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Re-rising Japan

Its Strategic Power in International Relations


Edited By Hidekazu Sakai and Yoichiro Sato

"The lost two decades" of Japan’s economic power since the early 1990s have generated the image among scholars in the discipline of international relations (IR) that Japan is no longer a significant player. Hence, today’s IR literature focuses on the rise of China. Re-rising Japan: Its Strategic Power in International Relations challenges this trend by showing up-to-date evidence that Japan is still a major power in today’s international relations where the interests and power of the United States and China have increasingly clashed over many issues.

Indeed, since the Abe cabinet re-emerged in December 2012, there has been growing academic interest in Japan’s bold monetary/financial/social policies (Abenomics) and relatively assertive security policy. Where is Japan heading, and what path has it taken since the 2000s? This book responds to these questions.

Re-rising Japan assembles the latest studies on Japan written by today’s young and energetic scholars. It consists of three parts: (1) Geopolitics, (2) Domestic Political-Social Norms and Values, and (3) Asian Regional Integration and Institutionalizations. The individual chapters reveal what power assets Japan has and their strength and weakness in today’s international relations. Readers will attain a complete picture of Japan and its evolving new strategy in the decaying U.S. unipolar system where China has been behaving as a revisionist state.

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Chapter One: Introduction: Is Japan Falling or Rerising? (Hidekazu Sakai)


chapter one


Is Japan Falling or Rerising?

Hidekazu Sakai


With China rising as a challenger to the United States in the world arena, we pose the following questions: What happened to Japan? Is Japan no longer the powerful state that it was before? Is Japan in decline? This volume assembles the latest studies by Japan specialists to answer these questions. In so doing, this volume reveals a new Japan and its strategic vision coping with dynamic changes in the Asia Pacific region.

Japan as an “economic superpower” represented the mainstream discourse in academia until the early 1990s.1 However, the bubble economy burst in the early 1990s, followed by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and the subsequent global financial crisis have led us to recognize that Japan is no longer an economic superpower. The loss of its position as the second largest economy in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), yielding to China in 2010, served to symbolize this trend. “The lost two decades” of Japan’s decline in its economic power generated the image that Japan is no longer a significant player in international relations (IR). The great earthquake in eastern Japan in 2011 further emphasized the country’s changed image.

Nonetheless, Japan is still home to numerous multinational corporations that bring in sizable investment and service trade revenues. Japanese multinational corporations have established production networks throughout Asia through the relocation of production sites...

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