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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 Nine: “Private Sector Diplomacy” in Sino-Japanese Relations (Lindsay Black)


chapter nine

“Private Sector Diplomacy” in Sino-Japanese Relations

Lindsay Black


In December 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his respects to Japan’s war dead at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where Japanese war criminals are enshrined. Abe’s visit exacerbated the already tense relations between Japan and its neighbors. South Korean and Chinese people took to the streets to protest against what they saw as a flagrant disregard of Japanese aggression from the late nineteenth century through World War Two. For Japanese business leaders, such demonstrations threaten the security of investments, undermine sales, disrupt production, and can lead to boycotts and property destruction. In the wake of Prime Minster Abe’s December 2013 visit to Yasukuni Shrine, then Chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), Hiromasa Yonekura, flew to Beijing to engage in “private sector diplomacy” in an attempt to mend Sino-Japanese relations. Yonekura’s actions demonstrated that stability in the Sino-Japanese relationship is of paramount importance to Japan’s business community and signaled a change in Sino-Japanese relations to keep business and politics separate (seikei bunri).

The stability of interstate relations is also a central concern of neoliberalist scholars who argue that closer economic relations should prevent conflicts between states and gradually improve relations as governments seek absolute gains through trade. A central problem with the neoliberal thesis is that its state-centric focus and emphasis on trade figures has not kept up with changes in the global political economy. Economic...

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