From Phoenix to Firehazard: Perceptions of Japanese Leadership in the Asia Pacific, 1960-2000

Author: Alexander John Stephens

Stephens, Alexander John, 2006 From Phoenix to Firehazard: Perceptions of Japanese Leadership in the Asia Pacific, 1960-2000, Flinders University, School of International Studies

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From the middle of the 1970s, an increasing amount of scholarly analysis centred around the concept of leadership in international relations at a time when US post-Second World War leadership began to decline. As a major beneficiary of this decline, Japan assumed the mantle of a replacement in the burgeoning field devoted to the study of changes in the international political economy. A major problem became the way in which the study of leadership in international relations became hostage to the singular example of the United States. The conflation between leadership on the one hand, with US interests and responsibilities on the other, rendered much of the analysis flawed. The growing disparities between the supply of international public goods and narrowly conceived US foreign policy interests undermined the overall study of international leadership. Japan, as the country during the 1980s perceived most likely to supplant the US as the largest and most influential capitalist economy, became the centre of interest in this field. This thesis seeks to more comprehensively measure and analyse Japanese leadership in a more contextual and thorough means through the comparative use of case studies between 1960 and 2000. Through noting the differences in country and regional reactions to Japanese foreign policy, this study demonstrates that leadership perceptions are more often than not driven by national self interest rather than an ideal type of responsible leadership.

Keywords: Japanese foreign policy,international relations,international leadership,international political economy

Subject: International Relations thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2006
School: School of International Studies
Supervisor: Richard Leaver