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- 65 - Japan’s Multilateral Approach toward Central Asia YUASA Takeshi Introduction While keeping its position as top donor for the economic development of Central Asian countries, Japan’s lack of strategy toward Central Asia has been pointed out. 1 On the other hand, Japan has attempted several times to work over and formulate big policy pictures for engagement in the region, not only in the field of economic assistance, but also in the sph
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  - 65 - Japan’s Multilateral Approach  toward Central Asia Y UASA Takeshi Introduction While keeping its position as top donor for the economic development of Central Asian countries, Japan’s lack of strategy toward Central Asia has  been pointed out. 1  On the other hand, Japan has attempted several times to work over and formulate big policy pictures for engagement in the region, not only in the field of economic assistance, but also in the sphere of diplomatic strategy. In this article, I do not argue the necessity  of strategy for Japan.  Neither do I consider directly why  Japan has to be engaged in the region. However, I describe  through what process  the policy-oriented concept on Central Asia has been established within Japan. Through an analysis of 1  Michael Robert Hickok, “The Other End of the Silk Road: Japan’s Eurasian Initiative,”  Central Asian Survey  19, no. 1 (2000): 17–39; Esen Usubaliev, “Politika Iaponii v stranakh Tsentral’noi Azii v kontekste vosmozhnogo poiavleniia novogo tsentra sily,” Tsentral’naia  Aziia i Kavkaz   17, no. 5 (2001): 159–165; Adel’ Erkinovich Abishev, “Politika i interesy Iaponii,” in  Politika i interesy mirovykh derzhav v Kazakhstane , ed. Bulat Klychaevich Sultanov (Almaty: Daik-Press, 2002), 175–186; U YAMA  Tomohiko, “Japanese Policies in Relation to Kazakhstan: Is There a ‘Strategy’?” in Thinking Strategically: The Major  Powers, Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian Nexus , ed. Robert Legvold (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences / MIT Press, 2003), 165–186; Christopher Len, “Japan’s Central Asian Diplomacy: Motivations, Implications and Prospects for the Region,” The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly 3, no. 3 (2005): 127–149; Martha Brill Olcott, Central Asia’s Second Chance  (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), 79–80.   Y  UASA  T  AKESHI - 66 - the process, I will show the tendency of Japan’s approach to Central Asia: multilateralism. In this context, two major policies receive particular attention: Eurasian diplomacy 2  in 1997 and the Central Asia plus Japan dialogue (CAJ dialogue) since 2004. Concepts of Eurasian diplomacy and the CAJ dialogue are rare examples for understanding geopolitics that have long been forgotten in Japanese diplomacy. I position both policies as a direction of Japanese foreign policy since the 1990s, from which time Japan has pursued a multilateral approach in the Asia-Pacific region. Of course, it may be argued that these concepts are spur-of-the-moment ideas by politicians with an ambiguous understanding of geopolitics and not worthy of examination. However, I would like to find meaning in a situation where, when Japan faced the serious problem of coping with international affairs after the collapse of the bipolar camps during the Cold War, many governmental staff and statesmen in Japan asserted the importance of Eurasia as a region of political and cultural diversity. Hereafter, I will outline the concept of multilateralism for Japanese foreign policy, which is related closely to its attitude toward Central Asia. Regional Multilateralism in Japanese Diplomacy Multilateralism, according to John G. Ruggie, is an institutional form that coordinates relations among three or more states on the basis of generalized principles of conduct. As examples, he adapts the most-favored-nation (MFN) treatment and the collective security regime. He also extracts two corollaries for the definition: indivisibility and diffuse reciprocity. The former is a logical condition for the generalized organizing principles that cannot indiscriminately divide members of a collectivity with respect to the range of behaviors in question. 3  Both of these corollaries were expanded after the end of the Cold War, because conditions that encourage cooperative relations among states had emerged with the end of ideological confrontation and with globalization. 4   2  “Address by Prime Minister H ASHIMOTO  Ryutaro to the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, 24 July 1997,” http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/0731douyukai.html. 3  John G. Ruggie, ed.,  Multilateralism Matters: The Theory and Praxis of an Institutional  Form  (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 10–14. 4  K  ATO  Akira, “Anzenhosho ni okeru takokukan-kyochoshugi” [Multilateralism in   J  APAN ’ S M ULTILATERAL  A PPROACH TOWARD C ENTRAL  A SIA   - 67 - To evaluate Japan’s diplomacy after the Cold War, much has been written about Japanese-style multilateralism not only at the global level (like the United Nations and G8) but also at the regional level. 5  As specified in the first Diplomatic Blue Book published in 1957, soon after entering the United Nations, Japan set forth its three diplomatic pillars to which it still adheres: a UN-centered diplomacy, cooperation with the free (democratic) world, and membership in the Asian community. These  principles are all related to the ideals of Japanese diplomacy on multilateralism at both the global and regional level. Discussions on Japan’s regional multilateralism may be reasonably classified into the following two main topics, to which Japan’s policy toward Central Asia is also linked. As Soeya Yoshihide, a professor at Keio University, observed, 6  Japanese diplomacy after World War II was established by the “middle-way” alternative of Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru (1946–1947, 1948–1954), in which Japan entered into an alliance with the United States while maintaining a national constitution that does not recognize the right of belligerency. However, the “Yoshida Doctrine” sometimes restricted Japanese diplomacy, with criticism from both the left and the right within Japan. It also cleaved national identity in a diplomatic sense, such as should Japan be a peaceful country or a major power in world politics? It is interesting that, in this context, Soeya proposes a “middle-power diplomacy” that stresses conflict prevention and multilateral cooperation abroad, while reserving the right of full-scale confrontation with major powers. Moreover, discussions on Japanese multilateralism are linked with the emerging tendencies of regionalism in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan has not committed any acts of coercive intervention 7  against its neighboring countries in a strategic sense; it has mainly concentrated its Security],  Kokusai mondai , no. 470 (1999): 29–44. 5  F UKUSHIMA  Akiko,  Japanese Foreign Policy: The Emerging Logic of Multilateralism  (London: Macmillan, 1999). 6  S OEYA  Yoshihide,  Nihon no “Midoru-pawa” gaiko: sengo nihon no sentaku to koso  [Japan’s “Middle Power” Diplomacy: Japan’s Alternatives and Initiatives after World War II] (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 2005). 7  In this article, intervention is defined, quoting from Joseph S. Nye’s work, as “external actions that influence the domestic affairs of another sovereign state.” It includes not only highly coercive action such as military invasion, but also less coercive action such as speeches or broadcasts. See Joseph S. Nye Jr., Understanding International Conflicts: An  Introduction to Theory and History , 4th ed. (New York: Longman, 2003), 154–155.   Y  UASA  T  AKESHI - 68 - interests on economic affairs while being protected by the security umbrella of the United States. The end of the Cold War, however, encouraged a rebirth of “Japan’s Asian policy” with a change in the international environment during the 1990s. It was a critical period for Japanese foreign policy, seeking a new way to survive in the post-Cold War world where so-called bilateral stability no longer existed. Since the end of 1996, Japan had set its field for dialogue on security issues with almost all of its neighboring countries. 8  This period overlapped with the era of Hashimoto Ryutaro as prime minister (January 1996 to July 1998). In this sense, Japan’s policy toward its neighboring countries in the 1990s was characterized by a tendency towards multilateralism that sought frameworks for dialogue including on security issues. This enthusiasm for multilateral security dialogues in the Asia-Pacific region was a result of changing perceptions about bilateral relationships between each country in this region and the United States. Regional-level and global-level multilateralism exist in parallel such as the United Nations, while most countries allied with the United States in Asia understand the importance of bilateralism; their hub-and-spoke relations are with the United States. 9   First Bilateral Approach to Central Asia Although enthusiasm for a more multilateral approach at the regional level has grown, Japan had no clear multilateral concept when it started to construct relationships with the Central Asian states after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 10  Japan instead has stressed bilateral approaches to creating relations with them, especially with Uzbekistan. According to Magosaki Ukeru, the first Japanese ambassador to Uzbekistan, the first step toward enlarging Japan’s presence in Central Asia was the visit of a 8  I  NOGUCHI  Takashi, ed.,  Japan’s Asian Policy: Revival and Response  (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 8–15. 9  H OSHINO  Toshiya, “Nihon no takokukan gaikou” [Japan’s Multilateral Diplomacy], in  Nihon no Higashi Ajia koso  [Japan’s Initiative toward East Asia], ed. S OEYA  Yoshihide and T ADOKORO  Masayuki, Gendai Higashi Ajia to Nihon, 1 (Tokyo: Keio Gijuku Daigaku shuppankai, 2004), 247–270. 10  Japan recognized Central Asian countries as soon as they declared their independence in December 1991, and established diplomatic relationships with them in January 1992. Japanese embassies in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were opened in January 1993.

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