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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 Eight: Japanese Foreign Policy and East Asian Regionalism: Inherently Interlinked (Charly von Solms)


chapter eight

Japanese Foreign Policy and East Asian Regionalism

Inherently Interlinked

Charly von Solms


Institutionalized efforts at regional cooperation in East Asia experienced several leaps forward starting in the second half of the 1990s. Japanese involvement in regional frameworks significantly impacted a variety of relevant variables, such as membership, scope and ambition of the different frameworks. The establishment of ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Summit and their differences show how Japan adapted its foreign policy on regional cooperation to a changing regional environment. The outcome of changing approaches to East Asian regionalism reveals two ideational East Asian regions, one limited to and defined by ASEAN+3 membership, and one open to external states.1 This chapter analyses Japan’s role in the creation of this dichotomy by tracing Japanese engagement in ASEAN+3, the East Asian Summit and other related institutionalized regional cooperation frameworks. In doing so, this chapter will shed light on how Japanese efforts ultimately have served the goal of national security maximization. The rise of China has emerged as a main driving force for Japanese to react to the shifting power balance against China.

Distinguishing East Asia from the Asia-Pacific

Before examining Japanese efforts, it is necessary to refer to two kinds of regionalisms that exist in East Asia.2 The first regionalism is Asia-Pacific region←185 | 186→alism, which mainly alleviates fears about the creation of a closed bloc in East Asia. Prime examples are Asia-Pacific...

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