Rising Tensions Between Japan and China

I know this is a bit pointless in P&C, but do you think we could keep the China/Japan thread about China/Japan, rather than go down the well-trod path of Chinese money and American debt?

bnpederson wrote:

I know this is a bit pointless in P&C, but do you think we could keep the China/Japan thread about China/Japan, rather than go down the well-trod path of Chinese money and American debt?

Your absolutely right. We should go down the untrodden path of Japanese money and American debt!

bnpederson wrote:

I know this is a bit pointless in P&C, but do you think we could keep the China/Japan thread about China/Japan, rather than go down the well-trod path of Chinese money and American debt?

So, some kind of Beijing casino/strip club then?

I don't necessarily agree with this. Half of our trade deficit comes from importing oil, which we dramatically need to scale back anyway.

You're thinking of it as oil, but you should be thinking of it as energy. We do not generate enough energy to run our economy. Scaling back our energy use that dramatically will be very painful, possibly catastrophic. We're used to ridiculously cheap gas, because we're not really paying for it. Even at $4/gallon or whatever, we're not really paying for it as a whole society. We're not sending enough stuff back out overseas to cover our imports. And when we suddenly DO have to pay for it, the adjustments will be just about the most No Fun we've had since the Great Depression.

And it is something we will be able to sustain ourselves with using our own production as long as we cut consumption.

Energy is life, man. It drives everything you do, everything you see, everything you touch. Making energy that much more expensive will be intensely painful, and we will be forced to accept much lower standards of living.

Beyond that, we have massively bloated systems, like our war machine, that function as a significant drag on our economy and contribute greatly to our inability to balance the budget. I don't think it is so much that Americans are living beyond the standards that they should have, but that the institutions of America (finance, real estate, and insurance + military) are overwhelming us.

From a broad, systemic perspective, it doesn't matter. As a whole society, we are living way beyond our ability to pay. It doesn't really matter where we're wasting the money, it's being wasted. Whether it's plasma TVs or tanks, it's just about as destructive. If we were investing heavily in new industries or whatever, pulling in all that foreign capital, but building things with which to pay off the debt, it wouldn't be anything to worry about. (well, okay, it still could be a problem if we did too much at once.) But what we're actually doing is sucking up goods and services from all over the world, destroying them, and then promising to send back stuff someday to cover. This is not going to happen.

There will come a time when we will be forced to do things like sell off the Grand Canyon to pay our debts. I'm dead serious. They'll call it 'privatization', but that's what it will be -- selling off our greatest treasures to cover the titanic waste of the 90s and 2000s. That economic and fiscal debt is toxic.

There was far more to the Weimar Republic's hyperinflation than just printing money.

It's the same basic thing; they were living beyond their means, trying to use the printing press to pretend they were wealthier than they were. The minute they stopped printing money, the inflation stopped, and the economy began to recover. People like to say the same thing about Zimbabwe (that it was corruption and all this other bullsh*t that caused the hyperinflation), but the minute they stopped printing money, the inflation stopped, and the economy started recovering. Shops once again had goods on their shelves, and things slowly, slowly began to improve.

Things always improve slowly, but they decline very, very quickly.

Oh, sorry, I didn't see the requests to stay more on China/Japan... but it is worth pointing out that any China/Japan conflict will involve the US, and this will, by necessity, involve the fact that China and the US are joined at the hip.

Japan has a gigantic amount of our debt, too, though, so I don't know which side we'd choose in a war.

My bet is that the US will prefer not to choose any. It will act to prevent as much open war between the two nations that its very substantial war machine can manage.

Fair enough to lay off the Chinese held debt of America. My point was just that it's harder for the US to support an important ally.

I think it should also be pointed out that Japan's economy is really struggling and the new prime minister is facing a host of massive problems including major deflation, rebuilding after the tsunami and tackling a national debt that last I heard was 200 percent of GDP. I stand by the assertion that this one incident won't lead to war, but it's going to be hard for Abe to simply back down.

Here's a good article outlining what Shinzo Abe is up against:

http://www.canada.com/mobile/iphone/...

It's chopstick rattling, not even sabers really. Fighting with chopsticks, btw? Far more entertaining. Like just about every other spat between China and its neighbors, this won't go anywhere--most countries in the region now see China as a bully and would probably turn against it if it starts getting belligerent with the neighbors, which would let the US step in and be the hero of APAC.

You heard it here first from Chairman Mao!

Japan can't become aggressive, either. Everyone in the region still remembers what it did during WW2. If it starts invading other countries, all North Asia and Southeast Asia would probably dissolve their differences in hurry. If you want to see a united Korea, I think all it would take is Japan taking some cities on the Korean peninsula.

Edwin wrote:

Trying to figure out which film that's from...

But why would Japan be taking Korean cities? This is an uninhabited island chain, no?

LarryC wrote:

Japan can't become aggressive, either. Everyone in the region still remembers what it did during WW2. If it starts invading other countries, all North Asia and Southeast Asia would probably dissolve their differences in hurry. If you want to see a united Korea, I think all it would take is Japan taking some cities on the Korean peninsula.

I think Japan is also forbidden from being aggressive. If memory serves, the WW2 surrender agreement has a section that forbids Japan from initiating war (and from having an army, which is why Japan's army is called a "defense force".)

Edit: I googled to double-check, and it looks like the Japanese constitution forbids the country from going to war at all (unless attacked, I'm sure):

Japanese Constitution wrote:

ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

Robear wrote:

Trying to figure out which film that's from...

According to the youtube page it's from 'The Fearless Hyena'.

Agent 86 wrote:
Robear wrote:

Trying to figure out which film that's from...

According to the youtube page it's from 'The Fearless Hyena'.

This is a fantastic Choose Your Tag! post.

Edwin wrote:

Jackie Chan is criminally underrated as a comedian. Like the world produced another Buster Keaton or Steve Martin and everyone went, "Ooooh, I love Chris Tucker!"

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2013/0...

I think this situation is going to spiral out of control. Neither side is showing any reservations about tipping over into a conflict. And when that spark is ignited, I think this will probably be what tips the world into WW3. The US has to back Japan up in this or China will steamroll through the rest of the Pacific. More worrying, the world is really hanging on by a thread economically. Any action between two world powers would send the world economy reeling. And that would just create even more incentive for wars by politicians as they try to steer internal hostilities to an external agent, like most wars of the past. And this is just for China/Japan. There's still India-Pakistan or Iran-Israel, the former already starting to heat up significantly.

Probably seems far out there and absolutely alarmist, but I just don't really have much faith in people these days to do what is rational. I think we are completely and utterly screwed.

So in 1987, when the Japanese actually fired on a Soviet plane, why didn't the world explode? Seriously, all the Japanese are saying is "if your plane sticks around after we warn you, the next step is to fire tracers past it".

Zane, were you alive during the Cold War?

ZaneRockfist wrote:

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2013/0...

I think this situation is going to spiral out of control. Neither side is showing any reservations about tipping over into a conflict. And when that spark is ignited, I think this will probably be what tips the world into WW3. The US has to back Japan up in this or China will steamroll through the rest of the Pacific. More worrying, the world is really hanging on by a thread economically. Any action between two world powers would send the world economy reeling. And that would just create even more incentive for wars by politicians as they try to steer internal hostilities to an external agent, like most wars of the past. And this is just for China/Japan. There's still India-Pakistan or Iran-Israel, the former already starting to heat up significantly.

Probably seems far out there and absolutely alarmist, but I just don't really have much faith in people these days to do what is rational. I think we are completely and utterly screwed.

Both China and Japan have too much to lose in a war scenario. If it devolved into a shooting war with the United States, I think you'd also see Russia get involved, as they also have disputed, oil-rich territories in the East China Sea. And once you have a three dog fight like that, India could also become involved, especially since Pakistan would be kept in check by the loss of US aid. China would be fighting the war that is least equipped to deal with: an open ocean naval war. US submarines and air strikes would turn the East China Sea into a shooting gallery, quickly isolating any Chinese invasion troops that managed to make it across before US carrier groups arrived in force. It would be fighting on a time line, because they do not grow enough food to feed themselves and are reliant on imports. And they would be fighting a war for an island chain that is probably not worth the economic loss they would suffer by losing Japan as a trade partner, much less the United States or the rest of the world.

Japan would find themselves at ground zero for World War Three. After everything calmed down again, you might see them bring back execution by katana for whatever leadership landed them in that situation.

I think what you're more likely to see is the US stepping and negotiating a settlement between the two countries to develop those islands. We would tell China that we are absolutely backing Japan in any military exchange. Tell Japan that we're withdrawing support for their claim on these territories if they can't negotiate a settlement. WWIII? I just don't see it. Everyone's far too comfortable with the way things are working right now.

This will not become a war. The political parties of both countries are fully aware that their economies are inextricable. For example, even though many electronic products are assembled in China, they rely on components from Japan. Going to war with each other would crash their respective economies very quickly.

Between the transfer of leadership in China, the sluggish Japanese and Chinese economy, and the internal political squabbles in Japan (the recent re-emergence of the LDP and the forming of the Japan Restoration Party) both sides are looking for a villain to occupy their local populaces.

This is all smoke and mirrors. Recently there were "mass protests" and people demolishing Japanese stores and goods in China. This continued for approximately 2 weeks until the government stepped in and forbid them. After that sales returned to pre-protest levels. Toyota reflected in it's sales data that although their sales dropped to 20% normal levels in that period it quickly rebounded back. There has been talk that the Chinese government allowed and even encouraged (paid people to attend protests) in order to distract the populace from the recent scandals involving corrupt politicians.

As for the average Japanese person, they don't really seem to care. None of the Japanese people I'm around seem to. Most of them just think it's politicians trying to act tough and pander to the elderly vote. Basically business as usual.

Trainwreck wrote:

As for the average Japanese person, they don't really seem to care. None of the Japanese people I'm around seem to. Most of them just think it's politicians trying to act tough and pander to the elderly vote. Basically business as usual.

This has been my experience as well. What folks who don't live here need to understand is that there is a HUGE disconnect between the politicians who run Japan and the people of Japan. I really don't think there could be any way for the Japan government to get Satoshi Salaryman, Hiroko Housewife, and Yuya Youngadult behind a war with China. Won't happen. The new Japan government just wants to talk big, much like Lil' Kim over in North Korea when he first took office.

I'm glad you guys have the same experience I am. I wasn't sure if it was that I live in a small city away from everything, my friends and coworkers didn't care, or if there really was the disconnect.

The BBC had a quick blurb today that Japan has sent an envoy to China to try to smooth things over.

Between the two of them, PRC and Japan hold probably about US$2 trillion in US currency reserves. If PRC were to dump its load, it would cause massive devaluation for anyone else holding it (including Japan). The repercussions would be massive. It would never happen in a sane world.

The more likely outcome, as was pointed out earlier in the thread, is that the US will act as the mediator in the conflict. What we will see is a brokered deal between the two nations to share fiscally in the development of mineral resources in the zone of conflict. So it's a matter of who gets what percentage of the spoils.

I see this conflict not so much as sabre rattling, but more a forced path towards creating international law precedent for the broader disputes in the South China Sea - shipping lane and vast underwater mineral wealth, which is and has been in dispute between all of the countries in the region.

By acting pre-emptively, these two countries are signalling that they are aggressive enough to force diplomacy to the next level (pre-War) in order to get a better deal than everyone else. Thus, we will see the smaller countries get marginalised in the final treaty that gets signed.

Vector wrote:

I'm glad you guys have the same experience I am. I wasn't sure if it was that I live in a small city away from everything, my friends and coworkers didn't care, or if there really was the disconnect.

When I was in China two years ago this dispute was on the news everyday at least once per hour. It is suprising to hear that in Japan it is not a huge deal, but in China it is a political rally point.