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Competing Visions of Japan's International Engagement: Japan First vs Global Japan


The state and direction of Japan’s international engagement can best be understood as a competition between the ‘Japan first’ and ‘global Japan’ schools of thought. In light of the ever worsening security environment surrounding Japan, the gap between the Japan first school advocating a focus on the immediate needs of Japan’s territorial defence and the global Japan school arguing for more global engagement is widening. The competition between the two will continue to shape the direction of Japan’s foreign and security posture – and importantly, the global Japan school is far from winning, contrary to what Abe’s hyperactive diplomacy might suggest.
Keywords: Japan, Japan-US alliance, Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), international engagement, security policy