The Cause of Japan’s China Balancing Policy in the 21st Century (2019.3)

  • Authors : Taejung Kim
  • Journal : National Security and Strategy
  • Publisher : Institute for National Security Strategy
  • Volume : 19(1)
  • Publication Date : March, 2019
  • Abstract : The rise of China was the greatest event in 20th century international politics, but the strengthening of naval power in the 21st century has dramatically changed the situation in the region. Especially for Japan, which pursues economic growth rather than security based on the natural obstacles of the sea, China’s naval forces cause Japan’s security problems, and Japan is also trying to balancing China through military expansion and alliance expansion. The existing balance of threat theory or the security dilemma can explain the arms race or unstable relationship between the two countries, but it has limitations to adequately explain the cause of the present situation. Therefore, I sought to understand the mutual relations through the grand strategy that expresses abstractly the national interests that the great powers intend to pursue. In particular, that the relationship between countries seeking the same strategy in the same region is more unstable than in other regions. After the defeat of Pacific War, Japan’s third Grand Strategy, the Yoshida Doctrine, characterized putting the issue of security and economy (Gun vs Butter) in charge of security to the United States and herself focus on economic growth. In addition, Japan is waste her times by the ‘lost decade’. Now it is pursuing the Abe Doctrine (seapower strategy). At the same time, China is pursuing its maritime strategy for the great power. Therefore, since the relationship between China and Japan is pursuing the same strategy (seapower strategy) in the same region (Asia), the relationship between the two countries is logically estimated to be not only unstable but also worse.