Sanctions and Honorary Whites: Diplomatic Policies and Economic Realities in Relations between Japan and South Africa

Sanctions and Honorary Whites: Diplomatic Policies and Economic Realities in Relations between Japan and South Africa

Sanctions and Honorary Whites: Diplomatic Policies and Economic Realities in Relations between Japan and South Africa

Sanctions and Honorary Whites: Diplomatic Policies and Economic Realities in Relations between Japan and South Africa

Synopsis

This study critically examines for the first time the unlikely friendship between apartheid South Africa and "non-white" Japan. In the mid-1980s, Japan became South Africa's largest trading partner, while South Africa purportedly treated Japanese citizens in the Republic as "honorary whites" under apartheid. Osada probes the very different foreign policy-making mechanisms of the two nations and analyzes their ambivalent bilateral relations against the background of postcolonial and Cold War politics. She concludes that these diplomatic policies were adopted not voluntarily or willingly, but out of necessity due to external circumstances and international pressure.

Excerpt

In the study of international relations, the link between Japan and South Africa has attracted only minor attention. This is despite South Africa’s infamy during the apartheid years and Japan’s position as its major trading partner. Many books have been published on both Japan and South Africa, but only one of them dedicates itself to the association between the two countries. Moreover, almost all of the literature on Japan–South Africa relations concentrates on Japan’s policy toward South Africa and not vice versa.

This book looks at this relationship in depth for the first time. First, special emphasis is placed on the bilateral foreign policies in an international perspective. This aspect is for the most part neglected by the small number of the books and articles on the subject. They are inclined to focus on the bilateral relations. Little attention is paid to what the two nations meant to one another in terms of overall foreign policies and external relations. Second, the author tries to keep her distance from moral argument as much as possible. Many previous writers on the subject were driven by strong anti-apartheid sentiments. This tends to obscure their objectivity, and denouncing Japan as a supporter of apartheid appears to have become the major purpose for many of them. Such works are content with merely pointing out that Japan, particularly Japanese business, had relations with apartheid South Africa. Any further analysis, such as why a certain measure was taken and what its implications were, is largely ignored. Third, sanctions and honorary whites are adopted as key words in order to explore complicated issues in Japan–South Africa relations in a broader context. In popular history, journalism and academic research, those terms have been the most commonly used in describing relations between the two countries. They are also the concepts that were most strongly associated with the policies which the two countries took toward one another. Yet, all the research into Japan’s sanctions

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