Factors shaping Japan’s foreign policy toward the Senkaku Islands
DeJesus, Jason C.
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China’s behavior regarding the Senkaku Islands has evolved from civilian fishing vessels entering territorial waters around the Islands to military vessels showing force in the region. Japan’s usual response to China’s behavior had been non-aggressive and proportional to China’s actions. Such use of diplomacy, combined with minimal improvements to defense capabilities, can be labeled as cooperative engagement. But China’s recent escalatory behavior has caused the Japanese government to change to a competitive, hard-hedge form of engagement, with greater focus on defense capabilities than on policy. This study argues that individual Japanese political leaders, domestic constraints, and international law have encouraged this moderate but significant shift of Japanese Senkakus policy toward more aggressive engagement.
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