Japan’s choices in a changing Asia will define the region’s future and will have tremendous impact on U.S. policy in Asia. Japanese today, like their neighbors on the Korean peninsula and in China, are grappling with a rapidly changing geopolitical environment. Moreover, as a new generation of leaders comes to the fore, Japanese are also openly debating their postwar experience, asking new questions about what changes may be required to ensure their security and prosperity in this new era.
Japanese politics and Asia’s geopolitics now intersect in ways that question Japan’s future strategic choices. Will Japan abandon its postwar constitution and pursue a more “normal” military strategy? Will Japanese leaders continue to embrace reconciliation and remembrance in their approach to relations with their Asian neighbors? Will the Japanese people continue to feel secure in the U.S.-Japan security bargain crafted over half a century ago? These are only some of the questions we address in our new podcast series, Nationalism, Japan, and a Changing Asia.
This series contains eight podcasts with experts from Japan and the United States, which were recorded in Tokyo, in Washington, and at times by telephone, in the years since the nations of Northeast Asia commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. These conversations reveal the complex interaction between geopolitical change in Asia and changing Japanese thinking about their security, their past, and their constitution.
The first four discussions focus on Japan’s relations with its neighbors, and feature Hitoshi Tanaka, Akio Takahara, Yoshihide Soeya, and Yuichi Hosoya, who are among Japan's leading academic and policy experts. They analyze the external dynamics that affect policy making in Japan, and we try to separate the politics from the policy debate over Japan’s relations with the major powers of Asia.
Following our discussion of foreign policy, I discuss Japan’s identity debate with America’s leading scholars of Japan, who have taken varying approaches to thinking about the nationalisms of Northeast Asia: Jennifer Lind, Nathaniel Smith, Celeste Arrington, and Thomas Berger. Looking within Japan and other nations, we examine the currents of change in thinking about Japan’s military and war memory, and consider the advocates that identify as the new “right” in Japan.
Please join us as we consider how Japan is contending with this challenging and unpredictable moment in world politics.
This podcast series is part of a project on Northeast Asian Nationalisms and the U.S.-Japan Alliance, which is made possible through support from the U.S.-Japan Foundation.