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M.Citko: Clashes of dragons and dragonflies.

Przedstawiamy artykuł dotyczący nowej książki Małgorzaty Citko pt.  „Clashes of dragons and dragonflies”, o której więcej piszemy TUTAJ .

Clashes of dragons and dragonflies

Japan’s foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China, 1972-2008

Małgorzata Citko

  Japan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are the two countries that influence the Asia-Pacific region economically and politically to the greatest extent. Thus, the interaction between Tokyo and Beijing has been, and still is, crucial for Asia’s development. This interaction has a very deep history, bringing with it many issues difficult to understand from a Western perspective. The history of Japan’s policy towards the PRC is particularly obfuscated by the many prejudices and false reports that have been spread about Japan’s approach towards the PRC. The thesis of this book, aims to overturn this image of Japanese policy towards the PRC. Thus it takes into account a number of factors affecting Japan’s China policy from a historical perspective, and explains the background of many significant events and decisions made by Japanese authorities since the normalization of diplomatic relations, which took place from 1972 until 2008. Knowledge of the ‘invisible and unofficial’ turns out to be more noteworthy than it appears. This book reveals the multi-layer structure of the Japanese decision-making process in regard to the PRC.

 The main goal of this book is the analysis and evaluation of Japan’s policy towards China as regards its short and long-term effectiveness. In order to accomplish this goal a number of factors are taken into account: 1) the history of Japan’s activity during World War II; 2) the existence of historical memory between Japan and the PRC; 3) Japan’s official policy on mainland China in 1972-2008 as presented in the Diplomatic Bluebook; 4) the constant changes in the Japanese domestic situation; 5) the role of mass media; 6) the significance of Japanese public opinion; 7) the role of the international community in the modern world, etc. This book also attempts to resolve whether there are any patterns in the formation of Japan’s policy towards the PRC, or if the formation of Japan’s China policy is overtly contextual.

The authoress of this book takes an interdisciplinary approach towards academic research, and believes that International Relations is no longer limited to its traditional definition. Foreign policy and domestic issues, as well as states’ security and international cooperation, are overlapping. Nation states cannot afford the traditional constitutional promise of their citizens’ protection, due to the spread of international terrorism, climate change, organized crime and even financial crises. Thus, transnational cooperation seems to be the only reasonable way to face these challenges in the globalized world, and perhaps even abandonment of a part of the nation state’s sovereignty is called for. Thus, while formulating foreign policy, authorities of a given country have to take into consideration domestic issues, regional and international contexts, and the anticipated social, cultural and even psychological effects of these policies. Moreover, foreign policies and interests of other countries in the region, as well as those of the country the policy is directed to, have to be taken into account. Such an approach is not entirely new in the field of international relations. Chalmers Johnson expressed it presciently in 1986:

In advanced democracies with high rates of literacy and strong independent mass media of communication, the formulation and conduct of foreign policy is not neat, relatively technical activity performed by the government. In addition to involving all the usual components of any nation’s external relations (the attempt to advance or maintain political and economic security and to ameliorate relations of conflict with allies and opponents), foreign policy in advanced democracies also involves the sometimes uncontrollable elements of public emotion, invidious national comparisons, and the ultimate values of the people. Each of these extra elements offers opportunities for domestic and foreign actors to manipulate or distort policy.

(Johnson Chalmers, The patterns of Japanese relations with China, 1952-1982, in: ‘Pacific Affairs,’ University of British Columbia, vol. 59, no. 3 (Autumn, 1986), pp. 402-428).

Furthermore, it must be recognized that foreign policy is created by people, not by states and organizations that aim to satisfy their own ultimate goals. Moreover, foreign policy is not only formulated by people who know the field of international relations. In highly developed democracies, foreign policy is subject to everyone’s opinion and ideas. Thus, in the era of global interdependence, foreign policy can be spontaneous and unpredictable.

 It is crucial to understand what exactly was and was not effective in Japan’s China policy. Post-war Japan-China relations have been accompanied by the existence and strong awareness of Japan’s former imperialism. This had a great impact on Japan’s formation of its China diplomacy. This demonstrates the necessity of historical issues’ resolution, especially in regard to the process of regional integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

Additionally, this book argues that Japan’s policy towards the PRC was affected by a number of the factors mentioned above. Thus, foreign policy is dependent on whatever occurs in international relations. Foreign policy is not suspended in a vacuum; it reacts to facts, and is not solely based on presumptions out of context. This book also examines whether there are any predictable patterns in Japan’s behavior towards the PRC, or if Japanese policy was mainly reactionary. The main conclusion aims to show that, as opposed to the general presupposition, Japan’s policy towards the PRC was quite consistent and effective in the long-term.

Japan and China are currently two of the most important states in the world. They have been both the subject of numerous research studies, books and articles. It is notable that a number of the most thorough and significant publications on Japan-China interactions were the result of American scholarship. However, this trend ended at the turn of the 21st century, when European specialists, including those from the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden, started to express their opinions on Japan and the PRC more openly. It is important to note that the Chinese have done a great amount of research on both Japanese and Chinese points of view on foreign policy, whereas in Japan freelance publishing on Japanese foreign policy appears to be taboo. It is difficult to find articles and books published in Japanese that are objective, as the majority represents either an official policy of the Japanese government, or conversely a harsh critique. Thus, freelance-oriented Japanese authors reveal a preference to publish material on Japanese policies in English. It should be emphasized that this biased approach to Japan’s own foreign policy also affects some of the Chinese authors, who write mainly in praise of the PRC. Generally, the publications used in this book focus on various aspects of Japan’s foreign policy and Japan-China relations, i.e. domestic politics, economy, law, security policy, etc. Such a selection intentionally broadens the horizons of the bilateral interaction and mutual perception between Japan and China.

The materials for this book were selected with the greatest solicitude. All are writings of high academic quality and cognitive value. Some of them are by such famous Asia scholars as Chalmers Johnson (quoted above), Peter Dicken, Kawashima Yutaka and Caroline Rose. However, the majority of the materials used were written either by young authors, such as Yongwook Ryu, who is currently a Ph.D. student at Harvard University, or by authors who are less known in the West, as in the case of Okazaki Hisahiko, who was an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Thailand and Saudi Arabia. The research by these scholars is also a great source of knowledge on changing Japanese society and politics. There are also books in the bibliography by the excellent Polish scholars, e.g. Jolanta Tubielewicz and Ewa Pałasz-Rutkowska, who write on Japanese history and culture. Yet, the majority of this book’s bibliography was written and published in English, even if the authors were Japanese or Chinese. Internet resources were also a very significant part of the research. They are distinguished in a separate section of the bibliography.

The first chapter of this book focuses on the historical issues present in Japan-China relations, as well as on how they have influenced Japan’s policy towards the PRC in 1972-2008. This chapter also contains valuable information on other issues confronting Japan and the PRC, i.e. territorial disputes, rivalry for natural resources, etc. The second chapter describes the process of pursuing the normalization of relations after World War II, as well as the years after the normalization, which led to the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978. It also discusses Japanese China policy in the 1980’s, including the characteristic separation of politics and economy policy. Generally, the second chapter depicts the beginning of Japan’s foreign policy formation in the 1970’s and the 1980’s, as well as evaluates the results of Japanese diplomatic decisions made in those decades. Finally, the third chapter focuses on the 1990’s and the first decade of the 21st century, which were periods of great shifts both in the world and Asia. The changes in Japan’s stance on the PRC, as well as mainland China’s priorities, resulted many times in clashes between the two countries. This created patterns of behavior that were alternatively followed and abandoned. However, Japan-China interaction in those two decades demonstrates the complexity of bilateral relations, as well as the process of maturing Japanese policy towards the PRC.

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M.Citko: Clashes of dragons and dragonflies. Reviewed by on 14 maja 2012 .

Przedstawiamy artykuł dotyczący nowej książki Małgorzaty Citko pt.  „Clashes of dragons and dragonflies”, o której więcej piszemy TUTAJ . Clashes of dragons and dragonflies Japan’s foreign policy towards the People’s Republic of China, 1972-2008 Małgorzata Citko   Japan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are the two countries that influence the Asia-Pacific region economically

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