The United Arab Emirates and Japan: Diversifying Bilateral Relationships and Challenges in the Context of Japan’s New Foreign Policy Focus and US-Japan Relation
Keywords:international oil market, Japan's Middle East Policies, US-Japan relations
AbstractIn this article, I analyze the Japan-Middle East-U.S. triangle relationship. Japan’s Middle East policies, the author contends, have been influenced by its energy needs and relationship with the United States. Fully aware of its status as a country with hardly any energy resources, Japan has engaged in energy diplomacy and investment in oil fields in the Middle East. This article describes how, despite pursuing an energy strategy largely independent of the United States, Japan has constantly needed to take into account its relationship with the Americans, and Japan has slowly shifted toward more frequent support for American policy especially after the Gulf War in 1990. At the same time, Japan’s Middle East policies have been influenced by its domestic politics. For example, former Prime Minister Koizumi’s post-September 11 plan to let Japan’s military forces play a more prominent role in the War on Terror was crushed by his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). This article explains that LDP politicians were afraid that supporting the war would undermine Japan’s economic interests in the Muslim world and how the Democratic Party of Japan which took office this September has attempted to pursue a more independent position in its relations with the United States. This article also explores the shifts in Japan’s Middle East policies under the new administration and their implications on US-Japan relations.
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