Sunday, 18 September 2011

Japan and its Foreign Policies since World War II

Emperor Akihito

After World War II, Japan have followed a changing foreign policy as follows:

First is the policy of Realism. According to Yoshida doctrine, Japan must concentrate on economic reconstruction and development while giving minimal interest in defence policy, which is based on the security umbrella of the US (Japan-US Security Treaty). So, after World War II, Japan has been pursuing the policy of realism based on Yoshida doctrine in conducting foreign relations with other countries in the world. This doctrine was established by Prime Minister Yoshida (1946-54) by claiming that while depending on the security umbrella of the US, Japan must only focus on economic development. In this policy, Japan was an realist country by paying little interest in world politics.

Second, Internationalism: however, international environment has changed with the escalation of cold war. In 1984, Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone (1982-87) announced in the Diet (Japanese Legislature) that Japan must be an internationalized country. Since then, the policy of internationalization of Japan was established by making Japan an open society and prompting Japan to contribute actively in the international community. By making Japan an open society, a lot of foreign students can come to study in Japan and foreign products have been allowed to enter Japanese market. In order to contributing actively in world affairs, Japan has to participate with peace-keeping mission of the United Nations (UN).

Third, Pragmatic liberalism: according Thomas Berger (2007), Japan is an adaptive state which is trying to adapt itself in the changing international environment. In his views, Japan is following the policy of pragmatic liberalism by contributing actively in the international community as witnessed by the dispatch of its ground force of Self Defense Force (SDF) to Iraq and its refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. In the context of UN, Japan is participating actively in the peace-keeping mission in various countries, especially during the UNTAC mission led by Mr. Yasushi Akashi in Cambodia from 1991-93. In the context of development cooperation, Japan provides a lot of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to many developing and least-developed countries around the world.

Fourth, Two-tier regionalism in East Asia: after the landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in August 2009, Prime Minister Hatoyama (2009-2010) during his policy speech in the Diet, anounced that Japan is pursuing the policy of fraternity in East Asia by promoting the proposal of East Asian Community (EAC) while promoting the significance the US-Japan Security Alliance. Hence, on the one hand, Japan is trying to build EAC by promoting friendly relation with neighboring countries such as China and South Korea while, on the other hand, Japan is promoting the Japan-US Security Alliance as the cornerstone of its foreign policy.

In conclusion, Japan has gradually changed its foreign policy since the end of WWII due to the changes in international environment such as the end of cold war, UN, and rise of regionalism in the Asia Pacific (ASEAN, ARF, East Asia Summit, APEC. etc). Presently, Japan is pursing the policy of pragmatic liberalism and two-tier approach in regionalism in East Asia.

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