Japan's Asean Policy: Reactive or Proactive in the Face of a Rising China in East Asia?

By Sudo, Sueo | Asian Perspective, January 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Japan's Asean Policy: Reactive or Proactive in the Face of a Rising China in East Asia?


Sudo, Sueo, Asian Perspective


Since the announcement of the Hashimoto Doctrine in 1997, Japan's proactive response to ever-changing Southeast Asia has been a main factor in advancing a new regionalism in East Asia. However, it is believed that China-ASEAN relations have outpaced Japan-ASEAN relations due to the uniformity of China-ASEAN's regional policies and the inconsistency of Japan-ASEAN's regional integration policies. Given these opposing views, this article examines the current state of Japan-ASEAN relations and especially focuses on the recent explicit efforts to strengthen a strategic partnership. Clarifying the changing nature of Japanese foreign policy toward ASEAN since the late 1990s, the article contends that Japanese initiatives are neither exceptional nor sporadic in nature. Indeed, between 1997 and 2007 Japan was an ideational facilitator to promote multilateral order in the region through strategic networking.

Key words: Japan-ASEAN relations, Japanese foreign policy, regionalism - East Asia, China

Introduction

The end of the cold war has renewed interest in regional approaches to development and security. Apart from the obvious case of Europe with its economically integrated European Union (EU), East Asia appears to be one of the most dynamic regions among developing countries. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) itself has especially played a leading role in activating closer regional interactions, as exemplified by the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia- Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN+3 (APT). It is thus quite remarkable that these multilateral efforts are being carried out by ASEAN, whose very survival was questioned until recently. Even after the unprecedented financial crisis that occurred in Thailand in July 1997 and soon engulfed Northeast and Southeast Asian countries, ASEAN's regional role has been strengthened by the institutionalization of the East Asian Summit (EAS) in 2005.

Against this background, Japan has also shown some notable initiatives in its foreign policy. For the first time Japan has identified itself as part of East Asia. In particular, it was unprecedented that the Japanese government, despite American objections, proposed the formation of an East Asian version of the International Monetary Fund in order to deal with the contagious financial crisis of 1997-1998. To follow up, Japan offered the so-called Miyazawa plan and initiated the Japan-ASEAN summit meeting, which led to the formation of a regularized APT forum. As an extension of Japan's proactive policies, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo promised in August 2007 to consolidate Japan's strategic partnership with ASEAN.

How do we interpret these policy initiatives by the Japanese government? We might argue that they were undertaken within the traditional parameters of Japanese foreign policy, which is exceptionally reactive due to the nature of the Japanese state conditioned by mercantile realism1 or due to the rise of China.2 We could also argue that these initiatives could bode well in modifying Japanese policy orientation, as a small group of scholars has come to underscore a quiet but steady development of a new style in Japanese foreign policy since the end of the cold war, most typified by various multilateral initiatives in recent years.3

The purpose of this article is to clarify the changing nature of Japanese foreign policy toward ASEAN in the post-cold war period of the late 1990s and the early 21st century, and contend that the above-mentioned policy initiatives toward ASEAN are not exceptional, nor sporadic in nature, and are therefore deserving of special scrutiny. Indeed, when we closely examine the unique developments of Japan-ASEAN relations between 1997 and 2007, we witness the emerging foreign policy of Japan as an ideational facilitator to promote multilateral order in the region through strategic networking.

A New Departure: The Hashimoto Doctrine of 1997

Japan has developed its interdependence and forged close political and economic ties with ASEAN, accentuated by the Fukuda Doctrine in 1977 and the Takeshita Doctrine in 1987.

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

Japan's Asean Policy: Reactive or Proactive in the Face of a Rising China in East Asia?
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.