Sanctuary of Japan

Foreign Ministry's 'China School' left out in diplomatic cold

Updated : 14.03.2016 / Category Sanctuary of Japan

Career diplomats who underwent Chinese-language training upon entering the Foreign Ministry are referred to as members of the "China School"—a term once held in high esteem in diplomatic circles. Nowadays, however, the phrase has become stigmatized due to a disgraced group that "curries favor with Beijing." In fact, there are few old-guard diplomats from the school among the key movers and shakers who formulate and implement policies toward China (with the exception of Yutaka Yokoi, who was appointed Japanese ambassador to China in March).

There are at least two high-profile issues that led to the fall of the China School: China's criticism of Japan over historical issues—even after the 1992 visit of the Emperor and Empress to China—and the 2005 bilateral bickering over then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine.