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Earlier this month, Japan arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain after his boat slammed into a Japanese coast guard vessel in the East China Sea. The arrest led to a standoff in which China made a number of threats and demands. Japan eventually acquiesced and is now making overtures to the United States.


M1. To westerners, China and Japan might seem very similar. Yet there is little evidence of effective communication between the two countries. Beyond the dispute over control of waters, what factor likely explains the difficulty?

M2. Identify the styles used by both countries to handle the conflict. Describe characteristics that help you identify each.

M3. While the current dispute has been resolved with the release of the fishing boat captain, it is symptomatic of wider tensions between the two countries. Given this, why might Japan be looking to the United States? Is it simply about strengthening trade? Consider United States’ role in the Fujita Corp. affair.

SOURCE: R. Blumenstein, G. Fairclough, & Y. Hayashi, “Japan Caves In On China; Looks to U.S.,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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