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Japan’s Foreign Policy

Japan’s Foreign Policy – A NEW REALISM?


In this work, Dr. Rui Jorge Monteiro, addresses the issue of Japan’s national security.
Considers the historical part, from the Edo period, to the present day.
This work can be clarified on this problem so important in Japanese society.

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KEYWORDS: Self defense, Constitution, Diplomacy, USA, China, North Korea, South Korea, History, Japan, Foreign Policy, Nuclear, Realism, International Relations, Security, Southeast Asia.


USA – United States

IMF – International Monetary Fund

GATT – General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

UN – United Nations

USSR – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics



    According to Mao Zedong, Japan was a “Paper Tiger,” that at the time the Empire of the Rising Sun was consolidating its hold on China, four years before undertaking a fabulous series of conquests that would lead to the southeastern area Asia to defeat in the final in 1945.From the ruins of defeat, Japan has, however, with a capacity that amazed the world, emerging as an economic power that is currently the third world economy, only surpassed by China and the US.

    This economic strength was not its corresponding growth at political and diplomatic level. While beginning its economic rise, Japan found itself limited by a constitution imposed by the US Pacific War winners, which renounces war as a right of a nation.

    While maintaining armed forces, called Self-Defense Forces, Japan remains firmly a nation that embraced pacifism, priding itself on its pacifist stance.

    At the end of the century. XX, however, the Japanese nation began to phase out this pacifist stance, currently checking up a clear intention of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seek a greater role on the international scene, to which is added a greater investment in the defense sector and a deepening cooperation at the military level, especially with the US, having clearly made a controversial proposal to amend article 9 of the Constitution.

    It is therefore a major turning point in Japan’s foreign policy, openly criticized by neighboring countries of China, North Korea and South, who fear a return to Japan was before the war 1945.

    What motivates the country with the most pacifist constitution in the world to embark on a change so radical? That threats to national security to justify? To expect this change and how it is viewed by the neighbors? It’s that seek to analyze.

    I begin with a brief historical analysis of Japan’s foreign policy, after which will address the internal constraints, then moving to the analysis of the main external threats to Japan’s security and changes in the current foreign policy.



II.1 Origins to the Edo Period

Historically, Japan has developed a cultural environment in East Asia, where China was the center. In fact, the first written sources that mention Japan are Chinese, especially the “Wei Chih” (History of Wei), compiled around 297 D.C. .. During the century. VI d.c., Japan has undergone a major transformation due to the contacts with China, including the introduction of Buddhism and political organization, in particular the legitimacy of political power through the figure of an emperor, receiving the mandate of heaven.

In the century. XII, the centralization of political power in the emperor’s figure gave way to feudalism, with the rise of the provincial aristocracy, where stood a warrior class, the bushi or samurai of feudal lords servers, which meant that the emperor He became a ruler with a purely symbolic power, and the real power was exercised by a member of the aristocracy, the Shogun, a system that would remain until mid-century. XIX.

Despite the strong Chinese cultural influence, Japan has avoided becoming a vassal of China, and even supported Korean kingdoms in fight against Chinese influence on the Korean peninsula. The greatest threat from China to Japanese independence, however, occurred in the century. XIII, with the rise of the Mongol Empire, when Japan, by refusing to pay homage, was forced to face two invasions, which failed because of, on both occasions, the Mongol fleet, Korean coming it was destroyed by a typhoon, known in Japan as divine Wind (kamikaze) because it was seen as a divine intervention.

After all, the closeness between Japan and China made them into strong trading partners, and the first ever sought to counter the cultural and geographical hegemony of the second.

This changed, however, in 1543 when, with the arrival of Portuguese merchants, begin the first contacts between the Japanese and Europeans. Despite a certain disdain [1] by the newcomers, the Japanese were fascinated with access to new technologies and products, especially the musket, which would be immediately copied, becoming, in a short time, the most widespread weapon in armies Japanese.

Japan, which was at the time a period of constant warfare between various clans, due to the weakening of the power of the shogunate began, thanks to the new weapon, a slow period of reunification, achieved in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

The new Shogun understood, however, that the Herculean task of reunification of Japan enabled him to an ambitious achievement – China. After the failure in negotiations with China in order to obtain favorable trade agreements, initiated a military campaign in Korea, through which he hoped to conquer China.

Although this campaign had failed, Japan, for the first time faced by China Eastern area of Asia, emphasizing that Hideyoshi made known their plans of conquest to the surrounding kingdoms, which were required to provide required him homage.

With Europeans also came Christianity, which spread with relative success. But the shogunate saw this new religion as a destabilizing factor and a pernicious external influence, which resulted in the persecution of Christians, culminating in the abolition of Christianity.

In the century. XVII, at the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868) Christian riots increased the distrust of the Shoguns in relation to Europe, resulting in the adoption of the policy known as Sakoku (closed country), under which, for more than two centuries, Japan isolated almost completely from the rest of the world, except the strictly controlled trade with Dutch and Chinese on the artificial island of Dejima (Nagasaki)

At the beginning of the century. XIX, however, Japan began to be harassed by the Western powers to enter into trade agreements and open to the outside. Unlike namban who came to Japan from the century. XVI, new visitors were supported by more advanced technology, which intended to use, if necessary, as they had done to China during the Opium Wars (1839-42 and 1856-60).

Thus, in 1854, to the power of an American squadron commanded by Commodore Perry, Japan was forced to sign a trade agreement with the US. In this, followed by other agreements with other Western powers for free access to the Japanese market, which, as a result of Western imperial policy century. XIX, imposed conditions that were unacceptable to the Japanese, in particular, the exclusion of foreigners who live in Japan of Japanese jurisdiction.

The major consequence of this “invasion” alien was the belief of Japanese in the ineffectiveness of the Shogunate, seeing the restoration of the powers of the Emperor the best way to protect Japan. Thus, in January 1868 was abolished shogunate, watching for the return of political power to the emperor. Began the period known as the Meiji Restoration.

II.2 The Meiji Restoration to World War II

The new regime had no illusions about the impossibility of containing the power of the Western powers, realizing that the best approach would be to promote the modernization of Japan, for which hired several foreign advisers to carry out the necessary reforms, especially in the military. This period was marked by a strong nationalism, which is mirrored in two famous slogans: oitsuke, oisoke (reach, exceed) and fukoku kyōhei (rich country, strong army) [2].

As Japan modernized, he sought to be recognized as a pair before the Western powers by abolishing the unequal trade treaties that had been forced to accept.

But this was not enough in the era of imperialism.

In 1876, Japan forced Korea to open its ports to their trade, looking push it away from China, of which the last was a vassal state. Tensions between China and Japan for influence in Korea led to the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, which has resulted in a disastrous defeat for China, which had to give up any claims on Korea, also being forced to cede the island of Taiwan and Guangdong peninsula, southern Manchuria, and to pay compensation to Japan [3].

The heavy defeat by China made this allow Russia access to Manchuria, which would connect this to Europe by way of the railroad Transsiberian. This led to Russia replaced China as a threat to Japan. However, Japan’s victory persuaded Britain to sign with this alliance in 1902 as a way to contain Russian expansion.

Thus, they were the conditions for a new conflict, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, in which Japan is again triumphant, managing the field of Liaotung peninsula, together with the line of railway, iron Manchurian South of Port Arthur to the north and half of Sakhalin. Another consequence would be the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910.

Japan subsequently enter the First World War, alongside the Allies, although the gains expected from the his intervention have not been obtained.

Despite being able to get military victories, the Japanese felt that the Western powers deprived them of the fruits of the same, because, precisely, not yet viewed the Japanese as equals.

This has contributed to the emergence of a nationalism that had as its main consequence a discredit democracy, with the gradual removal of state civil and strengthening the power of the military.

On the other hand, the wars with China (1931 and 1937-45) that expanded the Japanese territory, created a strong fear in the Western powers, particularly the US and Britain, which supported China.

Japan just so approach the Hitlerian Germany and signed a pact in 1940, the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis.

In 1941, the Sino-Japanese war and the occupation of Indochina have resulted in the imposition in Japan of an oil embargo by the United States, which would only be raised if Japan abandoned all its achievements since 1931.

For Japan, such a solution was unacceptable, so that war became inevitable.

Thus, on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the American fleet in Pearl Harbour Pacific, beginning a campaign of conquest of the American colonies, British and Dutch Southeast Asia.

Despite the initial Japanese success, the tide of war began to change in favor of the Allies, and in 1945, after the American release of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered unconditionally.

II.3 From 1945 to the present.

The American occupation, led by General Douglas MacArthur, would last seven long years (1945-51), during which Japan would pass through a set of political, social and economic reforms.

The new Constitution (1946), although approved by the Japanese Parliament (Kokkai) was the work of the occupation authorities. In the new political and constitutional order, the Emperor, lost the divine nature, becoming a “… symbol of the state and the unity of the people, deriving his position from the popular will in which resides sovereign power.”. Japan went so being a democracy drawn in the Western mold.

The most famous provision of the new Constitution was, however, Article 9, in which Japan renounced war as a sovereign right, something unheard of in any constitutional order, but that is a source of pride among the Japanese.

The Treaty of San Francisco (1951), ended the occupation and determined the loss of all territorial gains made by Japan since the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95, including the southern part of Sakhalin Island and the Kuril Islands, which They were ceded to the Soviet Union (although Japan cry that part occupied by the USSR is not included in the Kuril islands).

The Ryukyu Islands and the Ogasawara islands were under US occupation indefinitely, being formally returned to Japan, respectively, in 1972 and 1968. In the case of the Ryukyu islands, however, the Senkaku Islands were included, claimed by China, where they are known by Dyaoyu, a situation which has recently been the subject of great tension between the two countries.

The Treaty of San Francisco, but has finished the Occupation, not the end of American influence in Japan’s foreign policy. At the time of signature of this Treaty, the Cold War was already a very present reality in the international arena. China power of the taken by the Red Army of Mao Zedong and the Korean War showed the US the danger of communist advances in Southeast Asia.

Thus, in 1951, a Security Treaty was signed between the US and Japan, which indefinitely ensured the presence of American troops on Japanese territory, and prevent Japan to cede bases or right of way to any military forces from third countries without US consent. [4]

Although since then have put the defense of Japanese territory in great dependence of good American will, this treaty gave Japan a greater security, which has allowed since then, spend no more than 1% of GDP on defense, wherein the average in most countries is around 6/7% [5].

During this period, Shigeru Yoshida, Japanese Prime Minister (1946-47 and 1948-54) formulated the most important design that will guide the foreign policy and security of Japan’s post-war. Known just as “Yoshida Doctrine”, proposed that Japan concentrate all its force in economic development, with a low profile in the strategic political affairs through the security and defense of the country to the US.

Although since then have put the defense of Japanese territory in heavy dependence on American good will, this foreign policy was largely responsible for the economic miracle that followed and transform Japan in the second world economy.

During the term of Kishi Nobusuke, Japanese Prime Minister (1957-60), Japan sought to normalize relations with the other Asian countries, having paid war reparations.

On the other hand, in May 1957, the National Council of Defense of Japan adopted the Basic Policy for National Defense, which has been the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy and security until today.

Defense The Fundamental Policy was based on four policy [6]:

– Support for the United Nations, promoting international cooperation;

– Stabilize the population’s standard of living, promoting patriotism, laying the foundations for national security;

– Building national defense within the limits necessary for self-defense;

– Deal with external aggression through the defense agreements with the USA, with the UN intervention.

The security policy and Japan’s defense is assumed as passive, implying that the size of the Self-Defense Forces should be limited to what is necessary to Japan’s defense needs, and categorically refused the possession, manufacture or import nuclear weapons.

In the 70s and 80s, this policy will be developed with two doctrines that are at the bottom, a continuation of the Yoshida doctrine:

– Fukuda doctrine – exposed by Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda Tadeo in 1977, where Japan will seek cooperation with countries in Asia, based on three premises:

(1) Rejection of military power status;

(2) Building a relationship of mutual trust

(3) Cooperation in the perspective of equal partnerships.

– Doctrine of complete security (comprehensive security), according to which “… to secure our national survival or protect social our order from various kinds of external Threats Which will or may have serious effects on the foundation of our nation’s existence, by Preventing the Arising of such Threats, or by enquiry.c coping with Them in the case of Their emergence, through the combination of diplomacy, national defense, economic and other policy measures (…) in other words, along with greater efforts in the defense field, we need to implement energy, food and other economic policy measures in a consistent Manner in terms of comprehensive national security, as well as economic rationality. the most important thing for our comprehensive national security policy However, is to always keep our external environment the peaceful and the possible stable, Thereby Preventing crises from Arising “[7].

In short, the alliance with the US did not prevent Japan to establish distinct and autonomous relations with other countries, primarily based on economic interdependence. For a country that was the way to becoming the second world economy, it was important to stability in Southeast Asia, and can not make use of military power, unlike the period prior to World War II, this policy, which had among other consequences , creating strong economic ties with the USSR and the People’s Republic of China, it proved right.

In short, Japan’s foreign policy has resorted to the isolation to deal with what is percecionado as external threat. However, Japan is a nation always ready to learn from the outside and knows when to give way to this.

Since the Meiji Restoration that the main concern of Japanese foreign policy has been to ensure access to natural resources are essential to its economic growth. This policy remains the same, only instead of being currently shielded the power of the military, is based on the alliance with the US, which makes this alliance a stone master of Japanese foreign policy.

The big problem of Japanese foreign policy is to be based on a doctrine that has been always followed uncritically, forgetting that foreign policy must always be revised accordingly.


III.1 Economic Giant, Dwarf Diplomatic

If it is true that Japan has achieved a place on the global economy, it is no less true that it has failed to capitalize on this huge economic success in political terms.

Japan is the only nation in the world whose renunciation of war is explicitly enshrined in its Basic Law. Indeed, paragraph 1 of article 9 of the Constitution states that Japan “… permanently renounces war as a sovereign nation of law and the threat of force as a means of settling international disputes.” In turn, the same Article 2 stipulates that “In order to achieve the aim of the preceding paragraph are not preserved land, sea and air forces. There will be recognized the state of the right to belligerence. ”

Nevertheless, Japan remains a considerable contingent of armed forces, called Self-Defense Forces, which, in turn, come from the National Police Agency, so, theoretically, a police force [8].

The fact that Japan has some of the best trained military in the world poses certain problems in terms of justification in relation to article 9 of the Constitution.

The Law Office of the Department, an agency that assists the Japanese government in legal matters has argued that while Japan has the right to defense, any military action that goes beyond the mere defense of the territory violate the Article 9 As a result, among other restrictions, Japan can not send troops to war zones in foreign territory, protect convoys of Allied ships on the high seas or provide integrated logistics support in the use of force by the army of another country [9].

Thus, although since the end of the Cold War Japan has been present in international peacekeeping missions, their presence has been limited generally to non-combatant personnel, due to constitutional limits [10] and skepticism of Japanese public opinion in utility of military power strategically offensive [11].

The Japanese foreign policy has been categorized as “check diplomacy”, with Japan becoming one of the largest net contributors to the United Nations, one of the main drivers of international economic cooperation and one of the most influential members of the GATT, IMF and OECD. Diversified its staff and the development of Third World countries programs, and increased its contribution to Official Development Assistance [12].

In fact, Japan’s security policy since the end of World War II has been completely dependent on the US [13]. For the Japanese economy, access to natural resources is vital, and it is of interest to a strategic partnership with the US, whose navy can secure the seaways of the Sea of Japan.

The relationship with the US is not just the political level but also at the economic level. The US is the second destination of Japanese exports (behind China) and Japan the fourth destination of US exports. On the other hand, the US is the largest foreign investor in Japan, which is the second largest foreign investor in the US, after the United Kingdom [14].

The main consequence of this dependence is that Japan needs to be in constant line with US strategic interests, which do not necessarily coincide with the Nipponese interests [15].

III.2 The Rise of China as a regional power

Although China and Japan have restored diplomatic relations in 1972, Sino-Japanese relations are still marked by the memory of the brutal confrontation between these countries during the rise of the Japanese Empire.

The said dispute around the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands is a constant reminder that the wounds of that conflict are still not healed. Located between Taiwan and Okinawa, in the China Sea, the islands have considerable natural resources, which makes them desirable for two of the largest economies in the world.

This dispute came to be exacerbated from 2012, with the purchase of the islands by the Japanese state, have been frequent intrusions of Chinese vessels in this area in recent years, joining the Chinese decision to unilaterally identification zone air defense covering the airspace over these islands. [16]

But the dispute over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands is one among the many involving China and other Southeast Asian countries, and to highlight that China’s military budget has risen considerably in recent years, with the Chinese government to invest heavily in modernization of their armed forces. [17]

The fundamental reason for this policy is related to the fact that one of the consequences of the enormous economic development in China in recent decades was the end of self-sufficiency in raw materials and energy supply, which led to the need to ensure energy security, for what you need access to a range of resources and ensure maritime trade routes. [18]

But unlike Japan, China is not limited by a pacifist constitution, or by a recent past history of bad memory for other Southeast Asian countries. And although China and Japan have enjoyed a highly fruitful economic partnership, this did not prevent violent anti Nipponese protests in 2005 and 2012, motivated in part by the nationalist discourse of the Chinese regime, which chooses Japan as the main enemy of China, and constantly recalls the cruelties committed by Japanese soldiers on Chinese soil. [19]

It is therefore of Japan’s interest to create the conditions for China is interested in cooperation [20] and not in Japan’s antagonizing, which passes through the Japan-US partnership, and possibly the support of the Association’s member countries of Southeast Asian Nations [21].

III.3 North Korea: nuclear danger

Although China has nuclear weapons, it is North Korea that has caused most concern among Japanese policymakers for their constant belligerent rhetoric. Despite having signed the Treaty on the Non Proliferation Treaty and UN sanctions, North Korea has never ceased to develop a military nuclear program and ballistic missiles. [22]

Once the Japanese territory to range ballistic missiles North Korean Nodong, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and once US military bases in Japanese territory would be important in the event of military conflict on the Korean peninsula [23], Japan would be a natural target, although it is constitutionally prevented from engaging in conflicts that do not directly threaten [24].

Korea is traditionally seen by responsible Japanese politicians as “a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan” in the words of Ito Hirobumi, the Japanese Prime Minister in the century. XIX, with Japan always sought to eliminate the potential threat by the Korean occupation of Korea, an option that is no longer possible today, leaving Japan to rely on the ability of South Korea, supported by the US to control the North Korean power. This does not mean that Japan refuses the reunification of Korea, but this reunification should allow you to maintain good relations with the new regime, which should be maintained as a barrier between China and Japan. [25]

The North Korean stance has been seen as a way of ensuring the survival of the regime, which struggle with serious economic difficulties and international marginalization by means of a “blackmail” nuclear which allows you to obtain economic concessions and policies [26].

Japan is, along with the US, South Korea and China, a major contributor in international assistance to North Korea [27], which, although in line with the diplomacy checkbook, ends up making the one of Japan keeps one of the most repressive regimes in the world [28].

IV.1 Changes in Japanese foreign policy after the Cold War


The end of the Soviet Union eliminated a common threat to the US and Japan, this at a time that neither China nor North Korea appeared to be as threats to stability in the region.

On the other hand, the Gulf War (1990-91) saw Japan being highly criticized for not sending military contingents in a conflict that was of interest to have a quick resolution, even though a large part of the costs of the war have been supported by Japan. for the first time, put the question whether the Yoshida doctrine was sufficient to safeguard Japan’s interests. [29]

Thus, since the 90s, as well as greater participation of Self-Defense Forces in peacekeeping operations, Japan has sought to conquer a permanent place in the Council UN Security claiming, among other reasons, the fact that the largest net contributor of this organization after the US, having, however, bogged down in China’s opposition. [30]

In addition to threats from China and North Korea, another factor determined the Japanese foreign policy: the attacks of September 11, 2001.

As the attacks Sect Aum Shinrikyo in the Tokyo subway in 1993, were of religious inspiration, having made Japan a strong US ally in the fight against terrorism and the invasion of Iraq. [31] In the latter case, the fact that Japan have collaborated in an operation without the endorsement of the United Nations is particularly interesting. This attitude can be explained, on the one hand, the fear that Iraq, like North Korea, had weapons of mass destruction, and, secondly, the need to be on the side of the American ally, even in the face strong opposition Japanese public opinion [32] (which already denotes a certain realism in foreign policy), creating a closer relationship with the US, which had cooled since the Gulf War.

Japan and the USA have collaborated on ballistic missile defense, cyber security and use of outer space for military purposes, as well as Japanese contribution of 2 billion dollars annually for the continued presence of US forces on Japanese soil.

China, contrary to what one might think, does not pose obstacles to Japan’s strategic alignment with the United States, since this is a way to contain the Nipponese nationalist impulses, hence its displeasure “… given the stance of Japan wagered in emancipate itself partially from the American corset, turning, among other strategic objectives for the Asian space, neglected for decades “. [33]

The anti-militarism of the Japanese public has been able to mitigate, now being more accepted defensiveness based on realism in international relations, recognizing the military power as useful for internal defense [34]

Another example to note is the lifting of the arms export ban or Japanese weapons technology. The most curious thing is that this was done by Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party Japanese [35], one of the rare moments when this party was in government, which seems to indicate that the change of political power will not change the new direction of foreign policy from Japan

IV.2 Collective Self-Defense

The current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has advocated the change to Article 9 of the Constitution, or at least the interpretation of this, to allow the adoption of a collective self-defense policy, which is not prohibited by this provision cool, in addition to greater operational flexibility to the Self-Defense Forces.

So in February 2013, Abe called for a report to the Advisory Panel on the Reconstruction of Legal Basis for Security on the actions that should be taken to maintain peace and security in Japan, as well as a review to the legal basis for the security.

According to the report drawn up, “The state can protect its security better by collaborating with trustworthy countries and assisting each other. Enabling the exercise of the right of collective self-defense would strengthen relations with other trustworthy countries and would lead to preemptively diminishing the potential for conflict by enhancing deterrence “[36]. The same report concluded that paragraph 1 of article 9 of the Constitution should be interpreted to prohibit the threat of force as means of settling international disputes in which Japan is participating without that, However, the use of force for the purpose of the exercise of self-defense or activities consistent with international law, such as participation in peacekeeping operations is prohibited. [37]

Abe, who also increased the defense budget and has declared a strong supporter of the alliance with the US, has been described by its critics, especially China and South Korea, as a nationalist and a “hawk” who seeks military expansionism and trying to erase the imperial past of Japan [38]. Its advocates say Abe is limited to conduct a more proactive approach consistent with Japan’s defense standards [39].

The current Japan’s defense policy, in accordance with the Outline of the National Defense Program (December 2013), is based on four assumptions:

– In light of the NSS and based on the policy of “Proactively Contributing to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, Japan will Contribute more Actively than ever to Ensure peace, stability, and prosperity of the world while Pursuing its own security and peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

– Under this basic principle, Japan will build a comprehensive defense and architecture

strengthen its system for Preventing and responding to various contingencies. In addition, Japan will strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance and Actively promote security cooperation with other countries and Also seek to establish an infrastructure Necessary for its defense forces to fully exercise Their capabilities.

– Japan will efficiently build a highly effective and integrated defense capability based on an exclusively national defense-oriented policy under the Constitution, not Becoming a military power que poses a threat to other countries, while observing the principle of civilian control of the military and the Three Non-Nuclear Principles

– With regard to the threat of nuclear weapons, Japan will take Appropriate measures through its own efforts, such as Maintaining and Improving the credibility of extended deterrence provided by the United States, ballistic missile defense (BMD) and protection of the people. Japan will play Also the vigorous and active role in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.

(National Defense Program Guidelines for FY 2014 and beyond (Summary) available at http://www.mod.go.jp/j/approach/agenda/guideline/2014/pdf/20131217_e.pdf)

Despite the emphasis on exclusively oriented policy for national self-defense, it is a policy based on cooperation with its most important ally, the US. The document shows concern for the multiplication of situations of “gray areas” in the Asia-Pacific region, a reference to territorial disputes, stressing that Japan and the US “cooperate in response to situations of gray area.”

It also highlighted the need for cooperation with South Korea, Australia and other Southeast Asian nations. Although not mentioned Japan’s cooperation with China, it is mentioned the need to build trust between the two countries, although it is noted that Japan “… will Respond firmly and in a calm Manner to the rapid expansion and intensification of Chinese activities on the sea and in the air. “. It is, therefore, a policy of containment, like the US policy toward the Soviet Union during most of the Cold War.

If constitutional amendments are approved that allow the exercise of collective self-defense, Japan can definitely say that embraced realism, and may adopt the strategic standardization to it barred since the adoption of Yoshida doctrine,

The Japan’s current foreign policy is the culmination of an evolution that has taken place over the last 25 years. Its constitution imposed by the US, had the assumption that Japan does not actively operate the diplomatic level, locally or globally, because its security was ensured by the presence of American troops, which, before an economic power, it is ridiculous, well, not to offer a certain guarantee.

The US strategic objectives passed by the need to contain communist expansion in Asia and the alliance with Japan one of many (South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, among others) that served these goals, and had not always the expected results (South Vietnam).

For Japan, the alliance with the US is essential. Not only by the power of its ally, able to rub shoulders with the threats from China and North Korea, as also by the way reassures the countries of the region, saw the controlled Asian tiger. But it is not enough.

While economic power, and investment in various regions, Japan has to seek that their interests are safeguarded, which is only possible with a more realistic approach to foreign policy.

The world today is more uncertain than the bipolar world of the Cold War, and Japan is in a region that is home to over half the world’s population, and has witnessed great economic development, but which has proved source of conflict .

Japan, like other countries have an interest in regional stability and know from the experience of the Gulf War, can not expect the US to fight their battles without which contributes more than monetary aid.

The alliance between Japan and the US, although it is the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy, can not blind the Japanese to a raw fact of international relations: there is eternal alliances, but only eternal interests. The US currently fear the rise of China as a regional power, but supported it in the fight against imperial Japan when it threatened US interests. So they feel their interests threatened by Japan, will they prevail.

On the other hand, an over-reliance on foreign policy and Japanese security with the US can put Japan in a less favorable position in situations that, although they have to do with this matter, it is necessary to negotiate with the United States, including trade agreements . Thus, a more proactive foreign policy would strengthen US security vest, without it also became a corset.

Japan therefore follows the path you must follow.

But its current foreign policy needs to be treated with a certain delicacy face to the memory of World War II. Japanese leaders should show that we are witnessing the resurgence, not the Empire of the Rising Sun, but a nation that decided to take their place in maintaining the delicate regional balance in Southeast Asia, and it does not act unilaterally, but as part of a alliance with the US and cooperation with other countries in Southeast Asia.

[1] The Europeans were dubbed namban, southern barbarians

[2] Henshall, Kenneth G. A History of Japan, from the Stone Age to Superpower, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 83.

[3] Paine, S.C.M. The Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95, Perceptions, Power and Primacy. Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 72.

[4] At this time, Japan already had military, dubbed Self-Defense Forces to circumvent Article 9 of the Constitution)

[5] Henshall, Kenneth, op. Cit., P. 155.

[6] Source: http://www.mod.go.jp/e/d_act/d_policy/dp02.html

[7] Japan, MOFA, Diplomatic Bluebook 1981, Chapter two, available in http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/1981/1981-2.htm

[8] Kuzuhara Kazumi, The Korean War and The National Police Reserve of Japan: Impact of the US Army’s Far East Command on Japan’s Defense Capability, p. 96 et seq.

[9] Ian E. Rinehart, Collective Self-Defense and Security Cooperation US-Japan, p. two

[10] Japan participated in the fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa and created a base in Djibouti, which, however, was not without controversy. see http://www.globalresearch.ca/horn-of-africa-japan-s-first-post-ww-ii-military-base-abroad/21946

[11] Mitford, Paul, Rethinking Japanese Public Opinion and Security: from Pacifism to Realism? Studies in Asian Security 2011, p. 16.

[12] Thomas, Luis José Rodrigues Leitão, The Geopolitics and Security Complex in East Asia: Theoretical Issues and Concept, p. 169.

[13] Even the Japanese participation in global security and the costs of the US military presence on Japanese soil is in US interests (Thomas, Luis José Rodrigues Leitão, op. Cit., P. 349).

[14] Shirikawa, Masaaki, Japan-U.S. Economic Relations: What We Can Learn from Each Other, Bank of Japan, 19.04.2012, p. 1.

[15] “One of the most striking aspects of the US-Japan bilateral trade relationship is que the seemingly inexorable Increase in Japan’s trade surpluses que underpinned Japanese Economic Development Has Been mirrored by similar Increase in US trade deficits (Bergsten and Noland 1993) . This has led to a seemingly interminable series of trade disputes between Japan and the US and concerted pressure by the Latter to force Japan to open up domestic markets and libéralisé its financial sector “(Beeson, Mark, Japan and Southeast Asia: The Lineaments of Quasi -hegemony, p. 4). See also Friedman, George, The Next Decade, Don Quixote, 2013, p. 224)

[16] Chanlett-Avery, Emma and Rinehart, Ian E. The US-Japan Alliance, 2013 Congressional Research Service, p. 9.

[17] Thomas, Luis José Rodrigues Leitão, op. Cit., P. 320.

[18] Cunha, Luis, The Dragon Time. China’s Foreign Policy, Zebra Publications, 2012, p. 136.

[19] This campaign lasts at least since 1993 (Cunha, Luis, op. Cit, p. 314).

[20] China and Japan, along with South Korea have held trilateral meetings to deepen cooperation between the three countries, the last of which took place in May 2012 in Beijing (see http: // www .mofa.go.jp / region / asia-paci / jck / summit1205 / joint_declaration_en.html).

[21] Ueki, Chikako Kawakatsu, Japan-China Relations: Toward a Comprehensive Strategy in Tatsumi, Yuki, Japan’s Foreign Policy Challenges in East Asia. Views from the Next Generation. Stimson, March 2014, p. 23.

[22] Thomas, Luis José Rodrigues Leitão, op. Cit., P. 247.

[23] As has noted during the Korean War (1950-53)

[24] Chanlett-Avery, Emma and Rinehart, Ian E. op. cit, p. 8.

[25] Hayes, Declan, Japan, The Toothless Tiger, Tuttle Publishing, 2013, p. 53.

[26] Thomas, Luis José Rodrigues Leitão, op. Cit., P. 249.


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