The People's Republic of China's growing power, assertiveness and diplomatic imprudence is encouraging Japan's 'normalisation' by shifting domestic politics in Japan and regional views of Japan's proper security role.
The two main parties and the most influential newcomer party, the Restoration Party, have similar foreign policy platforms when it comes to protecting Japan's territorial integrity. This is no doubt partly due to ongoing tensions with China over the Senkakus and the political price former Prime Minister Naoto Kan paid for being seen by the Japanese public and media as having taken a step back on this dispute in the face of Chinese pressure.
At the same time, recent comments by the Philippine foreign minister in favour of Japanese constitutional reform and Japan's growing security ties with regional countries from India to Australia show a much greater regional willingness to see Japan as a regional security partner and not a possible threat.
A more assertive Japan with closer security ties to the US and the region and a populace in favour of this stance is not in China's interests. Yet this is what is happening largely in response to concerns about China's own actions and perceived intentions. No wonder the inflated talk about China's successful charm offensive and diplomatic nous of a few years ago has reduced to a murmur.
Photo by Flickr user US Pacific Fleet.