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Japan’s Security Policy towards China under the Abe Cabinee
Japan’s China Policy
Mr. Shinzo Abe is a controversial political figure and from a distinguished political family. He served twice as Prime Minister of Japan at critical junctures that Japan-China relations deteriorated. This thesis explores from a realism perspective about how Mr. Abe responded to the threat to Japan posed by China’s rise when Japan-China relations were grim. This thesis finds out that the two Abe Cabinets adopted entirely different measures in their security policy on China. The first Abe Cabinet took office in 2006 and adopted a “soft hedging” to establish the “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests with China.” The purpose of this strategy was also to enhance political mutual trust between Japan and China, making the two nations move forward on a road of peaceful development. The second Abe Cabinet took office in 2012 and greatly changed its foreign policy on China to a “hard hedging”, including internal and external balance. In internal balance, it focused on improving Japan's domestic strengths in economy, military, and security. It also re-constructed Japan’s decision-making system in diplomatic security to ensure a long-term and stable regime. In external balance, it aimed at strengthening defense cooperation of Japan-US Alliance and actively promoting Japan’s horizontal and vertical strategic alliances with friendly nations like India and Australia. And the second Abe Cabinet also proposed its “Diplomacy That Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map” to actively improve Japan’s cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries. This policy was to balance a hedging strategy adopted for responding to the threat to Japan posed by China’s rise. In the future, China’s foreign policy on Japan and Japan-US Alliance development will be a key factor affecting Japan’s security policy on China.
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