academic and diplomatic circles, with some arguing that taking a confrontational approach is unwise and others welcoming Y.A.’s successfully conveying to the U.S. Democratic Party Japan’s concern about its soft approach toward China. While noting that several MOFA diplomats rumored to be Y.A. have denied that they penned the article, the daily speculated that the author probably will not be able to climb the bureaucratic ladder any further now that President Trump has been defeated.

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