The changing application of norms to foreign policy in U.S.-Japan relations: an alliance based on "shared values and interests"
Gabrielson, Jon R.
Olsen, Edward A.
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On 17 April 1996 President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto announced the U.S. -Japan Joint Declaration on Security: Alliance for the 21st Century. The Declaration stated that the U.S.-Japan relationship in the post- Cold War era is based on "shared values and interests." The values "shared" are listed in the Declaration: "the maintenance of freedom, the pursuit of democracy, and respect for human rights." These values, or norms, have different meanings in the United States and Japan. The varied interpretations of these norms are investigated to determine their actual contribution to the U.S./Japan relationship. A theoretical framework based on the concept of the national interest is employed to measure the relative contribution that norms made to foreign policies of the United States and Japan in four major turning points for the relationship in the 20th century. While interests were the dominant factor in policy development, norms demonstrated an impact that varied in each of the turning points and showed cyclical characteristics over the broader period examined. The four applications of norms to policy observed are characterized as moral idealism, moral prudence, moral uncertainty, and moral skepticism. Foreign policy options for the United States and Japan are analyzed using these four categories.
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