Japan's New Asian Strategy:
Changing Our Ways
1. Changes in the Environment Affecting Strategy
in the Asia-Pacific Area Following the End of the Cold War
(1) Direction of the new Clinton Administration's
Asian policies in US
the Asian policies of the new Clinton Administration are: 1) development
of relations which benefit the reconstruction of the domestic economy;
2) re-examination of the relationship with each country to advance democracy,
assurance of human rights and preservation of the environment; 3) with
a view to reenergizing the United Nations, strengthening of cooperation
with these countries, search for a polygonal security system in addition
to the existing bilateral security treaties and relation of this to
a local trade system; and 4) America's selective participation in area
Behind these new policy
directions are: the decline in relative positions of military strength
in the power balance of the world in the wake of the collapse of the
bipolar system of America and the Soviet Union; the rising importance
of economic and technological power; the drop in America's influence
due to the weakened vitality of the country and its resultant lack of
ability to provide economic and social leadership; the necessity of
identifying a new ideology and goal to take the place of anti-communism;
and the need to justify construction of a new world order and decide
on a division of responsibility.
the American domestic economy will necessitate an increase in individual
savings, expansion of investment, and improvement in international competitive
power. To realize these will require, in any medium- and long-range
plan, a decrease in the country's financial deficit, strengthening of
the human and physical infrastructure while at the same time having
a short-range plan to increase industrial investment and expand exports.
Asian countries stimulated
the market economy and liberalization of trade to a remarkable degree
in the 1970s and 1980s, and as a result the total amount of America's
trade in the Pacific surpassed that in the Atlantic by nearly 50%. A
huge amount of funds needed for America's economic reconstruction will
have to be obtained from Asia.
On the other hand,
nearly 80% of the trade deficit of America occurred in the 1990s in
trade with Japan, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
The Asia-Pacific area
has an extremely important position in the reconstruction of America.
This area will have more opportunities to cooperate in the reconstruction,
as well as being more of a potential danger to it than any other area.
The Clinton Administration is expected to set forth its policies of
trade and investment based on "multiplicity" and "complementarity"
in which globalism, regionalism, mutualism, and nationalism are combined.
In the areas of democracy
and human rights, since "ideal politique" is characteristic
of American politics and diplomacy, it is improbable that the new government
will give them up.
The biggest issue
here is the problems existing between America and China concerning democratization
and human rights. The heads of the new U.S. government are very critical
of the present leaders of China.
It is highly probable,
however, that the U.S. government will, in time, establish a normal
relationship with China. This must happen because, if America is really
to attach greater importance to the United Nations than ever before,
the cooperation of China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council,
is indispensable, and also because China's economy is rapidly growing
and developing and the country is considered to be a very promising
market for export and investment.
Nevertheless, it is
still possible that the U.S. Congress will strongly oppose a rapid increase
in the trade deficit with China and will relate this to the problem
of human rights.
The U.S. government's
Asian policies may, in future, face a severe dilemma with regard to
measures towards China.
The problems of environment
and population may also cause tensions between America and Asia as a
new "ideal politique".
America will maintain
mutual security systems with Japan, Korea, and Australia. But the Clinton
Administration will be watching to see how those systems can contribute
to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific area. At the same time,
it will take greater interest in discussions of problems of security
and politics at ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (ASEAN PMC) and at
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), both of which are composed
of principal members of the area; it will also have interest in the
establishment of a forum for dialogue on issues of mutual concern, or
of a system to increase trust among members.
In America's Asian
policies, Japan and China will be the two major targets. However, now
that there is no longer the threat of the Soviet Union, the triangle
of Japan, America and China poses the possibility of Japan and China
simultaneously becoming opponents to America in the 1990s.
The Clinton Administration
will maintain its insistence that Japan be made a permanent member of
the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. is expecting Japan to
play a role in concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT, participating in
United Nations PKO, promoting liberalization and democratization of
the Pacific area, maintaining the U.S.-Japan security system, supporting
Russia, and enforcing the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons.
In the tripartite
relations among Japan, America and China, Japan and America will maintain
an alliance with each other and at the same time try to solidify relations
with China, aiming toward a closer relationship among the three countries.
(2) Direction of
Asian policies in Asian countries
As seen by the one-party
rule still prevailing in China and North Korea with the Communist party,
despite the end of the Cold War, Asia is trying to avoid the shock of
a "hard landing" by maintaining the old system. The past threat
of one-party Communist rule, still not entirely removed, is now being
complicated by a new fear of the expected danger possible when the system
In this situation,
various hazards are emanating from the Asia-Pacific area: spread of
nuclear weapons, armament expansion, population explosion, destruction
of the environment, territorial disputes, and potential military strength
and hegemony of Japan and China.
Asia has no mechanism
to restrain the spread of armaments and promote disarmament. It is,
as it were, 'laissez faire' in the armament market, where the law of
the jungle prevails. Tremendous economic growth and a number of primitive
and uncertain security relations are characteristics of Asia. Another
feature after the Cold War is the appearance of Japan and China as political
powers in the Asia-Pacific area. Cooperation and confrontations between
the two countries are sure to be manifested in the future.
The background of
Japan's becoming a political power is: the doubling of the value of
the yen after the Plaza accord; Japan's contribution to creation of
an Asian market by increasing domestic demand; and the gaining of certain
influence as a member of G7 and OECD. The Self-Defense Force's participation
in United Nations PKO is seen as part of Japan's responsibility to that
body, and this will also support the foundation of Japan as a political
China, the largest
Communist dictatorship, is in a deep crisis over the peaceful destruction
of its socialistic structure from within under the influence of Western
capitalism and the country is thus forced to be on the defensive. China
is often accused of problems involving ordinary weapons transfer, democracy
and human rights, the environment, population growth, and it lacks active
commitment as a global power. It is, however, trying to improve relations
with Asian countries and is steadily becoming a political power. Reforms
and liberalization carried out since the 1980s are gradually taking
root and have contributed to economic development. China has thus come
to be recognized as part of the overall dynamic Asian economy.
In the future when
China cooperates more actively in the United Nations for its local stability
and in peacekeeping as a permanent member of the Security Council, it
will be seen as a regional power and will at that time have considerable
impact on the Asia-Pacific area.
As feelings of mistrust
and uneasiness spread in Asia after the Cold War, movements are building
to create a special dialogue forum, and a system to increase trust among
nations of the area. Among these are ideas to construct a comprehensive
Asia-Pacific organization like the Conference on Security and Cooperation
in Europe, establishing a cooperative organization for local stability
in East Asia, discussing security problems of the entire Asia-Pacific
area at ASEAN PMC, linking UN functions with stabilization of the area,
and making APEC a place for political dialogue and discussions of security.
2. Japan's Future
Asian Policies and Plans
The features of Japan's
Asian policies were: subordination to America during the Cold War, the
establishment of mutual relations with each country in the region, and
restricted political initiative and leadership due to Japan's past history.
In developing new Asian strategies Japan must overcome these problems.
(1) Civilian power
In its new Asian policies,
Japan must define anew its national interests as being open to the world
and its role in the global society. The definition should be made from
the viewpoint of a global civilian power defining the goals of universal
values: human rights, protection of the environment, economic development,
and making and maintaining peace. A civilian power must be formed to
realize this aim. Human rights are universal; there are no European
nor Asian human rights. To respect and guarantee human rights, economic
development, the establishment of democracy, world peace, and preservation
of the environment are all essential, and a "human rights infrastructure"
must be created.
As for development,
Japan should purposefully establish and proclaim its philosophy of official
development assistance (ODA). In the past, Japan has been criticized
for having a largely onerous ODA except for a very small gratuitous
portion; a large percentage was involved with Japanese firms, mostly
for the mutual benefit of the two countries, and there was an absence
of humanitarian philosophy and of strategy, with too much importance
attached to Asia. It is necessary, however, to point out the importance
of positive aspects like "continuity, predictability, and consideration
of the economic basis and social capital," which contribute to
"international society becoming civic in nature." At the time
assistance is provided, it is also necessary to convey the concern and
discomfort of the Japanese people about the development of nuclear weapons,
armament expansion, and the oppression of human rights by the recipient
of the ODA.
Peacemaking and peacekeeping
should be carried out under the strict supervision of United Nations
PKO and PMO. An organization in Asia cooperating with the United Nations
should advance local measures to keep the lines of communication and
diplomacy open and clear, employing preventive diplomatic action if
necessary, monitoring against arms buildup, and the exchange and disclosure
(2) Promoting globalism
The remarkable growth
and development of Asia, particularly of East Asia, from the 1980s on
was brought about by introducing marketing and globalism to the economy.
Japan's Asian measures
should be, first of all, to incorporate the local Asian economy into
the open global system, instead of directing it towards closed nationalism.
The first step is to create an open system in the Japanese market which
is the largest in Asia and make it global.
It is inevitable that
the U.S. will withdraw militarily from the world. But in the 1990s it
will still maintain a special position as "the only superpower"
and will continue to take an interest in global affairs. How to extract
America's effectiveness as a global power and utilize it for peace,
stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific area, while at the same
time employing the stability and economic growth of Asia to reconstruct
the American economy and strengthen its international power is a major
challenge for Japan in the 1990s.
First of all, it is
important to adapt the U.S.-Japan security structure to the new strategic
environment and to maintain it, and then to link it to the framework
of the multilateral security of the area, to multilateral peacemaking,
peacekeeping and the watchful diplomacy of the United Nations.
In reinforcing the
multilateral framework, priority is in strengthening APEC, and the functions
of the United Nations should be incorporated in Asian diplomacy.
(3) Cultivation of
The modern history
of Asia is one of "laissez faire": conquerors have been born
and camps created, but Asia has never been cultivated as a community.
Creation of a community
requires a sound market and democracy, multilateral forums and conferences
must be organized on each issue, and in this Japan must take the initiative.
With a diverse society
and the advancement of global networking, the problem is how best to
strengthen networking of community non-governmental organizations and
individuals. For this the creation of an Asian intellectual community
is deemed necessary, for this lack is even more pronounced than the
lack of a communal security. There are a variety of cultural and civilization
heritages in Asia, but there has been no tradition of sharing or developing
a common memory and values. Colonization occurring throughout history
and into recent times tore the intellectual fabric of society into pieces,
and the rise of Marxism and communism spawned intellectual terrorism
and conformity. These are the reasons no intellectual community has
yet developed in this part of the world. Today, however, there are noticeable
movements like Asia Networking backed by the Chaiyong Limthongkul Foundation
which was established by Sondi Limthongkul and Professor Chai-Anan in
Thailand, and the Institute for National Policy Research of Chang Yung-Fa
Foundation in Taiwan. These are devoted to establishing an Asia-Pacific
framework of communication.
Three points are deserving
of emphasis in the creation of an intellectual community.
First, since societies
are expected to play a greater role in the world with the end of the
Cold War, research and mutual efforts to increase the understanding
of each society for others is very important. Development of an intellectual
community is a very real need in Asia because it is vitally involved
with the protection of human rights, the development of democracy, and
the creation of an environment for peace. Included are problems of population,
education, literacy, status and rights of women, the environment, development
and refugees, local autonomy, and also those of civilian control and
the "dual function" of the military, that is, martial activities
and political and social functions. Another need is to change the "military
culture" (Korea), the "dual function of the military"
(Thailand and Indonesia), and the "military and livelihood community"
(China) and make these instead a people's state and society.
As important as the
problems to be addressed is the matter of those who shoulder the responsibility,
and intellectual communication among civil groups and individuals outside
the government should be promoted.
communication should not be undertaken by Japan alone, but in many ways
by many countries. This will require means like submitting investigative
reports through an international organization or entrusting some particular
area of research to another country.
with Asian countries is necessary to theorize on and develop ideologies
of "Asian experiences" and "Asian ideas." Economic
and political development and economic and political reform in Asia
will, in future, be important subjects with universal value.
In creating an Asian
community, Japan must realize that it bears great responsibility for
at one point in modern history depriving the area of the possibility
to develop a sense of community. Recognition of the diversity of Asia
and reflection on the history of Japan's relation to it can be the starting
point for new measures to advance this valuable part of the world.