Should Japan become a normal country?
Olsen, Edward A.
Swanland, Brian E.
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This thesis evaluates Japanese geopolitical change in the post-Cold War era. It does so by analyzing Japan's history, its foreign policy since 1945, its reasons for becoming a normal country, and the impact of its normalization. This thesis makes three arguments. First, Japan, although its history is replete with internal rivalry and conflict, never displayed an aggressive foreign policy with expansionist and adventurist characteristics*with the exception of an insignificant expedition to Korea in the 1590s*before the Meiji Restoration. Second, Japan should become a normal country because it would advance Japan's regional leadership, increase the likelihood of Japan's accession to the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member, and improve its economy in both the short and the long run. Finally, no significant barrier stands against Japanese normalization; however, Japan must follow cautious and amicable relations with China and the two Koreas in order to achieve normalcy. In conclusion, the thesis makes policy recommendations for Japan and the United States regarding Japanese normalization.
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