The Japanese know a thing or two about dealing with China. A long and checkered history between the two neighbours has made it so. A prominent Japanese politician once explained to me that China’s authoritarian government exists to maintain order and unity in a country of highly competitive individualists. Its domestic habits of control spill over into its relations with other countries. To manage bilateral relations with China, he advised, it’s vital to take the long view, have a good diplomatic strategy, and remain firm and patient during the inevitable prickly periods.