Seminar - Domestic sources of Japanese foreign policy

PhD candidate Benjamin Ascione will present on  “Domestic sources of Japanese foreign policy”– work reflecting his ongoing PhD research.


Japanese foreign and security policy has in recent years shown signs of being increasingly susceptible to influence by right-wing nationalists on a number of issues. Encompassing a broad array of political actors — including rightist factions within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), nationalist opposition parties such as the Japan Restoration Party (Nippon Isshin no Kai), cross parliamentary study and advocacy groups such as Japan Rebirth (Sousei Nippon), and ultra-nationalist political lobby groups such as Gambare Nippon! — right-wing nationalists are best characterised by an ultimate objective of escaping from the postwar regime. This includes the removal of so called ‘irresponsible pacifism’, overcoming ‘undue humiliation’, and dismantling the selfish egocentrism of postwar Japanese democracy. Signs of increased right-wing nationalist influence on Japan’s foreign policy are evident in the territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands with China, Japan’s policy toward North Korea, attempts at historical revisionism that seek to downplay Japan’s wartime wrongdoings, and movements to expand Japan Self-Defense Forces operational capacity. Traditional theories of international relations such as realism fail to explain this influence on Japanese foreign policy. Both endogenous and exogenous sources of foreign policy must be taken into consideration; black boxing domestic politics conceals an important part of the picture.


Dr. Bjoern Dressel

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute