Japan in the Asia-Pacific region: political, economic and socio-cultural aspects
27.04.2012 г.
Japan in the Asia-Pacific region: political, economic and socio-cultural aspects. - Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura, 2009. - 256 p. (in russian)


The monographic book “Japan in the Asia Pacific Region. Politi-cal, Economic and Socio-Cultural Aspects” contains a comprehensive survey of Japan’s positions in the Asia Pacific in the period of the global financial and economic crisis and the drastic changes in Japan’s political system, arising from the results of the August 2009 general elections.

The first chapter written by Dmitri Streltsov deals with the Rus-sian policy of the new Democratic Party Cabinet. The diplomatic strategy of Japan towards Russia takes shape under the strong influence of drastic changes in the global politics and economy, including the financial crisis, the rise to power of Obama administration in the United States, and the continuing military, political and economic growth of China. Besides, there exist also important domestic factors, namely, the deideologization of the political sphere in Japan, the less dogmatic public attitude in perceiving international politics (and relations with Russia are not an exception), and also the rise to power of a new, more “nationalistically minded” generation of politicians.

There are at least several contradictory factors working for or against strengthening the initially marginalized Russian component in the for-eign policy strategy of the new Cabinet.

Against is the growing role of populism in the political sphere, which to a more extent becomes a domestic political resource of the incumbent administration. As Russia has already become a habitual propaganda target, the new government of Yukio Hatoyama will probably not dare to remove the “Northern Territories” issue from the central position of the bilateral relations agenda. However, there exists also a different possibility, given the fact that that DPJ possesses a stable majority in both houses of the Diet at least till mid-2010, and, as many experts claim, the peak of the economic crisis has already passed. Under such circumstances, the Hatoyama Cabinet may try to stabilize political relations with Moscow that have somewhat deteriorated in 2009.

Centrifugal tendencies in Japan-Russia relations are also strengthened by the weak development of trade and economic relations, which does not meet the requirements of the long-term economic development of both nations’ economies. A modest position of Russia in the economic processes of East Asia that are of primary importance to Japan largely determines a low level of © Стрельцов Д., 2009 political cooperation as well. The disinterest of Tokyo towards Russia is often associated with the fact that free trade agreements and economic partnership agreements, which form the “highway” of East Asian economic integration, have not yet become a widespread format of Russia’s cooperation with its neighbor countries.

Japan’s relations with its key international partners, and first of all with the US and China, produce serious (and, in the opinion of the author, mainly positive) implications over the Russo–Japanese relations.

In the foreseeable future, the Security Treaty with the US will remain the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy. However, the modification of the treaty system towards greater flexibility, adaptability, economic efficiency, that goes parallel with the process of strengthening of Japan’s assertiveness in international affairs, creates additional opportunities for Japan–Russia dialogue over a broad range of issues of international security in East Asia.

Japan is still highly suspicious with the military and technical cooperation of Russia and China, considering it to be a means of the Chinese army modernization. Reports on the contacts between the defense ministries of the two countries, on the Russian-Chinese military exercises that have become regular, on the long-term projects in the security sphere within the framework of SCO etc. comprise a matter of Tokyo’s special concern. However, it is quite possible that Japan’s fear to “remain off side” in the context of China’s steadily developing relations with Russia and the US will exert influence over the Russian vector of the Hatoyama Cabinet foreign policy, too. This Cabinet is more “nationalistic” than the previous one and hence will more probably treat its relations with Moscow as a geopolitical “counterbalance” against China.

Russia and Japan are also urged towards closer relations, given the situation on the Korean peninsula. Korean matters are equally important for Russia and Japan in view of their security concerns over the nuclear program of Pyongyang and their discontent with being ousted to the periphery of the decision making process within the Six party talks mechanism. Consultations with Russia over the Korean problem, cooperation with it in the format of Six party talks, as well as outside it, are obtaining additional importance as a diplomatic instrument of the Hatoyama Cabinet.

Japan shows a high interest towards involving the regions of Si-beria and Russian Far East into the integration process of the Asia Pacific re-gion. The strongest opportunities of bilateral cooperation exist in the energy and environment sectors. Given its wealth and size, Japan will continue to be one of the world’s most important energy markets for years to come. One of the key moments in the strategy of energy security is Tokyo’s interest in creating a regional market of hydrocarbons in East Asia where Japan could play a leading role. At the same time, among other discussed projects of economic cooperation with Russia, only those meeting the condition of mutual benefit could be called realistic and well-grounded. For instance, if Japan makes investments to the projects of modernization of infrastructure in the Russian Far East, it would have a multiplication effect and stimulate its own economy.

The chapter written by Glenn Hook seeks to examine the role substate political authorities and other substate actors are playing in reshaping the relationship between Japan and the Russian Federation, especially the microregional relationship between Hokkaidô and the Russian Far East. Its aim is to demonstrate how substate agents can exert at least some influence in issue areas of central importance to the state, including territorial sovereignty.

The geographical proximity of the disputed islands to Hokkaidō has facilitated the prefectural government, cities, towns, villages, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and citizens’ groups forging gradually a wide range of links with the disputed territory and other parts of the Russian Far East.

What effect has this exerted on the overall bilateral relationship? Has this occurred simply as a reaction to the ups and downs in relations at the national level or, in certain cases, has local-level activity served to facilitate their improvement? What, if anything, do transborder activities by these sorts of local actors tell us about the realpolitik of territorial sovereignty? Finally, what implications do these activities have for the development of a microregional zone of cooperation and identity embracing subnational parts of Japan and Russia? The article aims to shed light on these questions.

The Japanese government has been gradually testing the elas-ticity of sovereignty in the context of seeking to realize a peace settlement and the return of the islands to Japan, but these actions have set in motion dynamics which, over the longer term, could possibly lead to the emergence of a microregional zone of cooperation. In other words, although the government’s goal always remains the realpolitik of regaining sovereignty over the dispute islands, the dynamics set in motion by subnational links may help to instill a more fundamental change in the international relations of the emerging microregion.

In addition to the role of Hokkaidō in promoting various aspects of crossborder relations, the prefecture has forged political links with Sakhalin in order to enhance their common interests. The two governors signed an agreement on friendship and economic cooperation. This has formed the basis for a range of cooperation which by 2006 included business, culture, education, medical, and so on. These initiatives suggest how, based on the functional logic of their common interests, substate political authorities are seeking in certain cases to overcome the logic of state sovereignty and promote, through their own actions, borderless cooperation in the microregion.

The people-to-people and other exchanges carried out over the years have served to improve gradually the bilateral, interstate relations be-tween the two countries, albeit with the Japanese side keen for this to improve the possibility of resolving the territorial problem. The improved atmosphere thereby engendered has exerted significant “pressure from below” on the policy-making elites of the two countries. What is more, the Japanese government as an international actor is in many cases unable to implement agreements reached on the national level without the involvement of local, nonstate actors. In other cases, the state cannot tackle issues of central concern to these actors, and must rely on them for their resolution. In this way, the role of both state and nonstate actors is creating a situation where the orthodox approach to sovereignty over the Northern Territories is being gradually transformed.

The ‘new thinking’ of Gorbachev set in motion the changes tak-ing place in Russo-Japanese relations today. The on-going peace treaty nego-tiations between Japan and Russia, moreover, now include at least the possibility of “new thinking” on the joint economic development of the islands, if not their joint control, becoming a reality. On the one hand, the Japanese government’s move to a greater flexibility in moving towards peace treaty negotiations has created a need for people-to-people exchange. With an election in August 2009, moreover, the Democratic Party of Japan has declared in its manifesto that it will seek an early solution to the problem of the Northern Territories, a change to a more flexible policy compared with the party’s earlier statement of aiming for the return of all four islands together.

The main topic of the paper by Vladimir Nelidov is the postwar security cooperation between Japan and the US and the present-day situation in this sphere. During the Cold War, the Japan-US cooperation developed from a patron-protectorate style relations in the 1950s, towards a more equal and balanced alliance. However, despite the concretization of the Japanese role and the reinforcement of Japan’s` contribution to the alliance, it has not yet reached the level of complete equality. The main goal for cooperation was, first of all, to protect Japan from a possible Soviet or Chinese aggression, positioning Japan as a faithful junior ally of the US in Asia.

The first document that laid the foundation of the Japan-US al-liance was the Japan–US Security Treaty, signed in 1951, which granted the US the right to station military bases in Japan. In 1960 the treaty was placed by The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which up till now determines the development of Japan-US defense cooperation. In 1978 the Guidelines for US–Japan Defense Cooperation, which contained clear indications over the actions of the parties in case of an outside invasion, were adopted.

The parties did not limit themselves only to signing bilateral documents on the security issues. An extensive system of bilateral panels was created, providing for the realization of the treaty obligations assumed by the parties, and serving as a tool to develop new documents and programs. The American troops stationed in Japan during the whole post-war period, though frequently causing a negative reaction from the civilian population, still re-mained a crucial element of the Japan–US security framework. The policy of strengthening the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, which have been established under the approval and with the aid from the United States, constituted another important sphere of the bilateral security cooperation. By mid 1970s, the Japanese regular armed forces have reached the third position in Asia, after the PRC and North Korea, in terms of fighting strength. The priorities of the SDF development were clarified in the National Defense Program Outline adopted in 1976 This document with the life period of 20 years laid a basis for the concept of “standard defense force”, enunciating the limits of the military up-building to a level of minimum self-defense sufficiency.

As a result of the strengthening of its military potential, from early 1980s Japan has surpassed the role a mere “junior partner”, turning into a real military ally of the US. However, till late 1980s the Japanese armed forces, despite the quantitative and qualitative growth, were still unable to wage prolonged military operations even to defend their own territory. Japan received security guarantees from Washington that provided for American troops’ coming to the rescue, using both conventional military power and strategic nuclear weapons.

With the end of the Cold War, the mentioned system of bilateral defense cooperation lost it’s the reason for existence, facing the identity crisis. The parties were forced to search for a new concept of alliance that would justify security cooperation in the circumstances of the post-bipolar world.

After a brief period of uncertainty in the first half of 1990-s, both parties came to a conclusion that the emergence of a crisis situation in East Asia can damage their interests in the region. The commitment of the parties to strengthening the alliance was expressed in the “Japan–US Joint Declaration on Security” signed on April 17, 1996 in Tokyo by President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto. Japan, striving for a more assertive position in the alliance, started to actively broaden its involvement in the international security problems. Since early 1990s, a number of bills that allowed sending SDF servicemen abroad to conduct peacekeeping and disaster relief opera-tions was adopted, though several serious limitations were imposed on their activities.

New trends in the development of the alliance were expressed in the new “Guidelines for US–Japan Defense Cooperation”, adopted in 1997, as well as in the National Defense Program Guidelines of 1995 and 2004. A considerable part of East Asia region to the North of the Philippines, Taiwan and the Korean peninsula was actually included in the sphere of responsibility of the alliance. Among other threats requiring Japanese reaction, the program documents in the sphere of security cooperation note terrorism, natural dis-asters, and the threats from China and North Korea etc.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Japanese Diet adopted the “Anti-Terrorist Package”, which allowed the SDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean to support the anti-terrorist coalition in Afghanistan. In July 2003 the Iraq Reconstruction Special Measures Law was adopted, allowing Japan to send limited engineer troops to Iraq (their mission was fulfilled in July 2006). Since 2009, the Japanese Maritime SDF ships have been participating in the international operation against Somali pirates. Another priority issue of the security cooperation is the construction of Japan’s missile defense system.

It is not quite clear how the new Cabinet, formed after the August 2009 general elections, will approach the future of the Japan-US alliance. While this alliance has already proved it’s flexibility to adjust to new conditions, a possible dilemma lies not between the abandonment of the alliance and its preservation, but between the acceptable frames of the modification of its goals and objectives. Yet, it is evident that for Japan strategic cooperation with the Washington will remain a top diplomatic priority for the foreseeable future.

The chapter written by Oleg Paramonov observes the situation with the Japan-US cooperation over the development of missile defense system. The North Korean missile and nuclear program has undoubtedly become a major, though not the sole, reason for the establishment of a totally new sphere of strategic cooperation between Japan and the United States. In the recent decades Tokyo started its participation in one of Pentagon’s most radical projects, namely, the creation of the missile defense (MD) system. Even at present time, this sphere renders its influence over the evolution of the entire security policy of Japan, leading in the long view to qualitative changes in the US–Japan security alliance. The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between Japan and the United States of America, signed by Washington and Tokyo in the early decades of the Cold War, remains to be considered the basis for this alliance.

Joint missile defense initiatives became a strong incentive for the intensification of the Japan–US security dialogue. Besides the MD related issues, the parties started to consider within the framework of the existing consultation formats a wider range of issues, including the formulation of common approaches towards regional security, optimization of the structure of the US military presence in Japan, the possibility of raising US–Japan partner-ship from the regional to the global level etc.

The elaboration of new policy documents, defining the concept of the goals and objectives of the security alliance (the first such concept in the history of the alliance), was preceded by a detailed expert-level research of these issues by several “think tanks”, created for this purpose by the Koizumi Cabinet. As a result of this research, two comprehensive reports containing recommendations on reforming the Japanese defense policies were published: the report of the Defense Policy Studies Subcommittee, National Defense Division of the Policy Research Council, Liberal Democratic Party, and the report of the Council on Security and Defense Capabilities (presided by Hiroshi Araki).

The Araki report attracted great interest not only among the Jap-anese experts but also abroad. Several provisions of the report were ‘revolutionary’ from the point of view of the Japanese foreign policy stereotypes. Hereby, Japan’s participation in the construction of the joint MD system, together with the necessity to respond to other challenges of the new epoch, particularly, to the challenge of international terrorism, facilitated the implementation of a study by Japanese establishment over the possibilities of revising the harsh self-imposed limitations in the sphere of national security which are not typical for other states. Some of the proposals of the above-mentioned reports laid the basis for the new National Defense Program Guidelines adopted by the Cabinet in December 2004. They were also used for the elaboration of new bilateral program documents on strengthening security cooperation.

In February 2005 the heads of foreign affairs and defense de-partments of the two countries conducted a ‘two plus two’ meeting in Washing-ton. This meeting resulted in a joint statement, titled “Common Strategic Objec-tives”, which can be considered to be the first program document of the security alliance adopted in the 21st century. The new joint Us–jAPAN statement that was intended to facilitate the evolution of the alliance from ‘threat orientation’ to ‘interest orientation’ has become the first US–Japan document formulating joint interests of the parties and proposing the goals and objectives of bilateral cooperation, determined by common interests. This document addressed cooperation not only on the regional, but also on the global level.

The idea of redistribution of responsibilities between the US and Japan within the framework of bilateral security cooperation was realized by developing and adopting an interim report, titled “U.S.–Japan Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future”, in October 2005. This report does not replace the 1997 Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, but incorporates the Guidelines in the bilateral system of cooperation on a much wider range of problems, including the missile defense issues. The report became the first document in the history of the Alliance that proposed the creation of joint command structures; the introduction of procedures for a permanent exchange of operational information, and also several more innovations leading the Alliance to gradually obtaining some qualities of a supranational subject. At the same time, many experts treat this document as a compromise between Washington’s domineering style in its relations with the allies and Tokyo’s ‘consumerist’ approach to military cooperation with the US.

As far as possible influence of the Japan-American MD system plans over the regional security environment is concerned, it is necessary to observe the reaction to Washington and Tokyo’s new initiatives from the side of China, which is a leading regional actor possessing a considerable missile and nuclear capability, and also from the side of Russia, which is a global nuclear power and has vital interests in the region.

Beijing has initially been extremely wary of US–Japan joint MD initiatives. At the same time, Russian diplomats and military officers displayed moderate attitude to this issue. Meanwhile, the Bush administration’s plans to deploy MD elements in Eastern Europe have become a powerful catalyst of the Russo-Chinese rapprochement, as the MD elements meant to be deployed in Eastern Europe and in Japan could already be treated as integral parts of a global missile defense system.

Summing up, one can note that North Korea’s activities will most probably lead to a result that would be negative for Pyongyang, that is, to the situation when the US–Japan alliance would cease to look like a “strange” military alliance, where one of its participants is ready to bear sufficient risks in providing its national interests, and the other one treats self-imposed military limitations as one of the key elements of its foreign policy.

Hence, more obvious becomes the danger of the regional arms race entering the stage that the Soviet and American leaders of the global confrontation era managed to avoid, that is the competition between the ballistic missile defense systems and the means of overcoming these systems. The new joint initiative of Washington and Tokyo is still hardly predictable in terms of its influence on the regional and the global security environment. However, certain optimism is inspired by the fact that China and Japan, the regional rivals of the globalization era, are highly dependent on each other and on the US in the economic and financial fields.

As observed in the paper by Anna Kireeva, in the long history of Japan’s interactions with China, the two nations’ relations were changing from friendly and good neighborly to hostile and aggressive. In the five decades since the end of the World War II, Japan–China relations experienced several periods of their development. The latest of them started in 2006 after a prolonged period of stand-off, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Beijing and met Chinese president Hu Jintao. In May 7, 2008, the Joint Statement on Comprehensive Promotion of a Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests was signed.

As the political relations were warming, cultural and humanitarian exchange started to gain strength. In 2007 a number of high-level meetings on the issues of bilateral trade and humanitarian development were conducted. The year 2008 marked the 30th anniversary of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship treaty. This year was unprecedented in terms of the intensity of summit level dialogue, with six top-level meetings being conducted, including the official visit of Hu Jintao to Japan on May 6–11 2008 — the first visit of the Chinese President to Japan in the past 10 years.

Positive trend in political relations continued in 2009, when the accomplishment of several high level meetings gave enough ground to observe a considerable progress in bilateral relations. After the Democratic Party Cabinet rising to power in Japan, discussions started on possible changes in Japan-China relations, connected with Japanese leaders’ statements on the revision of the Japan-US alliance and the priority of Asian policy in Tokyo’s diplomatic strategy. The Democratic Party program attaches great importance to Japan–China relations, putting forward plans to widen cooperation in all fields, including the creation of the East Asian Community.

Currently, Japan and China are the key actors in the East Asian region, forming two poles in the regional subsystem of international relations. Relations between Tokyo and Beijing combine elements of cooperation and rivalry, as is manifested within the frameworks of various regional integration structures, such as ASEAN+3, ARF, APEC, EAC. These relations are surprisingly multidimensional, as they incorporate not only a political and economic dimension, but also the fields of security, energy, environment, culture etc.

Despite the positive dynamics in bilateral relations and the leaders’ showing readiness for comprehensive cooperation, there are still many unsolved problems. Among other fields of discord, one should single out the one arising from the status of the two nations as different poles of power in the region (the Taiwan problem, different approach to regional organizations and integration structures), the sphere of territorial dispute (the Senkaku, or Diaoyutai islands dispute) and the issue of different perceptions of history. The problem of Taiwan, connected with Tokyo’s close relations with Taipei, still remains a key problem rendering its negative effect over the entire climate of Japan-China relations. The Senkaku (Diaoyutai) islands problem is an important territorial issue, as these islands are claimed by Japan, the PRC and Taiwan. Speaking of the different understanding of history, it should be stressed that for China and Japan the problem of history has for a long time been the sharpest issue in bilateral relations, leading to conflicts and engendering mutual distrust and accusations. It is connected with the problems of apologies, history falsification, textbooks and Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shinto shrine.

Japan-China relations are a good example of Japan’s pragmatic approach to relations with other countries, when economic cooperation becomes a driving force of the political dialogue. It is mainly due to the economic cooperation that the bilateral relations enjoy a high degree of stability. This cooperation is based on an extreme level of mutual interdependency, with the model of international labor division taking shape: Japan supplies technologies and capital investments to China, while China provides its labor resources and production capacities.

China relies on Japan mainly as a source of technologies and investments which are indispensable for the modernization of the Chinese economy. Meanwhile, for Japan the growing Chinese market is essential for its own economy’s growth. On the other hand, the rising economic strength of China engenders the changes in the model of the Japanese economy towards greater international competitiveness. It is the economy of China, which gives serious incentives for the economic development of Japan.

Energy sector has also become an important dimension of the bilateral relations in the early 21st century, as China, along with Japan, grew into a main consumer of energy resources. Both China and Japan are competitors on the global energy markets, both are interested in diversifying their energy supplies. Besides, for Japan the sphere of environmental protection acquires a special vitality, given that China remains one of the most severe atmosphere pollutants on the planet. Japan pays great attention to environmental problems in China and assigns considerable funds to various environmental projects.

It would be a mistake to conclude that cooperation or, on the contrary, confrontation is a prevailing trend in China-Japan relations. The countries possess a considerable potential of solving the problems and cooperating in political and security fields, of broadening economic ties and cultural exchange. A political will of the Chinese and the Japanese leadership for that is present. Ultimately, China–Japan relations are going to determine the development and the future of East Asia and, in the long view, the perspective of the region growing into the global center of economic growth.

The notion of a region, as observed in the paper by Takashi Te-rada, does not necessarily stem from a strictly geographical factor. It means a certain structure, acting on the basis of a regional organization. This article shows how the notions of region, in the process of various interactions, have spread among the regional actors and how the real processes of intra-regional cooperation and its institutionalization have facilitated the fixation of these notions. In East Asia, where various political and economic interests of different countries are intricately intertwined, the institutionalization of inter-governmental exchanges and systems of contacts can facilitate the formulation of common political interests and their realization.

The main subjects of this paper are the Asia-Pacific Economic Council and the East Asia Economic Caucus, both of which appeared after 1989, ASEAN+3 (established in 1997), and the concepts of the East Asian Community and the East Asia Summit (EAS), formulated in 2002. The paper follows the process of development of East Asian regionalism and the role of Japan in this process. In the author’s view, it was the struggle for leadership between the two greatest powers of the region, Japan and China, that played the central role in the development of East Asian cooperation.

Primary attention is attached to three notions of a region: Asia Pacific, East Asia and the Expanded East Asia. Each of these notions, by its name, presumes the existence of the consequent list of participants of regional organizations, APEC, ASEAN+3 and the East Asian Summit. The author tries to answer the basic questions, what goals were pursued by particular actors (states), when they sought to ensure the recognition of the notion of the region of East Asia or the Expanded East Asia, and what processes accompanied the efforts of actors in this direction.

The author stresses that the realization of East Asian regional-ism is formally conducted under the auspices of ASEAN. During the ASEAN+3 and the East Asia summits, the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea are persistently treated as “guests”, who are deprived of the right to host meetings. The reason for it is the concern widely spread in Southeast Asia that the strug-gle for leadership between Japan and China will negatively influence the East Asian cooperation. However, the role of ASEAN is limited mostly to determining the venues for consultations and the conditions of participating in them, while the real driving force for the institutionalization of East Asian cooperation is seen by the author in the competitive relations between Japan and China. Japan’s efforts to include Australia in East Asian integration and the appearance of a new, highly politicized notion of the Expanded East Asia in Tokyo, in fact, originate from Japan’s rivalry with China.

Hence, the factor of competition plays an important role from the point of view of Japan’s regional policy, strengthening the relations of Japan with ASEAN. For instance, the main motivation for Japan in taking the decision to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) with ASEAN, which is the premise for participating in the East Asia summit, was the anticipatory action of China which left Japan behind in signing the Treaty. The situation with the free trade agreements was similar. Japan’ proposal to sign FTA with ASEAN, put forward by Prime Minister Koizumi in 2002, was necessitated by ASEAN’s concluding the similar agreement with China.

From this point of view, an active policy of China in pushing for-ward East Asian regionalism has become a good stimulus for Japan’s developing its own mutually beneficial relations with ASEAN. For instance, the FTA between Japan and ASEAN provides for establishing “give-and-take” relations, where Japan, on its side, can also enjoy benefits from lower tariffs and additional guarantees provided for its investors in the partner countries. Generally speaking, Japan’s policy of East Asian regionalism, which often takes shape in the form of a reply to China’s actions, can be characterized as the “secondary-active”, or “catch-up” policy.

The topic of “East Asian Community’’, as it is seen from Japan, is analyzed in the paper by Konstantin Sarkisov. At the beginning of the new century economic relations in the region of East Asia have reached the level when talks about “East Asian Community’’ were getting much more practical than ever before. At the same time, it became clear that the community up-building was a tricky thing. It is not a short-term, and even mid-term, but rather a long-term perspective burdened by many uncertainties and mutual suspicions.

Following a long way to the Community the members are not unified in their understanding of its size and shape. They are unanimous on only one point — that ASEAN should be a core of its future architecture. As to other elements, there remains a substantial conceptual gap, and the central role of ASEAN underscores the very essence of the problem — the question of leadership. To avoid direct rivalry, China and Japan, the unquestionable leaders who are not agreeable with the dominance of the other, prefer ASEAN’s playing the central role in the Community.

The problem of the size is not purely a question of geography. It is a geopolitical issue. China is trying to confine the membership to 13 countries (10 of ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea) while Japan is doing its best to get another Three — India, Aussie and NZ, hoping for their cooperation during eventual collisions with China.

Who should and will be a leader, or a locomotive of the integra-tion with a stronger voice in deciding rules and institutional matters? It is bothering Tokyo alongside with the news of rapidly growing economic power of China. The IMF reported that in 2009 by nominal GDP China will surpass Japan and become Number Two in world economy. It had a shocking impact over Japan. It is psychologically painful to become the Third after forty years of being the Second after the US. So, at least in size, the Chinese market will be a dominating factor. And what is more important — Chinese market will play the most integrative role due to its enormous consumption power pushing the growth of ASEAN countries. Their trade with China has more than 60 billion U.S. dollars surplus.

In three main fields of economic intercourse — trade, invest-ments and technological transfer, Japan is losing leadership in the first one (though in 2008 it managed to increase the trade volume by 22% and restore the first place among main trade partners of ASEAN). China with its huge financial resources is set to outshine Japan in the second field too. Considering the rapidly increasing investments in R&D Chinese supremacy in the last third field is a matter of time. Under these circumstances, Japan has been left with no other choice than to enhance its relations with ASEAN countries in the way which makes Japan an indispensable partner for them regardless the huge Chinese presence.

Beside the concern on the point of leadership, there are some aspects related to the security problem. The membership in the Community of the ASEAN countries which are neutral but in general suspicious to the Ameri-can military presence, and of the apparently hostile China, may become another hurdle for Tokyo’s participation.

From the author’s point of view, there is no single country that could have a strong interest to let Russia into the Community. Even China, the “strategic partner” of Russia, is constrained by its fundamental position in favor for 13 participants. Japan could have been interested in Russian membership as a counterbalance to China, but the longstanding territorial dispute is re-garded by Tokyo as a precondition for that.

The membership of Russia in the East Asian Community com-pletely depends on the extent of the involvement of its economy to the regional markets. It should be recognized that the extent of this involvement it is not sufficient yet. Hence, the most necessary thing for Russia is to pursue a long-term economic strategy of open and well organized market.

The paper by Evgeny Kovrigin contains an analysis of Japan’s ODA to developing countries of the Asia Pacific Region, which constitutes an important and controversial issue of the international economic life in the past two decades.

After growing into the second economic power of the world, since 1970s Japan continually increased low-interest loans, non-returnable subsidies (gifts) and other forms of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) mostly to developing countries located in the Pacific Asia. People’s Republic of China and the ASEAN nations, “favorites” of Japan’s ODA, received its gener-ous portion, reaching up to two thirds of the whole volume of aid.

By 1989 Japan’s aid has surpassed that of the US and for next 12 years (except for one year) Japan remained the “locomotive” of the global ODA. While in 1975 the amount of the Japanese ODA equaled about 1.1 billions USD, in 1995 it reached almost 15 billions USD. In certain years Japan’s aid to developing countries amounted to one fourth of the global ODA budget. Estimates show that in 1954–2008 Japan allocated a total amount of 250 billions USD of aid to the third world nations.

Though the Japanese ODA was guided by a number of priorities that changed over time, certain enduring objectives continued to be preserved: 1) ODA programs should lead to the establishment of positive rela-tions with key developing countries. 2) ODA should promote the industrial infrastructure in these countries, with the aim of “pulling” them up to the level where they could accept Japanese investments and become effective trade partners. 3) ODA should supplement the US strategy of the containment of communism, of combating international terrorism etc. Massive ODA was intended to complement Japan’s sufficient influence, if not leadership, in Asia. In part, Japan managed (though not everywhere) to increase and strengthen its authority in some Asian nations. At the same time, these nations, with Japan’s help, managed to raise the level of their initially backward infrastructure and to create new industries. Many of the less developed nations within and outside the Asia Pacific region expected the Japanese aid, strived for it and used every possibility to obtain it. Thus Japan’s ODA has indeed become an important source of international economic dynamism.

However, it would a mistake to overestimate the soft power of Japanese aid. Since mid 1990s, a widespread opinion prevailed in Japan that in its present condition the ODA does not serve the Japanese national interests (especially the ODA to China), that it requires greater financial economy and more implementation control, and that it urgently needs a radical reform. Since that time, preferential transfers to developing countries of the APR started to stall, leading to the interruption of the steady growth of Japan’s ODA programs.

Despite the leading positions of Japan in the ODA, almost all aspects of its aid programs have been subject to a sharp criticism from outside – from other donor states, from international organizations and even from recipient states. The accusations against the Japanese ODA included statements about a low percentage of ODA expenditures in the gross national product of Japan, about the excessively commercial nature of aid, hinting Japan’s desire to get immediate return, about Japan’s providing aid to corrupt and antinational governments etc. Actually this criticism was based on real problems that are difficult to be solved.

Since early 21st century, the LDP cabinets pursued a clear policy of considerable annual cuts of aid to the developing world. As a result, the former ODA leader state found itself on the sixth place, with the next perspective to concede it to Italy. It is noteworthy that the program documents of the Democratic Party that rose to power after the August 2009 elections do not mention a word about any plans of aiding the developing nations. In addition to the general weakening of Japan’s global economic positions, there are also more detailed reasons for the “decay”, connected with both the internal (threatening demographic situation) and the international changes.

Perhaps it is the aid to China where the changes in geography and forms of Japan’s ODA are the most visible. For more than 20 years China, remaining a nation with the political regime totally alien to Japan, continued to be the favorite of Tokyo’s ODA programs. The loans and gifts from Japan have substantially helped China to develop its transport and other infrastructure, as well as its social sphere. On the other hand, if it had not been not for the aid, Japan would not have reached the present-day leading positions in the Chinese economy. However, the abundant aid has not given Tokyo any political influence over Beijing. The paper draws attention to many actions of China which explicitly contradicted the international goals of Japan and its official ODA Charter. The Japanese public opinion, once quite benevolent to China, was constantly growing more and more critical. As a result of the difficulties in Japan-China relations, 2008 became the last year of extensive bilateral cooperation programs.

Japan’s ODA to ASEAN took a different configuration. Japan’s aid serving a manifestation of the importance of ASEAN for the Japanese for-eign trade and investment was actually conducted on the basis of Japanese diplomacy in the region. Similarly to the case of China, Japan’s ODA in the South East Asia played the role of a “lubricant” of its economic policy. Over time, several “old” ASEAN members, to a large extent due to the Japanese aid, matured economically, so their needs for the ODA decreased, with Indonesia being now an important exception. At the same time, the numerical expansion of the ASEAN in the 1990s added to the recipient list some nations, poor but “interesting” for Japan. At the current stage, Vietnam and other countries of Indochina, and eventually Myanmar (Burma) require unremitting attention and sizeable volumes of aid from Tokyo. Tokyo’s strategy “Back to the South East Asia” will hardly let ASEAN lose its preferential role in the distribution of the Japanese ODA.

In the long term, the Hindustan peninsula will likely become the second target of the Japanese aid. Most likely, it is India that will replace China in its position of the main recipient of Japanese ODA, given that it fully fits the position of a friendly state in the Japanese concept of comprehensive national security. Finally, Africa, particularly the Sub-Saharan Africa, many countries of which are actually economic bankrupts while possessing substantial natural resources, seems to become the third perspective geographical object of the Japanese aid.

There is every probability that the declining trend in Japan’s contribution to ODA will continue under the new Cabinet of Yukio Hatoyama. What is going to replace this form of economic cooperation? In 2002-2008 Japan signed so-called Free Trade Agreements (FTA) or Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with all major ASEAN nations (for the time being, except for the three poorest members). Moreover, in 2007 the Japan-ASEAN agreement was concluded. Hence, almost all region of South East Asia became linked to Japan in terms of trade. In the author’s opinion, one can observe a change of paradigm, at least, for this region, in the Japanese foreign economic policy — from the ODA to preferential trade. In due course, this process is likely to spread to other developing nations and regions as well. Accordingly, the aid will probably cease to remain the basic instrument of Japan’s relations with the developing countries, and become an additional, though an important, instrument of its foreign policy. In terms of quantity and volume, Japan has indeed passed its zenith. However, reforms and optimiza-tion of preferential transfers are on the agenda, for as far back as 10 years ago an authoritative commission of Japanese experts (the Kusano commission) noted that “even within the framework of the reduced budget there still exist multiple leverages enabling Japan to reach even more considerable results”.

The paper by Irina Timonina and Alexey Polishchuk deals with Japan’s approach to competition on the energy markets of the Asia Pacific region. Economic globalization is expanding throughout the world, accompanied by a tight race for access to natural resources. Breakthrough in economic development in the Asian countries makes the region very sensitive to the scarce of energy.

Researchers specializing on the energy sphere studies note that competition for energy in the Asia Pacific will increase in future. In the close perspective, developing countries of the region will become the largest group of energy consumers. One can see a rapid economic growth in developing countries of Asia, increased consumption of energy in the industry and significant increase in energy demand in the residential sector. Motorization makes a great share of increase in fuel consumption in transport.

In regards to Japan, to date it is one of the leading world econo-mies and one of the largest energy consumers in the world. The energy sector is fully focused on import of gas, coal and oil. According to the IEA data, in Japan the share of import in total primary energy supply was 81.7% in 2006. Because of its high dependence on energy imports, the Japanese energy sphere is very vulnerable. A special concern is felt by the Japanese government in connection with the almost complete dependence on imported crude oil, which provides for about a half of the country’s energy supplies. According to the Petroleum Association of Japan, the country dependence level on imports of this type of energy stands at 99.7%. In reality, Japan is one of the largest importers of oil in the world and will retain this position for the foreseeable future.

This makes Japan rank energy issues at the top of its national priorities. The main question is where this huge amount of energy resources is going to come from. A great attention is also paid to the problem of sustainable development and the influence of the ecological factors on the energy policies. Modern energy policies of Japan balance between the economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security. The Japanese government’s increased interest in the energy sphere has important implications for the whole Asia-Pacific energy market. And Japan is very active in this field, offering several programs for cooperation.

The Japanese political leaders and business community jointly offer the ways to address the situation, focusing on international cooperation. This position is based on understanding that the Japanese economy is a part of the global economic system with one of its centers located in the Asia-Pacific region. An important goal of energy policy of Japan lies in its peaceful coexistence with other countries whose interests may be largely in conflict with the interests of Tokyo. This approach stems from the dual-faced status of Japan in the Asia-Pacific energy markets: it remains a profitable customer for some countries and a competitor for the others.

Currently, one can talk of a fundamental shift in Japan’s energy diplomacy. An analysis of the official Strategy and Approaches of Japan’s Energy Diplomacy shows that Japan’s policy is going to move from “energy competition” to “energy cooperation”. In Tokyo’s view, energy diplomacy should provide for strengthening of the regional integration processes. The Japanese government brings regional cooperation to a focus of its national energy strategy and strives to build a long-term partnership with foreign coun-tries, particularly those from the Asia Pacific region. Japan hopes that strengthening of the integration processes on a regional scale will be beneficial from the point of view of a more efficient use of natural resources and solving the environmental problems.

The success stories of regional integration in other parts of the planet, including the one in the sphere of energy, are hardly applicable to the Asia Pacific with its vast variety of political and socio-economic development and, more importantly, the dispersed geographical location of the countries. Even in the developed Japan electricity grid is divided into two separate zones, interconnected with only three frequency conversion stations in the centre of the country.

In recent years the concept of energy integration in the Asia-Pacific region continues to evolve. Because of the economic and geographical features of the region “hardware” integration, which succeeded in Europe and North America, has no future in the East Asia .

Energy collaboration in the Asia Pacific assumes a special na-ture. In present conditions, the integration based on the hardware of oil and gas pipelines and the high-voltage poling paves the way to a unifying process that focuses on the maximum activity of economic agents and the mobility of primary energy and products, technologies and know-how. The only option acceptable for region with its mainly isolated energy systems is the integration based on the dissemination of technological innovations and strengthening of market principles. In line with the general innovation trends in the energy sphere, the emphasis should be made on the mobility of modern technologies and the increasing role of the market regulation.

Japan’s experience in the development of advanced energy saving technologies in industry turns it into a leading power of regional energy integration. The model of energy cooperation introduced by Japan can reduce the acuteness of the energy problem in the region. It should be understood that the effect of integration process will not be immediate. A balanced energy development in the countries of Asia Pacific region requires overcoming the inertia of fast industrial development of the leading regional powers. Japan demonstrates to its neighbors an example of self-restriction and efficacy, while these two virtues are the keys to the problem of finding a balance between economic growth, environment protection and energy security.

The paper written by Prof. Sergei Chugrov contains a retrospec-tive analysis of the transformation of theories of the Japanese national charac-ter. In Japan there have been several attempts to launch an intellectual dis-course based on the concept of unique Japanese identity called nihonjinron (“theory-about-the-Japanese”). These theories first appeared in the Meiji period, attained maturity the 1930s, reached their apex in the 1960s–1970s and started to decline in the 1980s.

There is a whole saga about the nihonjinron theory. Hundreds of books and dozens of thousands of articles on this issue have been published. Even now a heavy impact of the nihonjinron thinking is still persistent (though to a lesser extent) in the Japanese self-identity. Hence, certain stereotypes about the uniqueness of the Japanese, born by the above-mentioned discourse, are still alive, as the desire to reaffirm its distinctive character is typical for the nation willing to maintain its identity.

The attractiveness of the “theories-about-the-Japanese” is based on their distinctive romanticism and even narcissism. They claim that the Japanese society has always been indivisible and harmonious and that all (or almost all) Japanese share basic features of the common national charac-ter.

The author analyzes some outstanding papers that facilitated the establishment of nihonjinron — “The Chrisantenum and the Sword” by Ruth Benedict, “Interpersonal Relations in Vertically Structured Society” by Chie Nakane. They praised collectivism and the vertical structure of society as the alpha and omega of the Japanese system of values.

A flow of books on nihonjinron started to run out only in the 1980s., when Japan acquired more confidence on the international arena and the necessity to constantly assert its unique identity disappeared. Actually, glo-balization seriously amended the self-identity of the Japanese. In the academic literature, criticism of nihonjinron became fashionable and almost obligatory. The author analyzes in detail the transformation of the Japanese identity under the pressure of globalization, which gave birth to new myths about Japan that overthrew the old stereotypes.

The author chose ten most typical new stereotypes about Japan, that appeared on the ruins of the “theories about the Japanese”, and tried to analyze them objectively, without any emphasis on both the opinions of the proponents of nihonjinron, and the arguments of their opponents. The resulting picture is ambiguous.

Stereotype 1. The Japanese have a more indifferent attitude to their country than they used to. The author debunks this new myth. Using the statistical data, he proves that patriotic feelings in Japan have been quite stable during the recent 20 years, and this index has been much higher than 50%. During the past 3 years, there has been a tendency of growth and in 2008 this index reached its peak — 57%.

Stereotype 2. Japan is a full-fledged modern democracy. From the institutional point of view, Japan does not have any drastic differences from the modern Western standards. However, after borrowing the key elements of the modern institutions in the West, the Japanese society has adopted them in a form of mixture with some traditional features of the national political culture. Many Japanese follow the general trend by feeling nostalgic for stability, for the possibility to reach consensus in an informal way, for the communication culture based on mutual sharing personal obligations and broad interpretation of any legal regulations. In this feature, the hybrid nature of the Japanese system reaches its utmost evidence.

Stereotype 3. Japan is a completely safe country. The Japanese are deservedly proud of low crime rates. However, one should not forget that yakuza, one of the most dangerous forms of organized crime, still exists in Japan. Another topic receiving wide media coverage is the growth of violence and psychological terror in schools. Shock has arisen among the Japanese public in connection with media reports on terrorist attacks in Tokyo subway, prepared and conducted by the Aum Shinrikyo sect, on the cases of mass AIDS infection through blood transfusion, of the delivery of fatally poisonous gyoza dumplings from China etc.

Stereotype 4. Japan is an open multicultural society. The paper proves the opposite: in the ethnically homogenous Japan the problem of migration has become a particularly sharp issue. Paradoxically, the nation keeps some elements of psychological closedness, inherited from the past. There are still some rudiments of “insular thinking” in the national foreign policy mentality. Obviously, as the processes of globalization advance, the pressure of “foreign values” is directly proportional to the resistance against it.

Stereotype 5. Japan is a recognized global leader in the devel-opment of global trade and industry. Of course, Japan actively promotes global trade. However, it would be a mistake to contemplate that the nation has com-pletely opened its markets and removed trade barriers. For foreigners, it is extremely difficult to do business with Japan without the support of a major Japanese partner, as well as to purchase a Japanese company.

Stereotype 6. The Japanese love nature and take care of it. To a large extent, it is true. However, Japan faced environmental problems because of the egoistic exploitation of natural resources. The Japanese realized their mistake only when they faced an obvious degradation of environment. Flourishing of industry is sometimes reached at the expense of reckless exploitation of priceless resources of the World Ocean and of other countries. Particularly, Japan continues the internationally banned whaling.

Stereotype 7. Japan relieved itself of the collectivist mentality. The Japanese opponents of nihonjinron claim that individualism has become so widespread in society that it would be naïve to speak of the persistency of conformism among the Japanese. They say that individualism has completely defeated collectivism. The author challenges this statement and gives statistical material that completely ruins the myth of a total triumph of the Western-style individualism in Japan.

Stereotype 8. Unparalleled diligence. Nihonjiron states that labor is valuable by itself for the Japanese. However, when the nation reached prosperity, many people started to ask themselves: “Why do we have to work so much?” Diligence ceased to be an absolute virtue and became a debatable one. In the public eye, leisure and consumption started to be treated more attractive than production.

Stereotype 9. Japan Incorporated. For many decades it was a dominant belief that Japanese economy is based on endless faith of employees to their company. However, modernization led to the erosion of quasi-clans and to the strengthening of open Western-style formal institutions.

Stereotype 10. “Self”, dependent on others. It is widely consi-dered that in the Japanese society self is dependent on the opinion of other people (interdependent self-concept). However, according to several researches conducted by both Japanese and non-Japanese scientists using various methodology, the independent concept of self is quite dominant among the Japanese youth. Conformism and the mentality of dependency characterize the younger generation in Japan not to a higher extent than in other countries.

Generally speaking, tradition and modernism/postmodernism have combined in Japan in a natural way. They intertwined so much that a special term zasshusei (hybridization) has appeared, and the hybrid cannot be split apart artificially to traditions and postmodernism. The Japanese society reproduces an extremely effective fusion of modernism, postmodernism and nihonjinron traditions.

In the paper by Ksenia Spitsyna the author claims that in East Asia competition of innovative and technological systems has become a driving force of the regional development. It is evident for Japan that its leadership in East Asia can be ensured by a stable national development and international activities on the base of high technology and innovations that would prioritize humanitarian goals and harmonization of the relations between technosphere and society and be adequate to the current framework of the global scientific and technological order.

The international aspect of the Japanese scientific and technological potential development strategy is linked to domestic tasks and aimed at forming a global and regional system of international scientific and technological innovative cooperation that would meet the geopolitical and economic interests of Japan. Particular importance is attached to cooperation with Asian countries, aimed at creating a scientific and technological community in East Asia.

Japan has opportunities to analyze and fulfill various require-ments of cooperation. Tokyo provides support in organizing and administering joint programs in the sphere of scientific and technological development on the basis of a rational division of labor that would meet the tasks of the whole region as well as the interests of particular nations. The realization of these tasks is performed by various Japanese organizations that fulfill practical decisions over the development of human resources in the region, preparation of conditions for active research contacts etc. These organizations formulate and develop measures aimed at creating a basis for the multi-level exchange of scientific and technological information.

Using bilateral exchanges and international organizations, Japan facilitates the creation of an East Asian scientific and technological community that would provide for a common research platform, free circulation of knowledge, information and personnel etc. Within the framework of this community it becomes possible to ensure the interest coordination by national institutions, the transfer of new knowledge to internal and global markets of the countries participating in regional cooperation.

Japan focuses its efforts on creating the model of regional labor division characterized by scientific and technological specialization of the countries and the combination of competition and cooperation. Given the broad variety of opportunities and special conditions in different nations, Japan divides East Asia space into several zones and cooperation segments.

In the zonal specialization, it is noteworthy to pay attention to the creation of a regional center of cooperation including Japan, China, South Korea and India. This center could be positioned in the system of scientific and technological cooperation as a potential focus of innovation knowledge linked to the practical needs of Japan and other countries.

The readiness of the East Asian nations to accept technological cooperation with Japan is also essential. Some of the East Asian nations have chosen the development model of import-substituting industrialization and creating national innovation capability. In this context, the role Japan is indispensable. Japan promotes quality standards and joint research and development schemes, as well as common principles of organizing scientific and technological activities, facilitating the establishment creation of a common institutional environment.

D. Streltsov