Selling Africa: Japan's G8 Politics and Its Africa Diplomacy

By Cornelissen, Scarlett | Global Governance, October-December 2012 | Go to article overview

Selling Africa: Japan's G8 Politics and Its Africa Diplomacy


Cornelissen, Scarlett, Global Governance


Japan has been an important actor in Africa's international relations over the past two decades, although its role tends to be understated in most analyses of Africa's ties with the large powers. This article reviews one facet of Japan's engagement with the continent, as enacted through the platform of the Group of 8. There have been significant overlaps between Japan's Africa diplomacy and its wider multilateral objectives and, since the end of the Cold War, the G8 has been an important forum where these aspects have converged. The article assesses past patterns and contemporary dynamics in the evolving relations between Japan and the continent. KEYWORDS: Japan, Africa, Group of 8, Official Development Assistance, T1CAD, multilateral diplomacy.

JAPAN'S ECONOMIC AND AID RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AFRICAN CONTINENT has been highly variable over the past two decades, shaped by changing foreign policy objectives and internal political conditions in Japan as well as reorientations and expressions of agency in African diplomacy. In recent years, the emergence of new players from Asia in Africa's economy and politics (most notably the People's Republic of China) has largely overshadowed the role that Japan has played on the continent; this eclipse of Japan has been reinforced by the country's relative decline as a major aid power.

Yet Japan remains an important partner for the continent as the source of a significant volume of development assistance and, for some African countries, of investments in key sectors. In the past, Japan has also put its status as a member of the Group of 8 (G8) to effective diplomatic and strategic use in its relations with the African continent. It was on the initiative of the government of Japan as host of the Okinawa summit in 2000, for instance, that African leaders were first invited to be present at 08 proceedings, an early progenitor of the G8's later Outreach Program. Following and sometimes setting the example for Western 08 members, Japanese leaders also tended to use the G8 venue for pronouncements about Africa's plight and for pledges of aid doubling.

Although the reality has been somewhat different, such pronouncements and many of the diplomatic actions that have flowed from the G8 summits have linked in significant ways with other facets of Japan's ties with Africa. In this brief article, I reflect on the past patterns and contemporary dynamics of Japan's relationship with the African continent through the prism of Japan's G8 and wider multilateral politics. I consider some of the substantive underpinnings of this relationship and the way in which they relate to key political processes under way in both Japan and Africa. I focus on Japan's bilateral and multilateral engagements with the continent, the significance of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process, and the manner in which the rise of the new powers, along with other geopolitical shifts, is helping to reshape Japan's ties with Africa.

Over the years Japan has often used the G8 as one among a number of multilateral forums to signal foreign policy orientations and distinctions, of which activism around African development issues was a key component. In this regard, Japan's Africa diplomacy has at times converged with--in fact, reinforced--the country's 08 politics. By adopting certain rhetorical stances on the "cause" of Africa, Japan has found ways to express its (now possibly dwindling) middlepowership. Questions about the future of the G8 have implications not only for Japan's claim as a major power, but indeed also for the way in which the country seeks to operationalize objectives around Africa.

Trends and Dynamics in Japan-Africa Relations

The recent history of Japan's involvement with Africa reflects a curious mix of aloofness, paternalism, pragmatism, and--most recently shaped by Japanese foreign policy ambitions--rapprochement and partnership.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Selling Africa: Japan's G8 Politics and Its Africa Diplomacy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.