Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia / Edition 1

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For the past sixty years, the U.S. government has assumed that Japan's security policies would reinforce American interests in Asia. The political and military profile of Asia is changing rapidly, however. Korea's nuclear program, China's rise, and the relative decline of U.S. power have commanded strategic review in Tokyo just as these matters have in Washington. What is the next step for Japan's security policy? Will confluence with U.S. interests—and the alliance—survive intact? Will the policy be transformed? Or will Japan become more autonomous?

Richard J. Samuels demonstrates that over the last decade, a revisionist group of Japanese policymakers has consolidated power. The Koizumi government of the early 2000s took bold steps to position Japan's military to play a global security role. It left its successor, the Abe government, to further define and legitimate Japan's new grand strategy, a project well under way-and vigorously contested both at home and in the region. Securing Japan begins by tracing the history of Japan's grand strategy—from the Meiji rulers, who recognized the intimate connection between economic success and military advance, to the Konoye consensus that led to Japan's defeat in World War II and the postwar compact with the United States.

Samuels shows how the ideological connections across these wars and agreements help explain today's debate. He then explores Japan's recent strategic choices, arguing that Japan will ultimately strike a balance between national strength and national autonomy, a position that will allow it to exist securely without being either too dependent on the United States or too vulnerable to threats from China. Samuels's insights into Japanese history, society, and politics have been honed over a distinguished career and enriched by interviews with policymakers and original archival research. Securing Japan is a definitive assessment of Japanese security policy and its implications for the future of East Asia.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richard Samuels clarifies the international and domestic factors that are shaping the options and choices facing Tokyo and the implications that an emerging strategic consensus in Japan carries for the U.S. alliance and relations in East Asia. Samuels shows how international constraints and domestic politics have been interacting since the late 19th century, filtering and framing security policy choices. He argues that through all the fluctuations—and Samuels is a very astute guide through these zigs and zags"The search for prestige and autonomy have been the constants. He concludes that they are now within Japan's grasp."—Jeff Kingston, Nov. 18, 2007, The Japan Times

"Samuels's book is a valuable reminder that sovereignty has never been far from the top of Japan's national security agenda, even when Japan had hugged the U.S. so closely that it seemed to have become an 'abnormal' country. Samuels is especially good at outlining the gamut of opinion from the Gaullists on the far right to those who cling to the remnants of the Yoshida Doctrine of 'mercantile realism.' He also points out that the Gaullist right is now joining with the traditional left in opposing the existance of U.S. bases in Japan as an intolerable affront to sovereignty."—Robyn Lim, October 2007, Far Eastern Economic Review

"Richard J. Samuels is a master of understanding and explaining Japan's emerging place in the world. To me, this book is as valuable as his earlier influential studies on the ideological—and technological—origins of Japan's military policies. In addition to being persuasive, it is a pleasure to read."—James Fallows, author of Blind Into Baghdad

"In his excellent new book, Richard J. Samuels, one of our preeminent analysts of Japanese politics, brings his skills to bear on the security debates in Japan and helps us understand the policy options it has in a turbulent new era."—Kenneth B. Pyle, author of Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose

"Feeling threatened by China and North Korea, and worried about America's reliability, Japan is beginning to act like a normal great power. Where this leads is not clear. Fortunately Richard J. Samuels has come to our rescue with this outstanding book, which clearly describes Tokyo's options and their likely consequences for East Asia and the United States."—John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

"In Securing Japan, Richard J. Samuels links Japan's current strategic thinking and policy to its past history, dissects the domestic strategic debate, and explores the various factors that will shape Japan's new strategic consensus. This book will be of keen interest to non-Japan or non-Asia specialists in the international relations and international security fields."—Mike M. Mochizuki, The George Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801446122
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Samuels is Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: Understanding Japan's Grand Strategy     1
Historical Context
Japan's Grand Strategies: Connecting the Ideological Dots     13
Baking the Pacifist Loaf     38
A World in Flux
The Change to Change     63
Whither the Yoshida Doctrine?     86
The Discourse     109
Threats and Responses
The New Threat Environment     135
Meeting (and Making) Threats     158
Conclusion: Japan's Evolving Grand Strategy     185
Notes     211
References     249
Index     273
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