Tokyo's Dynamic Diplomacy: Japan and the Subcontinent's Nuclear Tests

By Limaye, Satu P. | Contemporary Southeast Asia, August 2000 | Go to article overview

Tokyo's Dynamic Diplomacy: Japan and the Subcontinent's Nuclear Tests


Limaye, Satu P., Contemporary Southeast Asia


Among Japan's recent international initiatives, its responses to India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests have been largely overlooked. Major Japanese diplomatic initiatives in the wake of these tests included promoting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and taking a leadership role in resolving the India-Pakistan dispute. Japan's energetic responses were driven by domestic considerations of public opinion, coalition politics, and bureaucratic interests. Externally, Japan was motivated by a desire to highlight its contributions to international peace and security, solidify its claims to a permanent United Nations Security Council seat, and exhibit its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, as well as by the relative paucity of concrete interest in India and Pakistan. However, Japan achieved few of its objectives. A repeat of such episodes may well influence Japan's future efforts to be more active in international affairs.

Introduction.

Japan's foreign and defence policies are beginning to exhibit signs of rising activism. An unprecedented parliamentary debate on Japan's constitution, an announcement by the foreign ministry that it is considering participation in multilateral anti-piracy patrols in the Strait of Malacca, the dispatch of delegations around the world to promote the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's recent suggestion that Japan's soldiers might be able to carry weapons on peace-keeping operation (PKO) missions are just some examples of the trend towards a more engaged international posture by Japan. Japan's neighbours and others have been watching Tokyo's emerging "normalization" closely, seeking clues to Japan's future international behaviour and ambitions.

One little noticed example of Japan's recent initiatives in international affairs was its responses to India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests conducted in May 1998. Japan's energetic responses to the nuclear blasts provide fresh insights into its broader international behaviour and ambitions. Although the subcontinent itself is marginal to Japan's economic, political, and security concerns, the nuclear tests raised fundamental questions about Japan's foreign policy, including the balance between economic and political diplomacy, the application of its official development assistance (ODA) charter, the role of public opinion, as well as domestic and bureaucratic politics in making foreign policy, Japan's relations with the great powers of the Permanent Five (P-5) and Group of Eight (G-8), the relative importance of specific security factors in shaping foreign policy, and Japan's relations with the United States.

What emerges from a consideration of this episode in Japan's contemporary foreign relations is quite telling. Motivated mainly by the desire to demonstrate responsible political rather than economic leadership, burnish its claims to a permanent United Nations Security Council seat, and exert initiative on nuclear matters, Japan launched strong but largely overlooked efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as well as to help resolve the India-Pakistan dispute. Not only did Tokyo fail on these scores, but the international community and the major powers were indifferent, Delhi and Islamabad uncompromising, and the Japanese public unmoved. Tokyo's dynamic diplomacy fell flat. Whether a repeat of similar episodes and outcomes in other contexts will push Japan towards a sullen isolationism, assertive unilateralism, or what the Japanese commentator Yoichi Funabashi, writing in Foreign Affairs, called a "reluctant realism", [1] remains to be seen.

"Political Animals"

"South Asians are political animals, while Japan is an economic animal", the late Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Al Bhutto supposedly once said. The world is accustomed to Japan's economic diplomacy. It is hence surprising that political initiatives in the wake of India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests have eclipsed Japan's economic actions. …

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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

Tokyo's Dynamic Diplomacy: Japan and the Subcontinent's Nuclear Tests
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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

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.