Accepted paper:

Evaluating Japanese Foreign Policy Repertoires: Change or Continuity?


Wrenn Yennie Lindgren (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)/Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the idea of change in Japan's foreign policy approach by exploring the Japanese tactics used when competing for influence with China in various geographic contexts.

Paper long abstract:

Contrary to much of the conventional wisdom about Japanese decline and disengagement, Japan has redoubled efforts to define its place in Asia, to revive its economy, and to have a stronger say in regional security. As territorial disputes, risks of nuclear proliferation and arms races, and a dearth of institutional mechanisms critical for avoiding conflict feed a potentially precarious state of regional security, I argue that Japan has moved toward an upgraded security posture and strategic diplomacy that would have been too controversial only a decade ago. It has done this while constantly keeping a close watch on regional developments and a particularly close eye on China, arguably the state that most influences Japanese foreign policy after the U.S. Concerned with foreign policy practices, in this paper I discuss the objectives of a research program focusing on repertoires-- a sum set of potential performances that, in a given spatio-temporal context, is available to an actor and is seen, deliberately or habitually, as legitimate, sensible, possible, and/or smart by the actor and/or the antagonist/audience—within the context of Japanese foreign policy. Instead of directing focus to the power resources that underlie states' actions towards each other, emphasis is shifted from capabilities to repertoires, as a 'toolkit' of potential performances. The aim here is to unpack Japanese foreign policy repertoires by exploring the instruments present in Japan's foreign policy toolkit and how those instruments are selected and used when engaging certain actors, in particular China, in various geographic contexts.

panel S9_11
Approaches to identity and foreign policy: heritage, territory and repertoires