International Relations
Online ISSN : 1883-9916
Print ISSN : 0454-2215
ISSN-L : 0454-2215
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In Continuing Search of Alternative Accounts: Breaking the Conventional Mold of International Studies
  • 2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_1-200_6
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    Established in 1956, the Japan Association of International Relations (JAIR) has come a long way in the last 63 years. In retrospect, the meticulously documented and comprehensive historical accounts of Japan’s road to the Pacific War lay at the heart of the JAIR’s research activities during its formative years. Since then, the diplomatic history of Japan’s postwar reconciliation has continued to be one of its common research agenda. In those years, however, the JAIR has expanded its coverage as well. As a result, now it covers not only diplomatic history but also three other divisions: theoretical studies, area studies, and other emerging topics in the field of international relations. It is the JAIR’s tradition to honor this diversity.

    As an academic association, the JAIR is an association of interdisciplinary scholars, not an aggregation of scholars from various disciplines. In Japan, international relations, international law, and diplomatic history have never been separated into distinct departments in universities in contrast to their counterparts abroad. This is the reason why the JAIR members have been aware of the historical and normative dimensions of international relations.

    In celebration of the 200th volume of Kokusai Seiji, the editorial committee for this special issue called for articles that would draw on Japan’s interdisciplinary intellectual heritage in an innovative manner to break the conventional mold of international studies.

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  • Tomoki TAKEDA
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_7-200_22
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    Japanese diplomacy is often regarded as a diplomacy without grand strategy. This paper doesn’t see it that way. The paper finds Japanese diplomacy rich in strategies. In general, a strategy is to make through the interaction between the international perception and identity. The paper focuses on the idea of Japanese Bridge-Building Diplomacy among many and discusses how the idea was coined and shows it had undergone various vicissitudes until the 1950s.

    An early 20th century version of Bridge-Building strategy was coined by Shigenobu Okuma under the name of Fusion of East and West Civilizations. In his theory the Western civilization reached the United States and the Eastern civilization reached Japan and these two civilizations came into contact with the Perry’s arrival to Yokohama Bay in the middle of 19th century. The Japanese with this miraculous encounter, in Okuma’s theory, had a vocation to bring Western superior civilization to the East. This idea was translated into Japanese China policy and inherited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and such leaders of the ministry as Shigeru Yoshida and Mamoru Shigemitsu. Although the idea was fully performed neither in the early 20th century and in the 1950s, this paper shows the possibilities of the revival of the strategy in the coming era of the US-China confrontation in the 21th century and argues the value of inheriting the idea of Bridge Building Strategy as “unfinished self-portrait” of Japanese Diplomacy is eminent.

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  • Shinichi TAKEUCHI
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_23-200_36
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    The objective of this special issue is to explore the intrinsic nature of Japan’s international relations (IR) by shedding light on shared academic interests among members of the Japan Association of International Relations (JAIR). This paper is written by a Japanese Africanist, a member of the JAIR, and it clarifies how area studies have been connected and contributed to Japanese IR. Being one of the four research methodological groups in the JAIR, area studies have been institutionalized by the association. The importance of area studies originated from Japanese academia’s strong interest in foreign affairs and has influenced the research conducted by the JAIR members in the following manner. First, the research focus has not been confined to the “international” aspects; they also include the internal politics of foreign countries. Second, the association has prioritized the study of concrete international affairs rather than methodological debates.

    Next, the paper examines area studies’ contribution to IR, drawing references from the author’s research on conflicts in Africa. The author was trained to be an area specialist of Central African countries, but following his experience in Congo (Brazzaville), where he witnessed civil strife, he changed the research topic to conflict-related problems and decided to specialize in IR, in a doctorate course. His dissertation illustrated the characteristics of conflicts in contemporary Africa based on the historical investigation of Rwanda. Political order was the central issue in the dissertation. The study considered peace and conflict as a consecutive process in the formation and collapse of political order. The author used the idea of political order, inspired by scholars including B. Moore, S. Huntington, and H. Bull, to illuminate a long-term process that eventually resulted in a civil war in Rwanda.

    Lastly, the paper argues that area studies have contributed to the expansion of IR’s perspective, by illustrating land problems in Africa. Although there is a tendency to consider land-related issues as a local socio-economic problem, it has significant implications for IR, particularly in the African context, where governing the land is a key challenge for the formation of political order. Several African countries have initiated land law reform since the 1990s, assisted by international donors. This shows how international circumstances have affected the African state-building process. By analyzing this based on ground realities, area studies have been able to contribute to the development of IR’s frontier.

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  • Megumi HORIUCHI
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_37-200_51
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    This paper attempts to address the universal nature of the international relations theory. Specifically, I examine Nishida Kitarō’s cultural theory. This is necessary because recent years have witnessed extensive discussions on Western and non-Western international relations in association with the international relations theory. Accordingly, I examine whether Japan has its own international relations theory. Nishida Kitarō, who is a prominent Japanese philosopher and a proponent of constructivism in the international relations theory, examined changes in the Japanese identity under the conditions set by wartime international relations.

    First, I address two questions by examining a cultural theory proposed by Nishida Kitarō that is associated with wartime conditions. One pertains to whether Japan is considered a Western or a non-Western country. The second is whether Japan wants to become a Western or a non-Western country. Further, I clarify how these questions are reflected in the cultural theory by Nishida. The starting point of my interest in Nishida’s cultural theory is the origins of Oriental philosophy, which encourages one “to see a thing without a form, to hear a silent voice.” Nishida aimed to provide philosophical grounds for the roots of this Oriental culture. He compared European and Oriental cultures and considered the later development of the Japanese culture.

    Second, I clarify the universality of Nishida’s culture theory. The “culture idea” put forward by Nishida is not necessarily related to any specific wartime policy, and it garnered criticism after the war. Most of these critiques occurred within Japan. However, these critiques do not diminish the value of Nishida’s cultural theory. From the 1990s onward, Nishida’s philosophy came to be evaluated by European philosophers.

    Finally, I inspect the problem posed by Nishida’s culture theory. The culture idea of Nishida, for example, Keijijyōgakuteki tachiba kara mita tōzai kodai no bunka keitai, Nihonbunka no mondai and Sekai shinchitsujo no genri, was elucidated before the war, and some parts of the idea are not applicable to the present-day global community. Hence, I elucidate the part that will become problematic in the future when Nishida’s culture theory becomes universal. In addition, I reinterpret Nishida’s cultural theory in the context of current international relations. In Japan, many books and papers regarding international relations are written in Japanese, which is telling. Japan’s international relations theories suggest the possibility of ideas originating and spreading from a Japanese perspective. At the same time, I clarify that Japan’s international theory can promote other countries’ international relations, as well.

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  • Fan ZHANG
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_52-200_66
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    As an independent discipline, International Relations (IR) has gone through 100th years. In recent years, “non-Western IR theories” and “Global IR” have become hot topics, and IR in Japan has been receiving more attention. Especially, many researchers focus on Realism in postwar Japan.

    In existing research, scholars always compare Japanese Realism and the Realist theory. However, this research approach does not realize the differences among “non-Western” IR. Therefore, it does not fully reveal the characteristics of Japanese Realism.

    This article makes a comparative study between Japanese Realism and Chinese Realism, especially focusing on Masataka Kousaka and Xuetong Yan, the most famous realists in Japan and China.

    In 1950s, Japanese intellectuals debated on foreign policy, and the Idealists who advocated unarmed neutral policy were the mainstream. Labelling the Conservatives who supported the US-Japan Security Treaty as “realists,” the Idealists criticized “realists” for ignoring the value issue, but only recognizing the de facto. Enlightened by Classical Realism, Kousaka proposed a new “realism” in which the power politics and value coexisted in 1960s. He also advocated a diverse view of power, with particular emphasis on the role of non-military forces. Based on these views, Kousaka suggested Japan center its foreign policy on non-military forces, play the role of middle power and peace state, and amend the Yoshida Doctrine.

    In China, IR did not really start until 1980s. Influenced by Scientism, Yan debated with the Marxists on the view of national interests and became a realist in 1990s. After then, Yan combined the Classical Realism with ancient Chinese political thought and proposed “Moral Realism” in 2010s. “Moral Realism” believes that the key of the power shift in international system lies in political leadership. A rising state could not become a dominate state unless it practices “morality”. China should amend the Deng Xiaoping Doctrine and promote a foreign policy based on the values of Confucianism.

    Through comparative analysis, we can find that Japanese Realism and Chinese Realism both (1) face the problems of “import” and “creation” of IR; (2) advocate the adjustment of foreign policy; and (3) stress the importance of value and non-material power. On the other hand, compared with Chinese Realism, Japanese Realism (1) takes the reality of “middle power” as starting point; (2) regards Pacifism as the value of Japan; and (3) is lacking sufficient concern for the construction of the theory.

    Japanese Realism takes a traditionalist approach and try to end the diplomatic debates in Japan and to amend the Yoshida Doctrine. From the perspective of the Scientism, Japanese Realism is not a theory, but a thought. Nevertheless, as a pioneer in the exploration of “non-Western” IR, it has brought us rich enlightenment.

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  • Takumi ITABASHI
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_67-200_83
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    With respect to the international negotiations on the German unification in 1989/1990, not only the massive publication of memoirs by contemporaries, but also the release of historical materials by governments concerned has advanced the elucidation of the event. Existing studies, however, tended to characterize the German unification on October 3, 1990 as “goal” and to assess who contributed to it. On the other hand, more recent studies have shifted the research interest from the “happy end narrative”. In other words, they came to regard German unification not as “goal” or “end” but as “start” or “formative phase” of the post-Cold War European international order.

    While sharing the view that the German unification process is a period of the formation of the post-Cold War European international order with the latest research, this paper focuses on the issue of NATO (non-)enlargement. Using newly available diplomatic sources, the author tries to reevaluate the role of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, foreign minister of the FRG. What is clear from this approach is the differences of visions within the West German government concerning how to end the Cold War and what kind of new international order should be created, and the impact of these differences on actual international politics.

    As shown in this paper, it can be said that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Genscher had consistently envisaged “the ending the Cold War by emphasizing reconciliation with the Soviet Union.” The Bush administration, on the other hand, placed top priority on the survival of NATO. After the Camp David talks in late February, the Bush administration and Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of the FRG, began to seek “the ending the Cold War based on the preeminence of the United States or NATO.”

    Kohl, who strived for the swift reunification of Germany, put priority on cooperation with the United States on security issues. Nevertheless, Genscher continued to stick to his vision. Due to Kohl’s rebuke and the Bush administration’s pressure, he no longer spoke of the NATO’s non-expansion to the east after April 4, 1990, but repeated arguments for strengthening the CSCE and changing the nature of NATO. Ironically, it was Genscher’s idea that was subsequently effective in convincing the Soviet Union of a unified Germany’s full membership in NATO. Genscher contributed to the end of the Cold War in terms of the “victory of the West” by advocating his vision of the end of the Cold War as a “reconciliation with the East” even after it lost its reality.

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  • Miho OKADA
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_84-200_100
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    In the pre-negotiation stage, the most difficult obstacle to start the Japan-Soviet normalization negotiation turned out to be the issue of the Japan-US Security Treaty. While Japan regarded it as the most fundamental framework to realize its security, the Soviet Union did not change its position that the Treaty was an obstacle to start Japan-Soviet negotiations. This article investigates what kinds of discussions were held within the political leadership of the Soviet Union on the positioning of the Japan-US Security Treaty in the process of normalization with Japan. An analysis of declassified Soviet archival documents reveals the following five points. First, the Korean War changed the Soviet Union’s perception of the threat posed by the US forces stationed in Japan, and the role of the Kuril Islands in their defense policy changed accordingly. Second, as for the issue of peace with Japan, the division in the Soviet Union’s political leadership after Stalin’s death was most evident in the question of whether or not to accept the Japan-US Security Treaty. Third, the Soviet Union entered into negotiations with differences in opinion on this point. Fourth, after the start of negotiations, the political leadership of the Soviet Union, headed by Khrushchev, overturned Foreign Minister Molotov’s negotiating stance of not accepting the Japan-US Security Treaty, and made a decision to “accept” it under certain conditions. Fifth, the Soviets’ proposal on transferring Habomais and Shikotan islands to Japan was closely related with their decision to “accept” the Japan-US Security Treaty.

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  • Atsushi SHIBASAKI
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_101-200_118
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    This paper focuses on the main theme of this 200th volume of International Relations: What is the ‘common challenge’, and what is the ‘shared approach’ among all scholars who belong to Japan Association of International Relations? The exploration of this macro-scale issue is taken by the perspective of International Cultural Relations, which seems to effectively deal with the core assumption of this theme.

    To start with, part 1 configures the systematic understanding of the whole questions, which takes the form of typical dialectic of universal/particular dualism of the discipline: globally universal one International Relations on the one side, and nationally divided many International Relations’ on the other. Also, part 1 pays enough attention to the recent tides of multilingualism and multiculturalism within one scholar or within one national IRs. Then it analyses recent researches on the nature of past and future IR in Japan and future vison of Global IR. Those precedent research has not reached to the further important vision of the global structure of IR, and the paper tries to construct that.

    Part 2 discusses one of the two main accounts of the basic structure of the discipline of science in general, by examining the researches of Hiroyuki Yoshikawa and Ichikawa Atsunobu. The first is about the theoretical aporia of IR, based on the irrelevances which stems from both the nature of social science / humanity, compared to that of natural science, and the consequence of theory making from the different views toward a given area. Also, this analysis seeks to break through such aporia by making a totally new discipline, which should be called Global Relations.

    Part 3 explains the second one, which is the theory of interaction between two culturally or lingually different disciplines devised by Kenichiro Hirano and Yanabu Akira. The theory is based on the premise that regards the encounter of two disciplines as mutual ‘encounter’ between the unknown, and that emphasize the unique function of Japanese language which accepts any kinds of foreign concepts through translation.

    Part 4 introduces the same challenge in the field of global history by Masashi Haneda and tries to acquire some useful implication for advancing the discussion. His contention about the ideal image of making global history through multilingual interaction of different system of knowledges, and rendering asymmetrical power structure between English or western languages and non-Western language including Japanese has ample implication to IR world, which has much asymmetrical relations between English language and others. The concluding section summarizes the whole argument and seeks to suggest the future vision for the future of ‘Japanese’ International Relations.

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    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_119-200_134
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    In fields ranging from physics to biology, there has been an increasing realization that the exploration into the self-organizing process of the interactive agents will give us a new understanding of the world. Adopting a new Complex Adaptive Systems perspective, we can shed light upon the patterns and processes of international relations which has been considered to be incomprehensible and unpredictable, or overlooked and undervalued.

    In this article, we propose two simple models using agent-based methodologies that focus on alliance formation and conflict generation in international politics. The interactions among the virtual states in the models result in the skewed distribution of the sizes of alliances and conflicts which contain both exceptionally large ones and unusually large amounts of small ones. Such distributions with long tails of alliance and conflict are empirically observable in the real world. The results show that the models have the possibility to give a new explanation of the pattern and processes of state behavior in the international system.

    The performance of the models presented in this article, which is formalized with the simplest rules, shows us that the research program from the CAS perspective with agent-based methodology is a useful and promising strategy for the exploration in explanation and understanding of international politics.

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  • Yoshiko NAIKI
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_135-200_150
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    The aim of this paper is to explore interdisciplinary international relations (IR) and international law (IL) research on the study of international courts. After the “legalization” theory, the study of international norms or regime complex has received much attention in the IR literature. However, the study of international courts has received less attention. The study of international courts is one of promised areas for research collaboration between IR and IL scholars. In particular, given that we have seen many instances of “backlash” against international courts, such an interdisciplinary approach is clearly needed.

    This paper provides insights for explaining the relationships between states and international courts. In particular, it addresses how control mechanisms that states impose on the independence of international courts actually operate. There are two existing IR frameworks relevant for the analysis on international courts. One is the legalization concept (and the compliance theory as an effectiveness of legalization) and the other is the principal-agent theory. However, both theories are incomplete to explain the relationships between states and courts. Drawn upon recent work of Dunoff/Pollack and Creamer/Godzimirska, this paper highlights the importance of two insights for analyzing the interactions between states and courts: one is institutional design choices for creating courts and the other is standards for assessing the legitimacy of courts.

    This paper takes up a recent case of the WTO dispute settlement system in crisis in order to explain why these two insights are important for studying international courts. This paper is not intended to directly address the recent issue of the selection process of the WTO Appellate Body’s members. Rather, this paper attempts to explain how the consideration of court design and standards of legitimacy can help understanding the current crisis of the WTO dispute settlement system.

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  • Hiroshi OHTA
    2020 Volume 2020 Issue 200 Pages 200_151-200_167
    Published: March 31, 2020
    Released: April 16, 2020

    The 1970s was the decade of turmoil and uncertainties that began with the US President’s unilateral abandonment of the convertibility of the US dollar to gold and his policy of a rapprochement with China. Besides, both environmental problems and energy security became international agendas in the early 1970s and further complicated the world situations. The UN Conference on Human Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972, while the oil crises erupted in 1973 and 1979, shaking the world twice. Since Japan suffered from severe industrial pollution problems in the 1960s and 70s, the Japanese were concerned about international environmental issues. However, oil crises were more acute and grave difficulties for energy-scarcity Japan than ecological matters. Having been divided into foreign policy choices between pro-Arabian oil-exporting countries and pro-US, the Japanese government eventually took the side of the Arabian countries while stressing the importance of maintaining a stable international oil market.

    Two oil crises contributed to forging Japanese energy policies at home to promote the development of nuclear energy, coal gasification technologies while pursuing the policy of energy conservation. Meanwhile, in the mid-1980s, global environmental problems such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity have become global agenda. Above all, the substantive reduction of the emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels has now become imperative to mitigate climate change. The 2015 Paris Agreement calls on the zero-emissions of CO2 by 2050. Even though Japan contributed to the conclusion of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, it has not taken a leadership role since then. Why is that so, and how can we explain Japan’s unwillingness to introduce a cap-and-trade emission trading system and renewable energies on a massive scale to address climate change?

    The combination of politics of vested interest with the perspectives of historical institutionalists can explain best about the nexus between Japan’s rigid energy policy and the mal performance in its climate diplomacy. A vested interest group, which seeks to maintain the status quo to impede the massive introduction of renewable energy so as to oppose active climate change policy, forms a policy coalition consisting of concerned bureaucracies, industries, and politicians. This article argues that two oil crises in the 1970s and the energy policies to overcome these crises are critical not only to generate the vested interest group but also to shape socio-economic, political, and legal institutions to support a distinct energy system that later became a major stumbling block to the development of renewable energies and active climate diplomacy.

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