Okinawa island is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, and paid tribute to China from the late 14th century. Japan took control of the entire Ryukyu island chain in and formally incorporated it into Japan in
Japan Table of Contents Japan's geography--particularly its insular character, its limited endowment of natural resources, and its exposed location near potentially hostile giant neighbors--has played an important role in the development of its foreign policy.
In premodern times, Japan's semi-isolated position on the periphery of the Asian mainland was an asset. It permitted the Japanese to exist as a self-sufficient society in a secure environment. It also allowed them to borrow selectively from the rich civilization of China while maintaining their own cultural identity.
Insularity promoted a strong Japanese foreign policy and ethnic unity, which underlay the early development of a national consciousness that has influenced Japan's relations with outside peoples and cultures throughout its history.
Early Developments In Japanese foreign policy early sixteenth century, a feudally organized Japan came into contact with Western missionaries and traders for the first time.
Westerners introduced important cultural innovations into Japanese society during more than a century of relations with various feudal rulers. But when the country was unified at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Tokugawa government decided to expel the foreign missionaries and strictly limit intercourse with the outside world.
National seclusion--except for contacts with the Chinese and Dutch--was Japan's foreign policy for more than two centuries. When the Tokugawa seclusion was forcibly breached in by Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the United States Navy, Japan found that geography no longer ensured security--the country was defenseless against military pressures and economic exploitation by the Western powers.
After Perry's naval squadron had compelled Japan to enter into relations with the Western world, the first foreign policy debate was over whether Japan should embark on an extensive modernization to cope with the threat of the "eastward advance of Western power," which had already violated the independence of China, or expel the "barbarians" and return to seclusion.
The latter alternative--although it appealed to many-- was never seriously considered. Beginning with the Meiji Restoration ofwhich ushered in a new, centralized regime, Japan set out to "gather wisdom from all over the world" and embarked on an ambitious program of military, social, political, and economic reforms that transformed it within a generation into a modern nation-state and major world power.
Modern Japan's foreign policy was shaped at the outset by its need to reconcile its Asian identity with its desire for status and security in an international order dominated by the West.
The principal foreign policy goals of the Meiji period were to protect the integrity and independence of the nation against Western domination and to win equality of status with the leading nations of the West by reversing the unequal treaties.
Because fear of Western military power was the chief concern of the Meiji leaders, their highest priority was building up the basic requirements for national defense, under the slogan "wealth and arms" fukoku kyohei.
They saw that a modern military establishment required national conscription drawing manpower from an adequately educated population, a trained officer corps, a sophisticated chain of command, and strategy and tactics adapted to contemporary conditions. Finally, it required modern arms together with the factories to make them, sufficient wealth to purchase them, and a transportation system to deliver them.
An important objective of the military buildup was to gain the respect of the Western powers and achieve equal status for Japan in the international community.
Inequality of status was symbolized by the treaties imposed on Japan when the country was first opened to foreign intercourse.
The treaties were objectionable to the Japanese not only because they imposed low fixed tariffs on foreign imports and thus handicapped domestic industries, but also because their provisions gave a virtual monopoly of external trade to foreigners and granted extraterritorial status to foreign nationals in Japan, exempting them from Japanese jurisdiction and placing Japan in the inferior category of uncivilized nations.
Many of the social and institutional reforms of the Meiji period were designed to remove the stigma of backwardness and inferiority represented by the "unequal treaties," and a major task of Meiji diplomacy was to press for early treaty revision.
Once created, the Meiji military machine was used to extend Japanese power overseas, for many leaders believed that national security depended on expansion and not merely a strong defense.
Within thirty years, the country's military forces had fought and defeated imperial China in the First Sino-Japanese Warwinning possession of Taiwan and China's recognition of Korea's independence.
Ten years later, in the Russo-Japanese WarJapan defeated tsarist Russia and won possession of southern Sakhalin as well as a position of paramount influence in Korea and southern Manchuria.A reactive foreign policy can be identified in situations where the US and Japan disagree and the Japanese government acts on American interests, while activism might be described as behavior that can be classified in one of the following two categories (1) where US and Japan disagree and Japan acts on its interests, and (2) where US and Japan.
Japan is also China's largest export market: in mainland China's exports to Japan were percent of its total exports, in comparison, for example, with percent of total exports from mainland China to the United States. Russia.
Japan's relations with . "We, the Japanese people have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world." This passage from the preamble of the Japanese Constitution, in effect since May , expresses the .
Students will become more informed voters and participants in political processes by learning the history of US involvement in China,Japan, Korea, and in war, imperialism, trade disputes, democratization, reparations, and the United Nations and East Asia.
Below is a summary of Japan's relations with some of the countries and regions most important to it in the postwar period. The United States.
Since World War II, Japan's most important tie has been with the United States. Japan's mutual defense treaty with the United States is central to its security. The Diplomat is a current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific, with news and analysis on politics, security, business, technology and life across the region.