In This Review

Japan: Domestic Change and Foreign Policy
Japan: Domestic Change and Foreign Policy
By Michael M. Mochizuki
Rand, 1995, 102 pp
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Japan's Alliance Politics and Defense Production
Japan's Alliance Politics and Defense Production
By Neil Renwick
St. Martin's Press, 1995, 169 pp
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The New Multilateralism in Japan's Foreign Policy
The New Multilateralism in Japan's Foreign Policy
By Dennis T. Yasumoto
St. Martin's Press, 1995, 230 pp
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Japan's Role in the Post-Cold War World
Japan's Role in the Post-Cold War World
By Richard D. Leitch, Jr. et al.
Greenwood Press, 1995, 223 pp
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Japan's Democracy: How Much Change?
Japan's Democracy: How Much Change?
By Ellis S. Krauss
Foreign Policy Association, 1995, 79 pp
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Five good volumes on U.S.-Japan relations. In a brief but comprehensive report, Mochizuki argues that the primary foreign policy debate in Japan is taking place between two mainstream schools--the great power internationalists and the civilian internationalists. Both want to maintain good relations with the United States and cooperate with the Western powers. But the great power internationalists want Japan to expand host-nation support for U.S. forces in Japan, cooperate with U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region, promote technological cooperation with the United States, including joint development of a theater missile defense, participate actively in U.N. peacekeeping, and reinterpret the Japanese constitution to affirm the rights of collective security and defense. Ichiro Ozawa, a prominent leader of the opposition, has associated himself with many of these ideas. Civilian internationalists, on the other hand, believe that Japan should contribute to world affairs primarily through nonmilitary means--a strictly defensive military doctrine, regional and global arms control, international security maintained primarily through foreign aid and noncombat peacekeeping roles, and efforts to strengthen the United Nations and other multilateral institutions.

Renwick's volume is a readable and compact history of the U.S.-Japan alliance with particular emphasis on defense production and technology sharing. The central theme, however, is arguable. Renwick alleges a widening gap between the interests of the two allies but does not convincingly spell it out. The author's list of threats to Japan's northeast Asian security environment in the 1990s seems remarkably similar to the list of threats to U.S. interests: uncertainty in China, North Korea, and Russia, the Taiwan problem, tense relations between the two Koreas, territorial disputes over the Kuril and Spratly islands, economic disparities between more- and less-developed countries, and environmental disputes.

In one of the most detailed accounts yet of Japan's foreign aid policy, Yasumoto argues that Japan has successfully sought to raise its profile in the multilateral development banks--the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. As the international financial institutions turned to "Japan money," Tokyo began extracting concessions in the form of shares, votes, and management positions. Japan is now satisfied with its number-two position in the World Bank and the EBRD and its de facto number-one position in the ADB. But the ADB, under Japanese leadership, has been notably lacking in a new vision to meet current challenges.

Japan's Role in the Post--Cold War World is a thoughtful analysis by three academics--two American and one Japanese--of Japan's relationships with its Asian neighbors, Europe, Russia, and the United States. The authors quote liberally from key Japanese foreign policy analysts and provide insight into Japanese perceptions of the new strategic environment.

Several prominent Japanese analysts cited here call for greater cooperation with the United States on matters of peace and prosperity. But Shiina Motoo, a prominent Japanese politician with a long-standing interest in security issues, makes the key point. What Japan wants most from the United States is closer cooperation in setting the agenda. The United States, he says, is unique in its leadership ability. But it often ignores Japan until it is time to collect a check.

Krauss' essay is a masterly short introduction to the Japanese political system. Krauss agrees with Mochizuki that the key issue under debate is not internationalism versus nationalism, but how actively Japan should play a role in the world commensurate with its economic power--whether it should use its forces like other nations, or should never again become a conventional military power.