The China Quarterly: “Japan, Taiwan, and the ‘One China’ Framework”

A third peer-reviewed article in my series on U.S. allies, Taiwan, and “One China”an analysis of the history and contemporary policy implications of Japan’s “One China” policy and deepening engagement of Taiwan since Tokyo switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1972 … has just been published by The China Quarterly

Given surging frictions across the Taiwan Strait and between the U.S. and China, as well as significantly deepening concerns and interest in demonstrating support for democratic Taiwan from Japanese leaders, this article–and the special issue initiative of which will be a part–has (unfortunately) become even more timely than I feared it might when I launched this project three years ago… Please take a look!

The version-of-record PDF is now available *open-access* (i.e. free!) A suggested citation, abstract, and link are below.


This study analyses the “one China” framework’s significance for Japan–Taiwan relations since Tokyo switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1972. Drawing on Chinese-, Japanese- and English-language sources, it examines developments since the breakthrough Japan–PRC normalization communiqué and the “Japan formula,” which enabled Tokyo to normalize relations – six years before Washington – without recognizing Beijing’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, and while maintaining robust, if unofficial, ties with Taipei thenceforth. Highlighting distinctions between Beijing’s self-asserted “one-China principle” and Japan’s ambiguous official position and subsequent effective policies, it assesses incremental but practically significant evolutions of Japan–Taiwan relations over the past half century. In the 21st century, the trend towards incrementally closer ties has proven strikingly resilient to political transitions in Japan and Taiwan, China’s growing power, pushback from Beijing, and worsening cross-Strait frictions. Beyond Japan–Taiwan relations and theoretical debates on “one China,” this article’s findings carry significant implications for Taiwan’s international space, cross-Strait dynamics, and China–Japan–United States relations.

Key words 

Japan, Taiwan, China, United States, “One China,” Cross-Strait