Japan’s and China’s economic growth and energy hunger in comparative and historical perspective
Barma, Naazneen H.
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Like Japan in the 1970s, the People’s Republic of China is currently facing economic growth measured in double-digit numbers. As both countries have faced, and continue to face, energy resource scarcity to feed their economic growth, they have reached out to the world to get these resources. How did Japan and how does today’s China ensure access to needed energy resources like oil and gas? How can these efforts be viewed according to international relations theory? Both countries use oil-producing companies, financial/development aid, and strong government support directly to domestic companies and within accompanying policies and negotiations to support their companies. The Japanese government tapped economic growth to become a global economic power, but is China more interested in using economic growth to maintain the ruling party’s power and the government itself? In terms of international relations theory, Japan and China show a realist approach in feeding their energy hunger, with the difference that Japan was and still is much more integrated into a variety of international organizations. This difference shows a bit of a liberal-institutional approach, but with realist goals set by the state. Although this thesis makes this comparison and applies international relations theory for a better insight into the economic development and long-term goals of Japan and China, it cannot specifically predict China’s future relationship with resource-rich countries and the international community.
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