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Demonstrators in Japan staged a massive anti-China rally as tensions between the two nations continue to rise. Long-simmering tensions between the countries have been fueled lately as a result of an incident last month when a Chinese boat operating off the coast of islands that both China and Japan claim as theirs purposely collided with a Japanese Coast Guard vessel. The captain of the Chinese boat was arrested by Japan, who threatened to officially charge him and take him to trial. Members of China’s government were infuriated by Japan’s actions, since ownership of the islands is disputed. China responded by limiting Japan’s access to crucial rare earth materials, over which China has dominate control. Japan relented and released the Chinese captain, to the anger of its own citizens who believe their government gave in to Chinese pressure.


DATE: October 16, 2010




  1. Given current economic output figures, China is on track to surpass Japan at the end of 2010 as the world’s second largest economy. Discuss how China’s recent economic success may be impacting its relationship with Japan.
  2. A pivotal issue in the dispute between Japan and China is the fact that China controls over 90% of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals, which are becoming increasingly important in the production of high-tech and alternative energy products. Discuss how globalization of production processes can be hindered by political tensions between countries.
  3. As China’s role in the global economy continues to grow in importance, discuss the potential challenges in trying to resolve political issues and trade disputes with the country.

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