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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



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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Sheila A. Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Smith is currently completing the project on Japan's Political Transition and the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and has started a project on Japan's New Strategic Challenge, the subject of her next book. In fall 2014, she will launch a new project on Northeast Asian Nationalisms and Alliance Management. She also writes for the CFR blog Asia Unbound.

Smith's newest book, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (Columbia University Press, 2014), will be available in December. Among her other publications are Shifting Terrain: The Domestic Politics of the U.S. Military in Asia, East-West Center Special Report No. 8 (East-West Center, 2006) and Local Voices, National Issues: Local Initiative in Japanese Policymaking (University of Michigan Press, 2000).

Smith joined CFR from the East-West Center in 2007, where she specialized in Asia-Pacific international relations and U.S. policy toward Asia. She was also recently affiliated with Keio University in Tokyo, where she researched and wrote on Japan's foreign policy toward China and the Northeast Asian region on an Abe Fellowship. From 2004 to 2007, she directed a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Prior to joining the East-West Center, Smith was on the faculty of the Department of International Relations at Boston University (1994–2000), and on the staff of the Social Science Research Council (1992–93). She has been a visiting researcher at two leading Japanese foreign and security policy think tanks, the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus. She is vice chair of the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange (CULCON), a binational advisory panel of government officials and private sectors members. She earned her MA and PhD degrees from the department of political science at Columbia University.

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