Japan Postwar Foreign Policy discussion


The role of foreign policy in any country can never be underestimated. Foreign policy determines the relationship that one country has with other countries and the entire international community. Needless to say, the world has been extremely dynamic, with the changes in the international community and the power dynamics of countries demanding that changes be made in the foreign policies of countries. Nevertheless, some countries have chosen a passive and low profile foreign policy while others choose to have a proactive one. One of the countries that have taken on a low profile and passive foreign policy is Japan.

After World War II, Japan mainly focused on economic growth and flexibly accommodated itself to global and regional policies pertaining to the United States. However, it avoided fundamental initiatives of its own and took a low-profile and passive role as far as world affairs were concerned (Green, 2003). Its relationship with other countries was governed by omni-directional diplomacy, which essentially entailed the maintenance of political neutrality in its foreign affairs and expansion of its economic relations with other countries where possible. However, recent times have seen increased calls for its realignment or change of its foreign policy where Japan would be more active (Green, 2003). Questions, nevertheless, arise as to the efficacy of changing the foreign policy.

First, the policy is seen as one of the most effective ways of minimizing the risk to which the country is exposed while maximizing the utility derived from every opportunity. In fact, this low-profile and passive economic policy has been credited with the success and prosperity that Japan has experienced in its growth to be an economic power, which has enhanced its economic stability.

In addition, the non-aggressive and low-profile foreign policy has enhanced regional stability in Asia. It is worth noting that Japan never overtly involves itself with the affairs of another country (Green, 2003). This averts the possibility of a conflict between the nation and its neighbors, something that ends up enhancing the economic wellbeing of the country. It goes without saying that the passive and low-profile foreign policy has also amounted to low-cost security. The country’s burden-sharing contribution has been pushed to nonmilitary areas (Green, 2003).

However, there are various things that underline the necessity of changing the foreign policy of the country. First, it is worth noting that the international community has been dynamic and has undergone tremendous changes (Togo, 2010). There is the challenge pertaining to the globalization of the society and the economy. In addition, there is the remarkable advancement, as well as the increasing power pertaining to military forces. Lastly, there is the rapid expansion that the Chinese economy has experienced. It goes without saying that these developments present entirely new threats and opportunities to Japan, not to mention other Asian countries (Togo, 2010). In essence, it is imperative that Japan restructure its foreign policies so as to address and respond to the upcoming challenges of globalization and dynamism of the international community.

In addition, the demands of international are changing every now and then. Japan has always considered the United States its strongest ally. However, the United States is changing its policies pertaining to its interactions with other countries. Of course, it is imperative that Japan stays clearly focused on maintaining security and peace (Togo, 2010). However, it has to modify its thinking pertaining to international peace activities so as to allow its actions to be in line or to conform with the international norms. Japan has to actively support people-to-people exchange, as well as the development of human resources via culture, education and academia. Scholars note that Japan is yet to see the external world sufficiently, in which case must face the reality pertaining to the world, and take an active stand in world affairs (Togo, 2010).

In conclusion, Japan has maintained a low-profile and passive foreign policy. This has ensured that the country rises to be an economic powerhouse and safeguarded regional stability. However, it is imperative that the foreign policy is modified, so as to allow the country to meet the challenges that come with globalization. In addition, the foreign policies of its closest and strongest ally, the United States are changing and calling for increased activeness. In essence, Japan must face the reality pertaining to the world, and take an active stand in world affairs.



Tōgō, K. (2010). Japan’s foreign policy, 1945-2009: The quest for a proactive policy. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

Green, M. J. (2003). Japan’s reluctant realism: Foreign policy challenges in an era of uncertain power. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


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