Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Japan and Friends: Foreign Relations

"East Asia is dominated by the security triangle between the US, Japan and China," writes John Hemmings for East Asia Forum. He goes on to explore three interpretations of this triangle: realist, liberalist, and constructivist.

This was an insightful article and highly relevant to topics being discussed at Japan Society, in recent events and upcoming ones, such as the Corporate Conference on May 19th: Celebrating 150 Years of U.S.-Japan Trade Relations: Promoting the Next 150 Years of U.S.-Japan Business Collaboration.

Panelists Edward Lincoln, Shinichi Nishimiya, Tadayuki Hara, Hajime Ito

In 1860, as the Tokugawa era drew to a close, the Kanrin Maru, captained by Kaishu Katsu, set sail for San Francisco, marking the first time a Japanese-piloted ship crossed the Pacific. 2010 is the 150th anniversary of this extraordinary but little known historical event -- the first official Japanese mission to the West following over 200 years of self-imposed isolation.

In combination with the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Japan Security Alliance, this 150-year milestone is a testament to the importance of this essential bilateral relationship. However, Hemmings' conclusion sums up the future of the situation well:

"The US-Chinese-Japanese security triangle is a complex situation. Discussing it through the prism of three international relations theories helps to clarify possible developments. But this discussion has shown that, even if one of these theories is adopted at the expense of others, future movement remain hard to predict."

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