Japan's Foreign Ministry has established a new strategy team to coordinate diplomatic policies on China and analyze Beijing's movements from a mid- to long-term perspective as Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks a controversial third term as leader, according to ministry sources.
The creation of the new team within the First China and Mongolia Division of the ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau in April comes as Xi is believed to maintain his helm of the ruling Communist Party, and tensions between the United States and China continue to intensify.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that the State Department will launch a similar "China House" team of diplomats to coordinate and implement policy regarding the Asian nation.
While Japan is strengthening its security partnership with the United States, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said that Tokyo is also aiming to build a "constructive relationship" with China with a focus on economic ties.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has further accelerated the need to more accurately grasp the situation surrounding China, which maintains a largely pro-Russian stance.
In addition to formulating long-term strategies regarding China, the new team is also in charge of conducting preliminary research on China's legal system and administrative bodies in preparation for the signing of any agreements between the two countries.
"We had often been swamped with daily matters, but (with the new team) we can now concentrate on observing China's movements," a senior ministry official said.
A new directorial post to oversee affairs relating to Taiwan was also established in the First China and Mongolia Division this fiscal year.
Communist-led China and democratic Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 due to a civil war. China has regarded Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.