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The Middle East in 1973-2001 Japanese Foreign Policy: Why and How does a Pacifist State Secure Energy?

Author: Mürsel Dogrul

Source: Global Perspectives on Japan (GPJ), No.5 (2022), pp.46-63
Publisher: Forum Tauri Press
Keywords: Oil Crisis, Middle East, Japan Foreign Policy, ODA, Energy Security 


This article deals with the political-economy of Japan’s foreign policy toward the Middle East from 1973 to 2001, focusing on the impact of energy supply. As an unusual example, the foreign and security policies of Japan, a pacifist state, continues to be a popular topic of scholarly researches in the field of International Relations. While the demand for energy has become an essential factor for all countries in modern times, the methods that used meet this need vary by country. In the political crises regarding energy, even aggressive foreign policy instruments were engaged, and alternative foreign policy orientations were discussed. Thus, Japan’s foreign policy following the 1973 Oil Crisis is a topic worthy of discussion owing to its special character. The success of Japan, a country where the use of force is rigorously limited by its constitution, in securitizing the Middle East region, has not yet been thoroughly examined. Previous research focused only on these accomplishments in terms of a return to militarism or a commitment to pacifi sm. However, the underlying philosophy of Japanese aid, as well as the grey zones it provides in foreign policy, have not been extensively addressed. This study contributes a new perspective on energy in Japanese foreign policy from 1973 to 2001. While the political-economy of Japanese diplomacy dates back to the time, the fundamental features of Japanese foreign policy are listed. As a result, Japan’s use of economic power with ODA throughout the period became a model for other countries looking to play an active role in the region.