Japan’s foreign policy goals have been remarkably consistent since Commodore Perry dragged Japan into the world political economy in 1854 — only the means have changed. For almost 140 years the government has single-mindedly attempted to achieve for Japan four interrelated goals: (1) military and economic security; (2) rapid modernization; (3) East Asian and global power; and (4) international recognition of all Japan’s accomplishments. The means to achieve these goals, however, were dramatically different before and after 1945: mercantilist and imperialist before; neo-mercantilist since. Military and technological defeat — by Perry’s gunboats in 1854 and the atomic bomb in 1945 — were the stimulus for both foreign policy eras as Japanese leaders became obsessed with reversing both the cause and the humiliation of these defeats.
KeywordsForeign Policy Trade Surplus Peace Treaty Self Defense Force Security Treaty
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