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3/29 - Japan in Search of Foreign Policy Equilibrium: Post-Cold War Dynamics

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Information and Registration are at:

The Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia Business School;
the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; and
the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University present:

Japan in Search of Foreign Policy Equilibrium: Post-Cold War Dynamics


Akihiko Tanaka

Professor of International Relations, University of Tokyo
Former President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Moderated by

Hugh Patrick
Director, Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia Business School


Post-Cold War Japan has faced political dynamics radically different from that of the Cold War period. Neighboring regions in East Asia have transformed from regions of poverty to regions of growth. China is now the second largest economy in the world and a rising military power. Democratization in many countries transformed the dynamics of their domestic politics as well as their foreign policies. Symbolic issues concerning the history of World War II have also emerged in domestic and international political agendas more frequently and visibly since the end of the Cold War. Japanese domestic politics also experienced new changes after the end of the Cold War. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost power in 1993 and 2009 and new types of politicians play more important roles in Japan’s foreign policy. The US Japan Alliance is important but adjustment is inevitable. How has Japan navigated its foreign policy in the crisscrossing currents created by these dynamic forces? Has Japan been able to find a foreign policy equilibrium within the post-Cold War dynamics that serves its national interests?


Akihiko Tanaka is Professor of International Politics at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo. He served as President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from April 2012 to September 2015. Before assuming his post at JICA, he experienced various posts at the University of Tokyo including as Professor of International Politics, Director of the Institute of Oriental Culture, and Executive Vice-President of the University. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Tokyo and a Ph.D. in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written numerous books and articles in Japanese and English including The New Middle Ages: The World System in the 21st Century (Tokyo: The International House of Japan, 2002), Wado Poritikusu: gurobarizeshon no naka no Nihon gaiko (Word Politics: Japanese Diplomacy under Globalization) (Tokyo: Chikuma-shobo, 2000), and Posuto kuraishisu no sekai (The Post-Crisis World) (Tokyo: Nihon keizai shimbun shuppansha, 2009). Professor Tanaka received the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon in 2012 from the Emperor of Japan for his academic achievements.

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Media Contact: Ryoko Ogino,

* Please kindly note the following:

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