The Japanese decision to initiate war against the
United States in 1941 continues to perplex. Did the
Japanese recognize the odds against them? How did
they expect to defeat the United States? The presumption
of irrationality is natural, given Japan’s acute imperial
overstretch in 1941 and America’s overwhelming
industrial might and latent military power. The
Japanese decision for war, however, must be seen in
the light of the available alternatives in the fall of 1941,
which were either national economic suffocation or
surrender of Tokyo’s empire on the Asian mainland.
Though Japanese aggression in East Asia was the root
cause of the Pacific War, the road to Pearl Harbor was
built on American as well as Japanese miscalculations,
most of them mired in mutual cultural ignorance and
Japan’s aggression in China, military alliance with
Hitler, and proclamation of a “Greater East Asian
Co-Prosperity Sphere” that included resource-rich
Southeast Asia were major milestones along the road to
war, but the proximate cause was Japan’s occupation of
southern French Indochina in July 1941, which placed
Japanese forces in a position to grab Malaya, Singapore,
and the Dutch East Indies. Japan’s threatened conquest
of Southeast Asia, which in turn would threaten
Great Britain’s ability to resist Nazi aggression in
Europe, prompted the administration of Franklin D.
Roosevelt to sanction Japan by imposing an embargo
on U.S. oil exports upon which the Japanese economy
was critically dependent. Yet the embargo, far from
deterring further Japanese aggression, prompted a
Tokyo decision to invade Southeast Asia. By mid-1941
Japanese leaders believed that war with the United States was inevitable and that it was imperative to
seize the Dutch East Indies, which offered a substitute
for dependency on American oil. The attack on Pearl
Harbor was essentially a flanking raid in support of
the main event, which was the conquest of Malaya,
Singapore, the Indies, and the Philippines,
Japan’s decision for war rested on several assumptions,
some realistic, others not. The first was
that time was working against Japan—i.e., the longer
they took to initiate war with the United States, the
dimmer its prospects for success. The Japanese also
assumed they had little chance of winning a protracted
war with the United States but hoped they could force
the Americans into a murderous, island-by-island
slog across the Central and Southwestern Pacific that
would eventually exhaust American will to fight on to
total victory. The Japanese believed they were racially
and spiritually superior to the Americans, whom
they regarded as an effete, creature-comforted people
divided by political factionalism and racial and class
U.S. attempts to deter Japanese expansion into
the Southwestern Pacific via the imposition of harsh
economic sanctions, redeployment of the U.S. Fleet from
southern California to Pearl Harbor, and the dispatch
of B-17 long-range bombers to the Philippines all failed
because the United States insisted that Japan evacuate
both Indochina and China as the price for a restoration
of U.S. trade. The United States demanded, in effect,
that Japan abandon its empire, and by extension its
aspiration to become a great power, and submit to the
economic dominion of the United States—something
no self-respecting Japanese leader could accept.
The Japanese-American road to the Pacific War in
1941 yields several enduring lessons of particular relevance for today’s national security decision-makers:
1. Fear and honor, “rational” or not, can motivate
as much as interest.
2. There is no substitute for knowledge of a potential
adversary’s history and culture.
3. Deterrence lies in the mind of the deterree, not
4. Strategy must always inform and guide operations.
5. Economic sanctioning can be tantamount to an
act of war.
6. The presumption of moral or spiritual superiority
can fatally discount the consequences of an enemy’s
7. “Inevitable” war easily becomes a self-fulfilling
The main theme of the foreign policy debate in the ongoing U.S. presidential campaign is how to restore the U.S. reputation in the world. Five years after the Iraq war, a consensus has emerged, not just in the United States but throughout the rest of the world, that the war will not bring about the Iraqi state for which the Bush administration had originally planned and hoped. As a result, the post–September 11 U.S. strategy, consisting of preemptive warfare, democracy promotion, and unilateralism, has been widely discredited. The United States has suffered from what could be described as 9/11 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has enormously hindered its capability to play the role of world leader.
Japan is one of the states that is most vulnerable to such damage to U.S. leadership because it does not have any viable strategic options other than remaining a junior alliance partner. As the U.S. reputation has progressively deteriorated since the September 11 attacks, it has become more difficult for allies and friends to follow its lead. It is no coincidence that nearly all of the national leaders who supported the decision to go to war in Iraq suffered fatal political blows later, including Prime Ministers Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, John Howard of Australia, and Tony Blair of the United Kingdom....
Through a feminist analysis of the South Korean and Japanese governments' responses to the 1990-2006 redress movement for the 1930-1945 Imperial Japanese WWII military's 'comfort women' prostitution system, this paper examines a number of very pertinent issues. It considers the ways in which perceptions of prostitution have become a part of nationalist discourses and examines how policies related to women's sexuality, including prostitution and rape, become non-issues in wartime. Through a study of the various parties that have governed in both countries during this sixteen year period, this paper comparatively analyzes the South Korean and Japanese governments' denial of this period of military sexual slavery. It argues that the Japanese government's and South Korean government's respective manipulation of the 1990-2006 'comfort women' redress movement is predicated on nationalistic imperatives, no longer related to physical geographical sovereignty, but to ideological sovereignty....
May 10, 2007 Atlantic Council of the United States
The United States has few more important policy goals than eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The risk that the repressive Pyongyang regime could transfer nuclear weapons and materials to rogue states or terrorist groups weighs particularly heavy on the minds of U.S. policymakers. U.S. negotiators in February 2007 achieved a breakthrough in the Six Party talks towards the goal of reversing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. The "joint agreement" - among the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia - set in motion a process for dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. But this agreement still leaves the parties a long distance from denuclearizing North Korea or resolving other fundamental security, political, and economic issues on the Korean peninsula. The report that follows describes a path and the elements of a comprehensive settlement to achieve the full range of U.S. strategic goals in Korea....
Fresh from a serious setback in Iran, where it lost its controlling stake in the huge Azadegan oilfield, Japan has launched diplomatic efforts in earnest to secure petroleum in neighboring Iraq. Recently, Tokyo invited Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani to Japan and they issued a joint communique pledging Japanese assistance for improvements to the oil and gas infrastructure in the war-torn country. Japan specifically pledged loans of about 20 billion yen (US$170 million) to Iraq as part of the $3.5 billion aid package already committed. Iraq is believed to have the world's third-largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Iran. Despite its huge potential, however, the country is relatively unexplored after years of sanctions and war. Only a quarter of its 80 discovered fields are pumping oil at present. By extending loans and increasing involvement in the reconstruction process, Tokyo is hoping it can acquire a good share of these massive oil reserves....
April 6, 2009 Forced Migration Review // University of Oxford // Refugee Studies Centre
Forced Migration Review (FMR) provides a
forum for the regular exchange of practical
experience, information and ideas between
researchers, refugees and internally
displaced people, and those who work with
them. It is published in English, Arabic,
Spanish and French by the Refugee Studies
Centre of the Oxford Department of
International Development, University
of Oxford. This issue focuses on 'Statelessness'. A ‘stateless person’ is someone who is not recognised as a national by any state.
They therefore have no nationality or citizenship (terms used interchangeably in
this issue) and are unprotected by national legislation, leaving them vulnerable
in ways that most of us never have to consider. The possible consequences of
statelessness are profound and touch on all aspects of life. It may not be possible
to work legally, own property or open a bank account. Stateless people may be
easy prey for exploitation as cheap labour. They are often not permitted to attend
school or university, may be prohibited from getting married and may not be able to
register births and deaths. Stateless people can neither vote nor access the national
Naoki Hoshino was born on 10 April 1892. He was an employee in the Japanese Department of Finance. In 1932, he was sent to Manchuria by the government. Later he became a high ranking official in the Finance Ministry of Manzhouguo, the puppet government put in place by Japan in the North East of China. He also worked in the Bureau of General Affairs of Manzhouguo. In 1936, became Vice Minister of Finance for Manzhouguo and Chief of the General Affairs office of the National Affairs Council of Manzhouguo. In this position he wielded great influence with respect to Japanese domination over the commercial and industrial development of the region. After spending eight years in Manzhougou, Naoki Hoshino was recalled to Japan in 1940 to become Minister and President of the Council for Planning. In this position, he took part in equipping Japan for a war of aggression against China and for other wars which Japan subsequently started....
1. "US-Russian Bering Sea Marine Border Dispute: Conflict over Strategic Assets, Fisheries and Energy Resources"
Despite the universal implementation of the Law of the Sea principles in defi ning national sovereignty over
coastal waters and the end of the Cold War, Russia continues to press marine border disputes with several
neighboring countries. Th e most important confl icts are with the United States, Norway, and Japan. Fortunately,
these are not military confrontations, but political disputes over the economically and strategically
important marine regions claimed by all four countries. At stake are strategic considerations, abundant fi sh
resources and large oil and gas deposits at the bottom of the sea. Th is article discusses the history of the
US-Russian conflict, the viewpoints of both sides, and the impact of this dispute on access to marine living
resources of the area.
Author: Kaczynski, Vlad M.
2. "The Kuril Islands Dispute Between Russia and Japan: Perspectives of Three Ocean Powers"
Japan and Russia have never come to an agreement over the ownership of the four southern Kuril Islands and
therefore have never signed a peace treaty at the end of World War II. Russia currently occupies the islands, but
Japan claims them as Japanese territory. Th e Soviet Union exerted fi rm control over the islands. Under Yeltsin,
Russia's position seemed to weaken, but no progress was achieved in signing a peace treaty. Since Putin's rise
to power, neither side has been willing to make concessions and the situation remains stalemated.
Author: Kaczynski, Vlad M.
3. "Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea - Cooperation and Conflict in Fisheries Management"
Th e Barents Sea fi sheries are managed bilaterally by Norway and Russia. Th e Joint Norwegian-Russian
Fisheries Commission sets quotas for the most important fi sh stocks in the area which are allocated according
to a standard formula. Th e collaboration between the two countries generally functions well, but has
since the late 1990s been plagued by disparity between scientifi c recommendations and established quotas,
and Norwegian claims of Russian overfishing.
Author: Hxc3xb8nneland, Geir...
Japan is a destination country for a large number of Asian (specifically Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia), Latin American (Colombia, Brazil, Mexico), and Eastern European women and children who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There have also been cases of Asian and Latin American men trafficked to Japan for criminal, labor and/or commercial sexual purposes. Japanese organized crime groups (yakuza) that operate internationally are involved in trafficking....
The Nazis were not the only nation to build death camps in the period leading up to World War II. The Japanese, too, had their concentration camps. The object was not, as with the Germans, the extermination of a people, but instead was to use incarcerated common criminals and prisoners of war as guinea pigs in biological and, to a lesser extent, chemical warfare experiments.
Six years after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Japan's role in Afghanistan is roiling the already struggling administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On Sunday, Mr. Abe threatened to resign unless the National Diet, Japan's legislative body, agrees to continue Japanese operations in support of US troops.
There is nothing like an atomic explosion to bring clarity to international relations, and the North Korean nuclear test was no exception. Since Pyongyang demonstrated its nuclear capability, the United States and Japan have finally begun to consider the steps that will be necessary to contain North Korean nuclear proliferation and apply pressure to undermine the Kim regime. But these efforts are plagued by a dirty little secret: Tokyo is currently prohibited from coming to the defense of U.S. na#val forces or trying and intercept a missile headed toward U.S. territory....
The Kokoda Foundation has been established as an independent, not-for-profit think tank to research, and foster innovative thinking on, Australia's future security challenges. The Foundation's Priorities: To conduct quality research on security issues commissioned by public and private sector organisations; To foster innovative thinking on Australia's future security challenges; To publish quality papers ( The Kokoda Papers ) on issues relevant to Australia's security challenges; To develop Security Challenges as the leading refereed #journal in the field; To encourage and, where appropriate, mentor a new generation of advanced strategic thinkers; and Encourage research contributions by current and retired senior officials, business people and others with relevant expertise....
Founded in 1970, the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening Japan's role in international networks of dialogue and cooperation.
August 5, 2011 Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute
After the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, Cambodia set about the difficult process of state-building. Despite violent clashes in 1997-98, the Cambodian government has been largely successful in establishing full control of military forces, into which former Khmer Rouge soldiers have been reintegrated. The Cambodian government, with support of donors, successfully improved infrastructure throughout the country, built up capacity in key state institutions, and provided basic public services to the people. Behind these achievements was assistance from a grassroots network built by the Cambodian People‟s Party in the 1980s. This network is characterized by patronage connections between the government and village chiefs, and between the latter and villagers. Consequently, the legitimacy of the state has been strengthened. In contrast, social empowerment has been delayed, and people's political rights and freedoms have been restricted by the state. As shown by the recent increase of corruption charges and land tenure disputes, the imbalance between the powerful state and a stunted civil society is a potential factor of instability....
June 28, 2011 Lowy Institute for International Policy
The sea lanes of Indo-Pacific Asia are becoming more crowded, contested and
vulnerable to armed strife. The changing deterrence and
warfighting strategies of China, the United States and Japan involve expanded
maritime patrolling and intrusive surveillance, bringing an uncertain mix of
stabilising and destabilising effects.
Nationalism and resource needs, meanwhile, are reinforcing the value of territorial
claims in the East and South China seas, making maritime sovereignty disputes
harder to manage. Chinese forces continue to show troubling signs of assertiveness
at sea, though there is debate about the origins or extent of such moves. All of these factors are making Asia a danger zone for incidents at sea.
While the chance that such incidents will lead to major military clashes should not be
overstated, the drivers – in particular China’s frictions with the United States, Japan
and India – are likely to persist and intensify. As the number and tempo of incidents
increases, so does the likelihood that an episode will escalate to armed confrontation,
diplomatic crisis or possibly even conflict.
This report, part of the Lowy Institute’s MacArthur Foundation Asia Security
Project, explores the major-power maritime security dynamics surrounding China’s
rise. It focuses on the risks and the management of incidents at sea involving Chinese
interactions with the United States, Japan and India. The report concludes with some realistic recommendations to reduce risks of crisis
and escalation under conditions of continued mistrust....
May 5, 2011 Institute for Security and Development Policy
This is a study of how human security was introduced into Japan’s
foreign policy. Human security is a security idea that came into the limelight
in 1994 when the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
issued its annual report. In a speech in the United Nations the following
year Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi of Japan endorsed the concept
and three years later Prime Minister Obuchi Keizo declared that human
security was going to be a key element of Japan’s foreign policy. Subsequently,
the Japanese government began to put in what has been described
by a pundit as ‘a considerable effort’ to implement this new priority.
Soon after Obuchi’s announcement, the concept was part and parcel
of Japan’s foreign policy liturgy. As Eva Block has pointed out in her
discussion of the heavily ritualized communications that constitute the
foreign policy liturgy of a country, certain things ‘must’ be said, even if
the concepts behind them have little substantive import, and certain other
things ‘must not’ be said despite the fact that they could be justified. In
Japan, human security became a buzz-word and showed up in official
declarations and statements to such a degree that the country began to be
described as a leading proponent of human security.
The aim of the present study is to trace how human security was added
to the Japanese political agenda and made part and parcel of governmental
policies; to clarify the theoretical context and historical background of the
new policy that positioned human security as a key consideration of policies
pursued by the Japanese government; to analyze how its introduction into Japanese foreign policy was implemented in practice; and to study
how it impacted on and resulted in modifications of policies pursued by
April 4, 2011 Institute for Security and Development Policy
Japan has played a central role internationally to promote and mainstream human security, the alternative security concept launched by the UNDP in 1994. Two key instruments devised by Japan are the Trust Fund for Human Security within the United Nations (established 1999) and the Commission on Human Security (2001-03). This report focuses on Japan’s policy for human security and the place of human security in Japan’s foreign policy.
This is the capstone essay of a larger project that looks at Pakistan’s medium-term future, defined as the next five to seven years (2012-2017). Other project elements include a summary of past predictions of Pakistan’s future (Appendix) and fourteen essays commissioned for a workshop at the Rockefeller Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy in May 2010. The authors were asked to briefly set forth important variables or factors that might shape Pakistan’s future and to speculate on the likely outcomes.1 This essay follows the same pattern. After a brief summary of recent developments, it examines a number of factors – distributed among four categories – and then sets forth a number of alternative futures. It also explores the methodological problems inherent in this exercise and discusses policy options, especially for the United States, other Western countries, Japan, and India....