Academic journal article North Korean Review

Snow on the Pine

Academic journal article North Korean Review

Snow on the Pine

Article excerpt

Snow on the Pine Kyoko Hatakeyama and Craig F. Freedman, Hackensack and London: World Scientific, 2010. $243.95. Hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-981-4289-99-3.

Snow on the Pine presents a view of Japanese foreign policy that attempts to deprivilege the economic perspective and focus on the political and leadership dimensions of Japan's foreign policy in addition to its widely acknowledged economic role. However, coverage of Japan's North Korea policy is apparently unavoidable, as an entire chapter (Chapter 7) and sections within the book are dedicated to this aspect.

The account of North Korea begins historically, with the failure of normalizing the bilateral relationship between North Korea and Japan and the constrained political space for both countries during the Cold War. The end of the Cold War saw North Korea maintaining its status quo, including its regime makeup and economic relationships with its Cold War allies.

Despite North Korea's tendency for brinksmanship, the authors argue that North Korea really came to prominence only after the Cold War, after the launch of two missiles in the early 1990s that sounded alarm bells globally and especially in neighboring Japan (p. 254). On the other hand, the authors appear to suggest that Japan's response to North Korea's sustained authoritarianism and regional swaggering remained subjected to economic imperatives (the chapter is titled "Hampered Diplomacy") until Koizumi's historic visit to North Korea in 2002, mostly in the name of ensuring Japanese national security. The authors argue, however, that the visit was less than effective due to what they consider "peripheral" issues that overwhelmed the core security concerns.

The authors also touch on the issue of energy. They highlight the fact that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991), North Korea could no longer count on a dependable and subsidized flow of oil. …

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