Japan in a Dynamic Asia

The Big Persimmon has a review of a new book on Japan and it’s security. Looks interesting but like her, $65 is a bit steep.

Essentially, the introduction lays out the contemporary regional context: A rising China, The solidification of US commitment to Japan, and Japan’s past commitment to multilateralism in East Asia. Specifically, China’s rise is leading to both security and energy competition with Japan as well increased trade and investment relations. For US-Japan relations, a gap is emerging between the countries due to the increasing US emphasis on the global aspect of the alliance, but Japan continues to emphasize the regional (not global) aspect of the alliance.
The authors conclude that there are four constraints on Japan’s ability to engage Asia: (1) Japan’s ambivalence about what kind of role it wants to play in Asia. In the 1990’s, it was enthusiastic about Asian regionalism, but now the combination of China’s rise and Japan’s economic weakness have brought into question who would lead an Asian region, and Japanese feelings toward multilateralism have cooled. (2) Domestic politics. Party politics, corruption scandals, and bureaucratic battles all inhibit Japan’s effectiveness and credibility as a regional actor and leader. (3) United States. Other Asian states have a tendency to think that the US is able to shape Tokyo’s decisions and that Japan will always calibrate its regional policy with the US. Thus, there have been cases of Asian nations essentially ignoring Tokyo because they think that if they improve relations with the US, relations with Japan will naturally come around. (4) Japan’s relative economic decline.

Japan in A Dynamic Asia: Coping with the New Security Challenges, has just been published by Lexington Books (Rowman and Littlefield). $65.00 Cloth 0-7391-1020-9 288pp
$34.95 Paper 0-7391-1021-7 288pp
Below is the synopsis by the publisher and the link to its home page.
Japan in a Dynamic Asia examines a new phenomenon in Japanese foreign
policy: Japan’s increasing activism under the Koizumi administration.
Behind this policy shift are the end of the Cold War, drastic growth of
China, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and new
transnational security threats. This book updates our understanding of
Japan’s rapidly changing foreign policies in the contexts of the new
regional power balance and security concerns. Unlike most books on
Japanese foreign policy, which focus mainly on U.S.-Japan relations,
this book analyzes Japan’s relations with individual Asian countries and
sub-regions. The role of the United States – when relevant – is
discussed in the contexts of these bilateral and multilateral relations.
Editors Yoichiro Sato and Satu Limaye have gathered an impressive array
of essays that will interest students of Japanese politics, foreign
policy, and international relations in the Asia-Pacific region.
List of Contributors
Rouben Azizian, David Fouse, Satu Limaye, John Miller, Gregory W. Noble,
Denny Roy, Yoichiro Sato, Seongho Sheen, Anthony L. Smith
About the Authors
Yoichiro Sato is Associate Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for
Security Studies
. Satu Limaye is former Director of Research at the
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.