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Japan and the Iraq War: cultural and theoretical perspectives

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With critical input from Japan's culture and guidance from theories of international relations, this article addresses in a limited way some of the issues in the current debate about Japan's foreign policy by examining how its major assumptions fared under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (200106) who, in the post-September 11 setting, presided over the government during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The widely known assumptions about the foreign policy model of Japan, examined in this essay, pertain to decision-making by consensus; pacifism and anti-militarism; centrality of the United Nations; and the role of public opinion. I argue that the foreign policy of Japan has undergone major changes during this period, and that the significance of the changes, inspired by domestic and external variables, lies in the far-reaching implication they carry for the Japanese state.

Keywords: Iraq; Japan; foreign policy; foreign policy of Japan; war in Iraq

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Binghamton University.

Publication date: 2008-10-24

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  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
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