Faculty of International Studies
【国際学部】リレー・エッセイ(29) Craig Mark “Japan’s International Relations”
Which countries do you think are most important for Japan? Is it the USA? America has been Japan’s military ally since the Security Treaty of 1951, and has promised to protect Japan ever since. The US is also an important trading partner, and source of investment, including importing popular American culture such as music, fast food, and Disney! Of all the world’s leaders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe so far appears to have developed the closest personal relations with controversial US President Donald Trump.
Is it China? It is Japan’s largest trading partner, with ever-higher numbers of tourists and students visiting Japan. A rising economic and military power, China also has a territorial dispute with Japan. But are Japan’s other near neighbours more important? South Korea also has a territorial dispute as well as other historical issues with Japan, but it is a popular source of imported culture, particularly TV dramas and K-pop. North Korea is currently the most serious security threat to Japan, due to its recent missile tests near and even over Japan.
How about the other countries in the Asia-Pacific region? Japan gives a large amount of Overseas Development Aid (ODA) to the ASEAN countries, as well as high amounts of foreign investment. Japan is also increasing its security ties with countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Trade and security links with India, another major rising economy, are also increasing.
What about Europe? Japan has recently concluded an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, which is the second-largest economy in the world, after the US. Japan has also improved its diplomacy with Russia, which aims to increase trade and investment, and resolve the territorial dispute between Russia and Japan. There are also cultural as well as trade and investment ties to Latin America, through the descendants of Japanese migrants to Brazil and Peru. Japan is also seeking to increase trade and investment with Africa and the Middle East, although these regions are sources of international security concerns, such as armed conflicts and terrorism.
Finally, how important is the relationship between Japan and Australia? After a Commerce Agreement in 1957, and a Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation in 1976, Japan remains Australia’s second largest trading partner, particularly in minerals and other commodity exports. The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement was concluded in 2015, which has further increased trade. Both Japan and Australia share the US as their main ally, and the three countries regularly hold the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue. The Japanese Self-Defense Force and the Australian Defence Forces have been increasing cooperation in security training, and previously participated together in Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia, East Timor, and Iraq.
As we can see, in this complex interconnected world, Japan has important relations with many different countries. To better understand these relationships, the Faculty of International Studies is a perfect place for Kyoritsu Women’s University students to learn more about them.