Collected Writings of J.A.A. Stockwin: The Politics and Political Environment of Japan

By J. A. A. Stockwin | Go to book overview

First published in Asian Survey, Vol. II, No. 9, November 1962 (Institute of International Studies, University of California)


6

'Positive Neutrality'-The Foreign Policy of the Japanese Socialist Party

THE SOCIALIST PARTY of Japan has proclaimed 'positive neutrality' as the basis of its foreign policy. The Party Congress of January 1962 defined this term as follows:

Positive neutrality is the party's fundamental standpoint in its struggle for peace and the relaxation of tension. It means nonalignment, that is, non-participation in the military blocs of East or West, with the aim of eventually dissolving these blocs; thus it is neutrality on a military plane. In our case such a position is backed up by our Constitution, which prohibits armaments or war, and is supported by the people's desire for peace.

We who aim at socialism for Japan face the unfortunate fact that Japan has concluded a military alliance with America, based on the new Security Treaty, and that thus the Soviet Union and Communist China are hostile to her. For us, the only way to achieve Japan's peace, security and independence, is to end the military alliance with America, and to restore stable and normal relations with the Soviet Union and Communist China; this is also a precondition for the achievement of socialism. 1

The nature of neutrality as a principle of foreign policy has changed radically since World War II. A prewar 'neutral' was a country strictly concerned with its own security which, for certain reasons of geography and international relations, might best be preserved by keeping out of alliances. Sometimes such a policy was successful (e.g. Switzerland), sometimes unsuccessful (e.g. Belgium). The more recent rise of a new type of neutrality (sometimes called 'neutralism' or 'non-alignment') coincides with a great increase in the number of independent nations and, at the same time, with an overwhelming concentration of military force in two ideologically opposed powers, each seeking to add to the number of its allies and sympathizers.

In this new situation, neutrality has been a response to three main problems:

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