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  • Japan’s Proactive Pacifism: Investing in Multilateralization and Omnidirectional Hedging

    Since 2012, Japan’s foreign policy under Prime Minister (PM) Abe has been characterized as assertive, welcome or provocative. By employing the fear of abandonment/entrapment theory as the analytical framework, this article finds that Japan’s regional foreign policy under Abe is characterized by consolidation and investment in broad-based multilateralism, proactive engagement with partners in the region, including China, and strategic hedging.

    May 2017

    Enhanced Role of Japanese SDF in UN Peacekeeping Operations

    The indication by Defence Minister Tomomi Inada post her visit to South Sudan that security conditions are conducive for an increase in SDF roles points to a pragmatic outlook and mature understanding of Japan’s role in international issues.

    October 18, 2016

    Japan’s Defence White Paper 2016: An Overview

    Japan’s Defence White Paper 2016: An Overview

    Furthering the premise of an increasingly severe security environment, Japan’s latest defence white paper has accorded relatively more space to its ‘strong concerns’ over China’s ‘active maritime expansion’ as well as progress in North Korea’s missile development programme.

    August 22, 2016

    The Abe Statement: Reading the Politics behind the 70th Anniversary of WW II

    The Abe Statement: Reading the Politics behind the 70th Anniversary of WW II

    While it is Japan’s responsibility to pave the road to reconciliation, but for any meaningful progress China and South Korea must reciprocate since reconciliation is a two-way process.

    August 24, 2015

    70th Commemoration Anniversary of the End of WW II: Japan's New Security Legislation and the Spotlight on Its War 'Apology'

    70th Commemoration Anniversary of the End of WW II: Japan's New Security Legislation and the Spotlight on Its War 'Apology'

    For the 70th commemoration anniversary of the end of World War II to be meaningful, Japan, China and South Korea need to jointly address the issues involved through a combination of moral responsibility and political maturity.

    August 03, 2015

    Anil Choudhary asked: How do the views of India and South Korea differ on the two Asian giants - China and Japan?

    Titli Basu replies: The ‘views’ of a nation concerning another sovereign state are shaped by several variables such as the national interest, ideological orientation, security concerns and strategic goals, historical experiences, economic imperatives and shared values.

    Gaurav Moghe asked: In order to prevent China from further augmenting its influence in the South and East China Seas, how feasible and effective is the idea of a US-Japan-India tripartite on issues of common strategic and economic concern?

    Titli Basu replies: The debate on the US-Japan-India trilateral framework has intensified as evident from repeated references to the trilateral framework in some of the recent joint statements including the Tokyo Declaration for India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership (September 2014), the US-India Joint Statement – “Shared Effort; Progress for All” (January 2015), and the eighth India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue (January 2015). In fact, the sixth round of the trilateral dialogue was held recently in December 2014.

    Japan’s white paper on defence: An overview

    The dominant challenges for Japan apart from China remain North Korea. The document expresses concerns on the launching of multiple ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan along with the possibility, for the first time, that the North Koreans may have acquired nuclear warheads.

    September 01, 2014

    Xi-Abe handshake, not yet an embrace

    Xi-Abe handshake, not yet an embrace

    Escalation of tension has scarred relations between Japan and China. The fallout of this has been reflected in the trade and economic ties between the two. Stabilizing China-Japan bilateral relations is critical for peace in the East Asia and it has to be seen how this four-point agreement will translate into action.

    November 24, 2014

    Tarun Maheshwari asked: How was the Meiji period of Japan influenced by and in turn influenced the colonial developments in Asia?

    Pranamita Baruah replies: During the 19th century when many Asian nations were colonised by the Western powers, Japan too had to face a similar fate. It was forced to sign unequal treaties with the Western powers which granted the latter one-sided economic and legal advantages over Japan. As Japan had adopted an isolationist policy, closing itself to any outside influence, the interaction with the Western civilisation was an eye opener for the Japanese. It largely pushed Japan to turn itself into a democratic state emphasising on equality among all. Feudalism was brought to an end and boundaries among social classes were gradually broken down. Japan even introduced a European-style constitution in 1889 and took initiative to develop a parliamentary democracy. Rapid industrialisation also brought about drastic economic development within Japan. Thus, the political, economic as well as societal developments of the Western colonial powers had tremendous impact on Japan during the Meiji era.

    The Meiji period, however, also had a strong influence on the colonial development in Asia. After the Meiji Restoration (1868), Japan opened up and was determined to close the economic and military gap between itself and the colonial powers. To demonstrate itself at par with the West and to reap economic benefits just like the colonial powers, Japan colonised Korea and Taiwan. After Japan's victory over China in 1894-95, just like other colonial powers, Japan signed a treaty with China which gave them special rights on China's Liaotung Peninsula. Japan's emergence as a colonial power as well as a strong military and economic power can be treated as a significant development in East Asia during the pre-War era.

    Posted on April 25, 2014