Academic journal article African Nebula

Nigeria and Japan: A Historical Analysis of Forty-Six Years of Peaceful Relations, 1960-2006

Academic journal article African Nebula

Nigeria and Japan: A Historical Analysis of Forty-Six Years of Peaceful Relations, 1960-2006

Article excerpt


International Relations is a 'highly emotionalized form of diplomatic history' (Leach and Abdul: 1970:1). It is an aspect of history that deals with the human activities in which persons from more than one nation, individually and in groups interact. It is concerned with the totality of relations among states, nations and nation states in the international system. It covers all aspects of life- cultural, economic and political. The importance of relations among nations has stimulated my interest in the study of relations between Nigeria, a developing nation and Japan, an industrialized country. A school of thought believes that Nigeria's external relations tend to emphasize on politics to the neglect of the all important economic issues. This school of thought is of the view that the importance and the centrality of economic growth in national development cannot be ignored in Nigeria's relations with other countries of the world (Olusanya and Akindele: 1986). As important as economy is in the relations among states, so also is culture and politics. For instance, cultural and political relations could bring about greater understanding among nations. Therefore this essay will look at the economic, cultural and political dimensions in the relations between the two nations.

It is also generally assumed that the relations between developed and underdeveloped countries are that of unequal partners. This argument has influenced scholars of the dependency school to claim that the study of international economic relations is a study of imperialism and unequal exchange (Nwoke: 1988:1-4). Despite the assumed inequality however, a developing country like Nigeria stands to gain from her relations with the advanced economies of the world. For example, Nigeria could gain a lot from the technological advancement of Japan; also Nigeria can gain by cultivating a good habit of viable economic planning from Japan. This is most essential now especially that Nigeria's industrialization efforts have been import-oriented (Akindele: 1988:85). The writer has used purely historical method to analyze his arguments. Both countries have distinct principles guiding their relations with foreign partners. Nigeria and Japan like any other country in the world seem to guide these operating principles jealously. There are five operating principles of Nigeria's foreign policy. Like any other country in the world, the first and foremost is the promotion and protection of the country's national interest. The second operating principle is the legal equality of states. The third is the non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states. The fourth principle is that of membership in key international organizations at both the global and regional levels while the fifth is making Africa the cornerstone and nerve-centre of Nigeria's foreign policy (Olusanya and Akindele, 1986).

Like Nigeria, the foreign policy objective of Japan is based on the fundamental principle of contributing to world peace and prosperity. At the same time Japan has always practiced the maintenance of its own security and well-being in manner consistent with its position as a member of the world and as a country of Asia-Pacific region as an operating principle of her foreign policy. In seeking to play an active role in the maintenance and development of the international order, the tasks for Japanese foreign policy are wide-ranging. Apart from ensuring its own peace and prosperity, Japan takes new initiatives to expand and enhance its official development assistance, and to do more in terms of international cultural exchange (The Japan of Today: 1989).

The Evolution of Nigeria-Japan Relations

Before independence in 1960, Nigeria's contact with Japan was insignificant as it was hindered by geographical and political difficulties. Geographically, Japan is very far Nigeria. Politically, Japanese imperialistic quest did not extend to this part of the world. …

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