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ASEAN's changing perception of Japan

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flyingzone View Drop Down

Joined: 11-Dec-2005
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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: ASEAN's changing perception of Japan
    Posted: 05-Nov-2006 at 23:54

ASEAN countries' perceptions of Japan have unquestionably been coloured by historical memory of the brutality of the Japanese invasion during the Second World War. As a result of such memory, these countries, while welcoming Japan's economic involvement in their local economies, have traditionally resisted Japan's participation in the political and security affairs of ASEAN. However, there are signs that such an attitude is changing. Although they are still wary about Japan's militaristic past, it seems they are beginning to show greater receptivity towards Japanese involvement in ASEAN political and security issues.

From 1967-1974, Japan's interests in Southeast Asia were mainly economic. However, from 1975 to 1989, Japan began showing greater interests in the political affairs of Southeast Asia. After the end of the Cold War (post-1989), Japan was forced to reorient its general foreign policy and its role in international politics. Such development led to a strengthening of Japanese-ASEAN relationship and a changing perception of Japan by ASEAN countries. History has become less important in defining Japanese-ASEAN relations.
According to Singh (2002), there are 5 factors that led to such changes:
1. ASEAN's economic dynamism has become intimately linked with the economy of Japan, the largest in Asia. Such intimate economic ties have led to decreased fear of the remilitarisation of Japan.
2. The issue of generational change has reduced the importance of history. The generation that personally witnessed Japanese atrocities during WWII is fading into the background.
3. Even though Japan remains to be Asia's biggest economy, it is no longer the only economic powerhouse, with the emergence of other economic powers such as South Korea and, above all, China. So the fear of Japan's repressive "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" arising through economic means has diminished.
4. The strengthening of the U.S.-Japanese alliance gives ASEAN countries a sense of security that any possible re-emergence of Japanese militarism would be checked and balanced by the Americans.  
5. The rise of China as Asia's major political force has aroused concern and uncertainty among many ASEAN countries. They perceive their strong ties with Japan could provide a balance against China.
Do you agree with Singh's (2002) observation and explanations for improved ASEAN-Japanese relations?
Singh, B (2002). ASEAN's perception of Japan: Change and continuity. Asian Survey, 42(2), 276-296.
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Guests View Drop Down
  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Nov-2006 at 11:49

Interesting topic...

Malaysia's former PRime Minister, always stressed on 'Polisi Pandang ke Timur' where he had encouraged all Malaysian to look at east countries successes and achievements as an example.. and the most favorable country.. JAPAN.. It is not just because Japan is having major influence in ASEAN economy but to learn and share their technology and knowledge and furthermore to make thier accomplishment as our benchmark..

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