In the rapidly changing Asia-Pacific region, Japan, like Australia, faces the challenge of balancing its deepening relations with China, particularly on the economic level, with its wider political and strategic arrangements with the United States (White 2005). How to balance these demands and hedge against the associated risks has been an important point of debate in Japanese security politics and a key geopolitical concern for the government. Historically, in seeking to strike such a balance and maintain some autonomy in its foreign policy, Japan has oscillated between different policy approaches, at different times recalibrating its hedging from balancing against to bandwagoning with the United States in order to avoid either abandonment by the United States or entrapment in its global security strategy (Samuels 2007: 200–2). Japan’s ‘China hedge’ has also swung between engagement and balancing, so that its diplomacy has accordingly shifted from antagonism to rapprochement and back again at different times (Hagström and Jerdén 2010: 720–1). Today, in an era when the strategic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific are uncertain and could well become more competitive (e.g., see White and Taylor 2009), Japan’s struggle to find a viable way to hedge against such risks is becoming ever more important to its national security.
|Title of host publication||Bilateral Perspectives on Regional Security Australia, Japan and the Asia-Pacific Region|
|Editors||William T Tow and Rikki Kersten|
|Place of Publication||Basingstoke|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan Ltd|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|