Human Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy

By David P. Forsythe | Go to book overview

5
Japan's foreign policy towards
human rights: Uncertain changes
Yozo Yokota and Chiyuki Aoi

Japan's foreign policy towards human rights was almost non-existent until the 1980s. Japan avoided taking political risks in its external relations as a matter of general principle, as exemplified by its single-minded pursuit of economic self-interest. Human rights, being seen by Tokyo as highly political and greatly complicating foreign relations, were not allowed to interfere with central concerns such as the economy – and national security. This posture resulted in contradictions with its pro-Western diplomatic allies in multilateral forums. Such a passive stance in human rights diplomacy is, however, gradually giving way – albeit slowly – to a more active one that gives some importance to human rights. This shift is still uncertain. It ranges from support for the abstract principles of universal human rights, and thus opposition to special Asian values, to a new foreign aid policy that sometimes includes considerations of democratization and human rights in the recipient countries.


I. Introduction

In Japan, as in other nations, there is a contemporary effort to associate national history with human rights. One can read that: “[E]ven before the opening of doors to the world, under the Tokugawa Shogunate, there were rules and customs in Japan related to human rights and humanitarian concerns.” 1 These norms, however, sought to teach rulers principles

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Human Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • Part I - Some Liberal Democracies of the Oecd 19
  • 2 - Us Foreign Policy and Human Rights: the Price of Principles after the Cold War 21
  • Notes *
  • 3 - Trials and Errors: the Netherlands and Human Rights 49
  • Notes *
  • 4 - British Foreign Policy and Human Rights: from Low to High Politics 87
  • Notes *
  • 5 - Japan's Foreign Policy towards Human Rights: Uncertain Changes 115
  • Notes *
  • Part II - Some Other States 147
  • 6 - Russian Foreign Policy and Human Rights: Conflicted Culture and Uncertain Policy 149
  • Notes *
  • 7 - India's Human Rights Diplomacy: Crisis and Transformation 178
  • Notes 204
  • 8 - Iran and Human Rights 206
  • Notes *
  • 9 - Human Rights and Foreign Policy in Central Europe: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland 224
  • Notes 245
  • 10 - Human Rights and Foreign Policy in Post-Apartheid South Africa 250
  • Notes *
  • 11 - Latin American Foreign Policies and Human Rights 276
  • Notes 307
  • 12 - An Overview 310
  • Notes *
  • Postscript: the Kosovo Crisis 335
  • Contributors 342
  • Index 343
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