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Home > Books & Journals > Book Review Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Book Review #51: February 17, 2003

"Japan's Asian Policy: Revival and Response" edited by Takashi Inoguchi

Reviewed by Takahiro Miyao

Title: Japan's Asian Policy: Revival and Respons
Editor: Takashi Inoguchi
Publisher: Palgrave
Date/Time: 2002
Pages: English text 261 pages (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0-312-29480-8


This volume is an output of the conference that Professor Takashi Inoguchi organized at the University of Tokyo in 1999. The contents are about Japan in the Asian region and very well-balanced in terms of geographical representation, containing Chapters on Japan's relations with the U.S., China, Korea, Russia, Australia, India, Indonesia and other ASEAN nations.

In his Introduction, Professor Inoguchi points out the dynamic "metamorphosis" of Japan's Asian policy with special emphasis on the period from 1993 to 1998, when Japan's initiative in establishing closer relations with its Asian neighbors became quite visible. It is interesting to see his interpretation of this dynamic development not as an anti-U.S. movement in Japan or in Asia, but rather as an extension of the U.S. notion of "hub-and-spokes relationships in post-Cold War regional politics" together with Japan's own desire not to be overcome by China's rapid expansion in political and economic power.

Incidentally, Professor Inoguchi has added his thoughts on implications of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and reinforced his view by stating that Japan is closely working with the U.S., while actively expanding its role in a greater Asian region including Central Asia this time, somewhat similar to its South Asian policy during the 1980s. However, a question remains whether Japan can be a smart player in regional politics, especially when the target region becomes so wide, a question that is posed by Professor Inoguchi himself in his conclusion. He probably needs to produce another volume to cover Japan's policy toward a wider Asian region than this one.

The following is from the publisher's webpage:

Main Description:
Japan's Asian Policy gives a timely, rich and balanced account of Japan's renewed foreign policy toward its neighbors and of its neighbors's responses. Japan's diplomatic focus on the United States for the last half of a century and its difficulty with its own historical past has been a hindrance to its effort to construct a friendly and cooperative relationship with its Asian neighbors. Yet the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998 led Japan to enhance its Asian links. Japan wanted to make best use of its steadily decreasing resources in order to help the region to recover and restore stability and vigor. The contributions in this collection explore Japan's decision to go Asian and the subsequent impact this shift has had on Japanese foreign policy in general.

Introduction—Takashi Inoguchi

Part I: Regional Contexts

America's Liberal Grand Strategy in the Asia-Pacific—G. John Ikenberry
Beyond East Asia's Economic Crisis: Development Paradise Lost?—Peter Drysdale
ASEAN and Japan's Southeastern Regionalism— David Chee Meow Sheah

Part II: Japan's Neighbors

Adjusting to "Strong-Strong" Relationship: China's Calculus of Japan's Asia Policy—Jianwei Wang
Responding to Japan's Asia Policy: The Korean Calculus—Chung-In Moon and Jung-Hoon Kee
Russia's Calculus and Japan's Foreign Policy in Pacific Asia—Gilbert Rozman
Japan, Indonesia, and Policy Leadership in the Pacific: Economic Crisis and Foreign Policy Opportunities--Andrew MacIntyre
India's Calculus of Japan's Foreign Policy in PacificAsia—Purnendra Jain

A list of Professor Inoguchi's books (in English) is available at:

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