Comprehensive Security in Asia: Views from Asia and the West on a Changing Security Environment

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The term ‘comprehensive security’ was first used by the late Japanese prime minister Ohira, but the concept as such can be traced back to Japanese thinking on security during the fifties. Its meaning goes far beyond requirements of military defence against a particular ‘enemy’, and stresses the need to take into account other aspects vital to national stability; food, energy, environment, communication and social security.
While not denying the importance of military security, it explicitly encompasses a wide range of other aspects: the search for environmental security, for instance, which requires cooperation with other countries (including hypothetical ‘enemies’). The concept stresses the need for confidence building methods as a requirement for its attainment and pertains to issues such as preventive diplomacy, energy security, second order cybernetics, greater transparancy of international financial markets as means to enhance overall stability. It is a notion that goes beyond simplifications such as ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Since the word has been first coined in Japan, it has caught on in other Asian countries as well. It has become clear that the concept is particularly suited for a continent where large and powerful countries such as China, Korea, Japan and Indonesia are unlikely to enter into close cooperation along the model of the European Union.
In short, in this volume a team of scholars from Asia, Europe and the United States provide clear analyses of issues vital to Asian politics: an important contribution to one of the key issues of contemporary (Asian) politics.

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Editorial Reviews

While not neglecting military dimensions, comprehensive security incorporates other aspects vital to national stability, such as food, energy, environment, communication, and social security. It has been current in Japan since the 1950s, and has been recognized as particularly suitable for eastern Asia, where the powerful states are unlikely to enter into close cooperation along the lines of the European Union. Here scholars from Asia, Europe, and the US explore the issues, rather than the policies, of security in the region. After regional perspectives, they focus on particular countries. The 18 papers are from two conferences held in Hayama, near Tokyo, in January 1998. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004112025
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/27/2000
  • Pages: 462
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt W. Radtke, Ph.D. (1975) in Chinese, Australian National University, was Professor of Modern Japanese History at Leiden University, and is now Professor of Chinese and Japanese Studies at Waseda University, Tokyo. His research focuses on comparative East Asian politics/society/history, and he is the author of China’s Relations with Japan, 1945-83: The role of Liao Chengzhi (Manchester University Press, 1990) and several other books and numerous articles in that field.
Raymond Feddema is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Amsterdam. He received his Ph.D. (A Society in Crisis: Continuity and Change in the Tonkin Delta, 1802-1927) at the same university. At present his main field of research are the political economies of Southeast and East Asian countries in relation to their particular cultures and their links to the global economy.
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