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Intimate Rivals

Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China

Author: , Senior Fellow for Japan Studies

Intimate Rivals - sheila-a-smith-intimate-rivals-japanese-domestic-politics-and-a-rising-china
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Publisher A CFR Book. Columbia University Press

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Price $40.00 paper

384 pages
ISBN 978-0-231-16788-8

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Overview

No country feels China's rise more deeply than Japan. Through intricate case studies of visits by politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, conflicts at the East China Sea boundary, concerns about food safety, and strategies of island defense, CFR Senior Fellow Sheila A. Smith explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China. She finds that Japan's interactions with China extend far beyond the negotiations between diplomats to include a broad array of social actors intent on influencing the Sino-Japanese relationship.

Some of the tensions complicating Japan's encounters with China, such as those surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine or territorial disputes, have deep roots in the postwar era, and political advocates seeking a stronger Japanese state organize themselves around these causes. Other tensions manifest themselves during the institutional and regulatory reform of maritime boundary and food safety issues. Smith scrutinizes the role of the Japanese government in coping with contention as China's influence grows and Japanese citizens demand more protection. Underlying the government's efforts is Japan's insecurity about its own capacities for change and its waning status as the leading Asian economy. For many, China's rise means Japan's decline, and Smith suggests how Japan can maintain its regional and global clout as confidence in its postwar diplomatic and security approach decreases.

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"This is an authoritative and comprehensive treatment of contemporary Sino-Japanese relations. In an era of preoccupation with China's rise, scholars and policymakers are paying insufficient attention to the strategic decisions of those on China's periphery--decisions that will determine the nature of power transitions and whether they are peaceful or not. None is more important than China's historic maritime rival in Asia--Japan."
--Michael J. Green, Georgetown University

"This book by one of America's leading analysts of Japan's foreign relations is essential reading for anyone interested in Sino-Japanese relations and the impact of domestic political forces on foreign policy."
--Thomas J. Christensen, Princeton University

"Foreign policy is an extension of domestic politics. This is common knowledge among students of international relations, but we must not overlook the fact that domestic politics is also an extension of foreign policy. In this study, Dr. Sheila A. Smith has availed herself of a massive amount of related documents and interview surveys and placed at the forefront China's sudden emergence and increasing self-assertion, and has traced concisely and persuasively the course whereby Japan has been compelled towards reform of its domestic conservative political system and security arrangements that were established in the post-WWII era with a view to maintaining Japan's position as a leader in Asia. This work suggests that the Japanese experience with China might serve as a future lesson for other countries, the United States included, and is an essential read for thinking about the reconstitution of the East Asian order in light of the rise of China."
--Ryosei Kokubun, President, National Defense Academy of Japan

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