Reliable, scholarly accounts of Japanese foreign policy are rare, and so this collection of essays fills a gap. It is the result of a collaborative effort among 17 individuals, Americans, Japanese and Koreans, who received their doctoral training under James Morley, a recently retired professor of government at Columbia University. There are sections on Japan's diplomatic style, foreign economic policy, security policy, policy toward its East Asian neighbors and attitude toward the United Nations.
None of the authors sees any alternative to a close U.S.-Japanese relationship. In an overview of Japanese security policy, Susan Pharr argues that Japan has conducted its foreign policy as a good defensive driver navigates an automobile, seeking to minimize risk while exploiting every opportunity to move forward. This policy has gained Japan a number of advantages: low-cost security, regional stability, and the pushing of Japans burden-sharing contribution into nonmilitary areas. Pharr does not see this fundamental foreign policy approach being undermined either by the end of the Cold War or by Japans new status as an economic superpower. On the contrary, she is convinced that Japan will continue to pursue an activist, relatively low-cost, low-risk defensive strategy and that a dissatisfied United States, out of self-interest, will support such a Japanese policy nonetheless.