Japan's Foreign Policy 1945-2003: The Quest for a Proactive Policy

Japan's Foreign Policy 1945-2003: The Quest for a Proactive Policy

Japan's Foreign Policy 1945-2003: The Quest for a Proactive Policy

Japan's Foreign Policy 1945-2003: The Quest for a Proactive Policy


"This book describes major aspects of Japanese foreign policy from WWII to the present. Bilateral relations with the US, China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Russia, Europe and the Middle East as well as multilateral diplomacy are analysed. Written by a former diplomat who was deeply involved in major issues of postwar Japanese foreign policy, it provides insider views on policy making in Tokyo. The book explains how and why Japan is developing a more proactive foreign policy and highlights vital policy issues which it is facing at the turn of the century. It is accessible and friendly to any reader who is interested in modern Japan." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


In the spring of 1995 I was serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Moscow. President Yeltsin was in power, implementing his reform policy and preparing for the election in the following year. The political situation was very tense. It was interesting and stimulating for a diplomat to serve in this historic period of transition in Russia.

One day, I was conversing with my long-time friend in the Russian Foreign Ministry, the then Deputy Minister in charge of Asia and the Pacific region, Alexander Panov. I began outlining a vague idea I had, to give lectures at one of the leading universities or institutions in Moscow on Japan or Japanese foreign policy.

“Is it not useful to give some deeper knowledge on Japan or Japanese foreign policy to a younger generation in Russia?” I asked Deputy Minister Panov.

“Do you think that a diplomat like me could make a significant contribution?”

Deputy Minister Panov not only supported this idea, but also showed a great interest in implementing it. Almost instantaneously he suggested that I should focus on MGIMO, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. MGIMO was a university established during the Soviet regime primarily for those 'elite students', who were considering a career in the Foreign Service. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the majority of Russian diplomats are still MGIMO graduates.

Things proceeded smoothly and in the autumn of 1995 I was given a rare opportunity to give a one-term lecture to MGIMO undergraduate students on 'Japanese Foreign Policy 1945–1995'. I spent a fair amount of time during that summer preparing for the lecture both in contents and language. Colleagues and friends were helpful in gathering material and I devoted all my private Russian language lessons to studying technical and specialized terms. As a member of the Japanese Foreign Service, I had specialized in the Russian language since joining the service in 1968 and had already served twice at the Embassy in Moscow, in the early seventies and the mid-eighties. But to cover over a dozen different themes on . . .

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