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This article examines Japan’s diplomatic situation with regards to China and North Korea in the summer of 2017.  Major findings are the following: 1) Japan faced limited options during the North Korean crisis; 2) Japan confronted a drastic intensification of the North Korean crisis, and the government was also concerned about improving Sino-Japanese relations; and 3) the recovery of Abe’s declining political power in Japan’s domestic scene was closely linked to the success of Abe’s diplomacy toward China and North Korea. In May, Yang Jiechi visited Japan and faced appeals by Yachi Shotaro and Abe to control fishing boats rocking Sino-Japanese relations in the East China Sea, while Abe’s emissaries attended the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in China and met with Yang and others to discuss a Japanese role. By June, Abe had settled on improving bilateral relations through economic cooperation—viewed as a new approach. If the foreign ministry was wary about supporting BRI, which could boost China’s power, others prevailed with the argument that due to the North Korean danger, Japan had to improve relations with its neighbors.1 Realism borne of the Korean threat was now driving Japan’s China policy.

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