No. 43 – May 2015
Authors: Valentina Gullo
This report is intended to provide a picture of the recent economic and political choices of Japan, analyzing the effects that those could have in the national, regional and international context. Japan is facing today new dynamics next to its borders, which require from the government of Tokyo choices aimed at maintaining stability, peace and at consolidating the basis of Asian growth, beneficial to all the players in the area and beyond. After the Second World War, Japan became one of the leading economies in the world, setting up a development model for other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, to which has contributed through the relocation of its multinationals, the export of technology and know-how. Although, after decades of growth and economic development, Japan has experienced more than twenty years of recession. To stop this trend, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has implemented a neo-Keynesian economic policy, known as “Abenomics”, which is structured in the so-called “three arrows”: monetary policy, fiscal measures and structural reforms. “Abenomics” is intended to relaunch Japanese economic growth and to make Japan more competitive, in a region that is one of the most dynamic and fast growing of the world. In addition to economic reforms, Prime Minister Abe has explicitly expressed the aim to lead Japan to play a proactive and prestigious role in the international community, no longer limited to what has been previously described as the “diplomacy of check-writing”. Through the reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan and consistently with its foreign policy of “proactive contribution to peace”, to be implemented in the frame of the principle of international cooperation, Japan wants to address the changes in the geopolitical landscape of the Asia-Pacific region occurred in recent years as well as the new challenges of globalized world. In this scenario, the new guidelines of the US-Japan alliance, together with the change of Japanese security and defense laws – structured to allow the Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense together with its allies – and with the results of “Abenomics”, will define the regional and international role of Japan in the years ahead.