The Theoretical Basis and Analysis Framework: The Mechanism of Formation and Replication of Misperception in the China-Japan-US Trilateral Dynamics
This chapter mainly presents a theoretical framework that primarily focuses on the causal linkage between the dynamics of China–Japan–US trilateral relations and the formation of misperception. Yun Zhang theoretically distinguishes two types of mutual perception in international politics, namely direct perception (preference based) and indirect perception (system based). He analyzes why the conventional wisdom of focusing the direct perception produced by regional experts (China watchers in Japan and Japan watchers in China) is mostly insufficient and even misleading. Sino-Japanese indirect perceptions are also derived from their perceptions of the international system. The turbulent Sino—Japanese relations could be seen as a result of competing indirect perceptions in different times. Yun Zhang designs to shift the research focus from regional experts to strategic elites in both countries to trace the evolution of mutual perceptions and its policy implications.