[The North Pacific Triangle: The United States, Japan & Canada at Century's End]

Article excerpt

By bringing together participants in two networks of scholars specializing in various aspects of the relations between, and among, the United States, Japan, and Canada, the editors of this volume have done a service to those seeking to understand the issues. They rightly claim that the book assembles the insights of scholarly specialists in Canada, the United States, and Japan across the disciplinary expanses of economics, business, law, diplomacy, political science, and geography.

The book has had a long genesis. It began with a conference in Tokyo in 1993 (funded in the form of the Canada Japan Research Award), the publication in Japanese in 1995 of some of the articles (that volume won the Canadian Prime Minister's Award for Publishing in Japan), and now the current book which includes revised and updated versions of the originals, together with new contributions. The volume is especially helpful in situating Japan within the conjuncture of three friendly countries in the north Pacific, and this it does very well.

While the reflection and consciousness-raising provided through this process are evident, the disadvantage is that some of the material and judgments could be dated, especially as the book went to press last year. It is gratifying to note that the contributors have largely avoided this pitfall. However, some contributions on more immediate issues suffer from data no more recent than 1995. More serious is the occasional jarring reference to a 'decline' of the United States from which some conclusions as to the relative weights of the United States, Japan, and Europe are drawn. Decline of the political and economic variety may have been perceived in the United States early in the decade though it has scarcely been a factor since.

The presentation of a north Pacific triangle is perhaps overdrawn. The title does beg a glance at J.B. Brebner's classic North Atlantic Triangle (1946) which shows relationships on a scale that is simply not present among the United States, Japan, and Canada. …