Public lecture on Japanese Studies entitled “Japan’s Middle-Power Diplomacy and ASEAN” by Professor Soeya Yoshihide, Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, Keio University will be held as follows:

29 (Tue) July 2008, 10:30am~12:30pm, at Dewan Kuliah A, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

31 (Thu) July 2008, 9am~11am, at School of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu

Admission is free and everybody is welcomed

For further information, please contact Mr. Hafiz at 03-2161 2104 or email to

Professor Soeya Yoshihide is a very distinguished Japanese scholar specializing in Politics And Security In The Asia-Pacific Region, US-China-Japan Relations, and Japan’s External Relations And Diplomacy. He graduated from Sophia University and received his Ph.D degree in Political Sciences from University of Michigan. He is currently a Professor in Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Keio University and Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies at the same institution. Professor Soeya was also member of the Prime Minister’s Commission on Japan’s Goals in the 21st Century under the late Obuchi Keizo.

“Japan’s Middle-Power Diplomacy and ASEAN”
by Professor Yoshihide Soeya, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, the Faculty of Law
Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, Keio University

JAPAN is often regarded as a great power, and it has indeed been an economic power contributing to the formation of East Asian regionalism throughout the postwar years. In the realm of security in the region and the world, however, Japan’s role has been less than that of many “middle powers.” Many have predicted that the end of the Cold War would finally encourage Japan to fill this identity gap, and tend to see the changes in Tokyo’s security policies as the evidence of this predicted post-Cold War trend. I would argue that these are entirely misplaced observations, and would provide alternative explanations in two respects.

First, there is a structural cause, in the domestic context of Japan’s postwar diplomacy, for the confusion over the nature of changes in Tokyo’s security policies in recent years. This has to do with the basic structural twist embedded in the postwar foreign policy of Japan, which is often called the Yoshida Line, or even the Yoshida Doctrine, the key premises of which are the postwar constitution and the US-Japan alliance. Secondly, due to this structural twist, Japan’s actual foreign policies, particularly in the domain of regional and global security, have indeed been those of a middle power rather than a traditional great power. This was demonstrated clearly and persistently in Japan-ASEAN relations throughout the postwar years, which has not changed in essence, or has become even more explicit, after the end of the Cold War.

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