Japan and the World. What Framework for a Power Defining Itself ?
Japan's approach to integrating itself into its regional and global environment is determined by three factors: a collective mythology marked by a simultaneous attraction to and repulsion from others; the gap between its economic power and diplomatic and military weakness, thus between power and meaning; and finally the double temptation of pacifism and involvement.
Taking account of these factors, Jean-Marie Bouissou sketches three scenarios illustrating the possible position of Japan on the international scene:
- Under the first option Japan would become a traditional superpower acquiring autonomous military power and seeking to base its ideological leadership on the region.
- Lacking the means necessary for a neoimperialist role, it could ensure its rise to power in an integrated regional framework (co-development and regional security system), but it would then risk confrontation with China.
- Finally, it could try to position itself as a "global power" benefitting from its economic strength and its intermediary position between Asia and the West.
The realisation of one or another of these scenarios will depend on internal and external factors which the author briefly analyses, concluding in favour of a strategy which combines these different options.