Japan’s Response to Asia’s Security Problems

  • Dennis Patterson


I wo ongoing conflicts have defined Asian international relations throughout the postwar period. These are the conflict that exists between China and Taiwan and the conflict that has divided the Korean Peninsula since the armistice in 1953.1 While the level of threat that these conflicts have posed to the region has waxed and waned, Japan’s approach to promoting its own security interests has been highly stable, defined by many well-known characteristics. Among the more important are a ceiling on defense spending of 1 percent of GDP, an ongoing commitment to the U.S.-Japan security treaty despite periods of tension over trade issues, and a security role that is limited to self-defense of the home islands.


Security Policy National Identity Japanese Government Postwar Period Japanese Public 
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  1. 2.
    For general statements of the role played by international factors, see Hans Morgenthau, Politics among Nations (New York: The Free Press, 1954);Google Scholar
  2. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979); andGoogle Scholar
  3. Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (London: Cambridge University Press, 1981). For an application of this perspective to Asian international relations, seeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Suisheng Zhao, Power Competition in East Asia (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997). For a controversial application of this perspective to Japan and its relations with the United States, seeGoogle Scholar
  5. George Friedman and Meredith LeBard, The Coming War with Japan (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    While these three factors will be dealt with separately in this chapter, domestic factors and national identity have been somewhat conflated. See, specifically, Thomas U. Berger, “From Sword to Chrysanthemum: Japan’s Culture of Anti-Militarism,” International Security 17, 4 (1993): 119–150; andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Some of the reasons given for these improvements involve increasing flight times for combat air patrols, allowing aircraft to land at distant fields when inclement weather makes such landings necessary, and “saving stopovers” in international cooperation activities. See Korea Research Institute for Strategy, The Strategic Balance in Northeast Asia (Seoul: KRIS, 2004), especially Chapter 3.Google Scholar
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    This is also true for the two Koreas and other countries in the region. It is less true for Taiwan, which tends to see the occupation period in a less negative manner. See, e.g., Teng-Hui Lee, The Road to Democracy: Taiwan’s Pursuit of Identity (Tokyo: PHP Institute Press, 1999).Google Scholar
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    See World Bank, The East Asian Miracle: Economic Growth and Public Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Shale Horowitz, Uk Heo, Alexander C. Tan 2007

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  • Dennis Patterson

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