ON-Lion Letter
During the last century and a half, Japan has agilely responded and adapted to international forces, repeatedly altering both its foreign and domestic policies in order to maintain security and power, according to Kenneth B. Pyle of The National Bureau of Asian Research.  Since the end of World War II in particular, Pyle notes in his new book Japan Rising:  The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose, Japan has quietly begun to awaken from its national pacifism and isolation.

Pyle is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Washington, the founding president NBAR and founding editor, and chairman of the board of The Journal of Japanese Studies.  In 1999, he was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun.

Responding to the demands of globalization, the rise of China, and a nuclear North Korea, Pyle believes, Japan is currently making another one of its historic changes of national course -- with undeniably important geopolitical implications, including for the United States.

"For the time being, Japan is moving cautiously, gauging the changing power configuration, assessing the prospects of Chinese nation building and their implication for the region and Japan's place in it," Pyle writes.  "The outcome will heavily affect the security institutions that Japan may be required to develop.

"The American alliance is essential to this wait and- see approach," he continues, "but at the same time Japan's leaders do not want to be hostage to America's China policy.  While drawing on the insurance provided by the alliance, they will seek -- as they always have -- a course that preserves their independence and freedom of action."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports The National Bureau of Asian Research, the president of which is now its co-founder Richard J. Ellings.  It has offices in both Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Pyle's Japan Rising is being published by PublicAffairs.
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |