2024 Diplomatic Bluebook Highlights Japan-China Dialogue Amid Military Concerns; Reinstates Key Phrase After Five Years

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the beginning of their meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 16, 2023.

The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday published its Diplomatic Bluebook for 2024, with this year’s edition highlighting the importance of dialogue between Japan and China while increasing vigilance against Beijing’s intensifying military buildup and pursuing mutual benefits for both countries.

A notable feature of this edition is the reinstatement of the phrase “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests” for the first time in five years since the 2019 edition.

The latest blue book positions China’s military trends as the greatest strategic challenge ever faced and advocates for Japan’s strengthened cooperation with an ally and like-minded nations.

It criticizes the embargo on Japanese seafood imposed by China following the release of treated water from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as a response without scientific basis and calls for the ban to be immediately abolished.

The Diplomatic Bluebook noted that Japan and China will comprehensively promote the policy of a “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests,” and the two nations will engage in dialogue and cooperate on common issues.

The policy of the relationship is a concept aimed at expanding common interests even amid disputes on individual issues. The concept was first included in the Japan-China joint statement in 2008.

Although the phrase was not used in recent years due to the deterioration of Japan-China relations, the promotion of the concept was affirmed during the Japan-China summit in November last year.

Concerns were also expressed about the military ties between Russia and North Korea.

Furthermore, the Japanese government’s strong determination to promptly resolve the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea was expressed using a new phrase that was not seen in the 2023 edition: “the issue cannot be left as it is any longer.”