The Foundation of Japan's Security Policy

The Yoshida Doctrine Updated

By Naoko Kumagai

© 2017 – Routledge

256 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415505567
pub: 2016-10-31

About the Book

This book demonstrates how the Yoshida Doctrine, named after the Japanese Prime Minister who in 1951 negotiated with the United States the end of the post-war Occupation, has continued since 1951, and continues still, in modified form, to be the foundation of Japan’s security policy. It shows how the aim of Yoshida was to ensure Japan’s security at minimum cost, so that resources and the energy of the Japanese people could be concentrated on economic reconstruction and development, and how this was achieved by the asymmetric alliance with the United States, which shifted the burden of defending Japan to the United States, and by the "peace clause" – Article 9 – of the Japanese constitution, which prohibits the possession of armed forces. The book argues that the Yoshida Doctrine has been remarkably successful in achieving what it set out to achieve, and remarkably flexible, being adapted following the end of the Cold War to fit new circumstances. It discusses how the Yoshida Doctrine and Japan’s security policy have been formed as much by domestic issues and debates within Japan as by external threats and the need to counter them, and it assesses how the Yoshida Doctrine has led to Japan being a very passive player in international relations, reluctant to take on the more proactive role demanded of Japan by the United States in recent decades, and increasingly dependent on the United States, despite Japan’s potential for self-assertion.

Table of Contents

1. The Yoshida Doctrine: Its Birth and Evolution 2. The Yoshida Doctrine Updated: Japanese foreign policy toward Northeast Asia during the Cold War era 3. Japan and the United States 4. Japan and China 5. Japan and North Korea 6. Japan in Northeast Asia in the Twenty-First Century 7. Conclusion

About the Author

Naoko Kumagai is an Assistant Professor at the International University of Japan

About the Series

Routledge Security in Asia Pacific Series

Series editors: Leszek Buszynski and William Tow, both Australian National University


New security concerns are emerging in the Asia Pacific region as global players face challenges from rising great powers, all of which interact with confident middle powers in complicated ways. This series puts forward important new work on key security issues in the region. It embraces the roles of the major actors, their defense policies and postures and their security interaction over the key issues of the region. It includes coverage of the United States, China, Japan, Russia, the Koreas, as well as the middle powers of ASEAN and South Asia. It also covers issues relating to environmental and economic security as well as transnational actors and regional groupings.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General