AAS Annual Meeting

Japan Session 658

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Session 658: Japan and Southeast Asia in the Period of the Cold War and Decolonization: 1950s-1970s

Organizer: Taizo Miyagi, Sophia University, Japan

Discussant: Ayako Kusunoki, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

The panel examines how Japan re-emerged as an active player in international relations of Southeast Asia in the postwar period, particularly from 1950s to 1970s, when decolonization and the Cold War intersected in complex way. Only recently has the scholarship begun to dwell on the complex relationship between decolonization and development of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. Much less is known about the role that Japan played in these complex events and processes. The four diplomatic historians examine the cases of Japan’s active involvement in the postwar Southeast Asia, using the newly declassified documents of the Japanese Government as well as American and British ones. Miyagi Taizo provides a new interpretation of the Bandung Conference from the perspective of Japan’s identification with the anticolonial fever and a sense of alienation from the West. Yoshitsugu Kosuke examines Japan-Burma-US relations in the first half of 1960, arguing the Ikeda Administration had its own Cold War strategy in Asia. Nobori Amiko looks at how Japan responded to the Vietnam War, discussing Tokyo attempted to balance pressure from the U.S. and antiwar domestic sentiment. Wakatsuki Hidekazu explores the policy making process of ‘Fukuda Doctrine’ which was exhibited after the withdrawal of American predominant presence. The aim of this panel is to lead the discussion to the broad questions such as: whether Japan was an active player in Cold War in Asia; whether Japan played particular role in development of Southeast Asia; and how the Cold War affected postwar Asia.

The Bandung Conference and Japan
Taizo Miyagi, Sophia University, Japan

The Bandung Conference (The Asia-Africa Conference) of 1955 is widely known as the symbol of solidarity among newly independent countries in Asia -Africa, and one of the roots of Non-Alignment Movement. Despite this common image, countries at the time saw the conference as an arena of the Cold War in Asia. Asian neutralists led by Nehru’s India and Sukarno’s Indonesia organized the conference. Communist China joined them. For post-WWII Japan, it was the first international conference to be invited. However it faced the dilemma of ‘Asia or the West’. Though the United States disliked the conference, it understood open pressure would be counterproductive. After cautious considerations, the US decided to request its Asian allies to participate in the conference and carry out an active anti-communist policy to restrain the influence of the communists and the neutralists. At the time Japan received the invitation to the conference, the new prime minister, Hatoyama, proclaimed ‘autonomy from the US’, because he considered his predecessor, Yoshida, took an excessively dependent policy on the US. In this sense, the invitation to Bandung was enormously appealing to Hatoyama. However, on the other hand, the US encouraged Japan to attend the conference to oppose the neutralists and the communists. ‘Bandung’ brought the serious dilemma to the Japanese government. This presentation examines why Japan was invited to the conference, how she decided its policy and what was Japan’s actual attitude. As a result of these analyses, the presentation shows the origin of Japan’s Asia policy.

Japan-Burma-US Relations in 1960s: Cold War Strategy of the Ikeda Administration
Kosuke Yoshitsugu, Independent Scholar, Japan

Most of the previous research argue that Japan didn't commit the Cold War and concentrated on her rapid economic growth. However, new declassified documents indicate that Hayato Ikeda administration had an original Cold War strategy in Asia and Burma was a cornerstone in the strategy. In addition, Ikeda administration believed Japan-US cooperation was indispensable to encounter the communism in Burma. This presentation clarifies; (1) The outline of Ikeda administration's original Cold War strategy: Ikeda administration believed that the communism, in particular Communist China, should be contained at Burma by the economic measures. (2) Burma-Japan relations: During the Ikeda administration, Burma required Japan to re-examine the reparation. Ikeda exploited the additional reparation to encounter the expansion of the Communist China. (3) US policy toward Burma: Burma, which adopted "neutralism", rejected the close cooperation with the US. Accordingly, US policy toward Burma was at a complete deadlock. (4) Cooperation and conflicts between Japan and US regarding Burma: The US, which could do nothing in Burma, did welcome Japanese policy toward Burma. However, there were disagreements between Japan and the US regarding Burma. For the US, Vietnam, not Burma, was a matter of vital importance. As a conclusion, this presentation argues that Japan committed the Cold War and was an important "actor" in the Cold War in Asia .

Fukuda Doctrine and Japan’s Initiative
Hidekazu Wakatsuki, Independent Scholar, Japan

This article examines Japan’s Southeast Asian policy in the 1970s, focusing particularly on the initiative in accordance with the so-called Fukuda Doctrine enunciated in August 1977. This article can be divided into four periods: (1) the stalemate in the Tanaka Administration’s Asian policy (1972~74); (2) the groping for the new Southeast Asian policy in the Miki Administration (1975~76); (3) the political commitment by the Fukuda Administration to contribute to stabilizing Southeast Asia (1977~78); and (4) the turning point of the Fukuda Doctrine in the Ohira Administration era (1979~80). First, PM Tanaka made a tour of Southeast Asian countries in January 1974. In the middle of the tour, he met with anti-Japanese riot caused by the over-presence of Japanese economic power in these countries. Second, after the emergence of three communist states in Indo-China, the Japanese Government started to put emphasis on ASEAN, and to approach Vietnam. Third, this paper analyzes the Fukuda Doctrine. PM Fukuda declared that Japan will cooperate positively with ASEAN in their own efforts to strengthen their solidarity and resilience, and seek to bring about an accommodation between Vietnam and ASEAN countries. Fourth, the article illustrates how the Ohira Administration gave up the ambitious foreign policy initiative to contribute to the building of peace and prosperity throughout Southeast Asia after Vietnam invaded Cambodia. Finally, it argues that Japan’s Foreign policy was changed from passive to active involvement in Southeast Asia with increasingly political intensions in the late 1970s, and contributed to stabilizing the region to some extent.

Japan's diplomacy on the Cambodian problem
Andrea Pressello, Independent Scholar, Japan

Japan’s role in the settlement of the Cambodian conflict represents an important case study in postwar Japanese foreign policy. For the first time Japan became actively involved in efforts to resolve a conflict which, in addition to being a major destabilizing factor in Southeast Asia, was also particularly complex. This presentation examines Japanese diplomacy in addressing the Cambodian conflict since the late 1970s. It argues that while the outbreak of the conflict undermined the basic assumption underlying Japan’s Southeast Asian policy, at the same time it tested the strength of Japan’s commitment to the realization of its regional policy: strengthening the stability and prosperity of Southeast Asia by promoting peaceful relations between ASEAN member states and the Indochinese countries. The presentation examines how Japan, despite its adoption of a firmer anti-Soviet posture and the suspension of its aid to Vietnam post the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, still sought to balance its alignment with ASEAN on the Cambodian issue, as well as Japan-China relations, with its efforts to maintain a dialogue with Vietnam. By doing so, Japan’s hope was that of reaching a peaceful settlement of the conflict and the pursuit of its regional policy objectives.