East Asia

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 361–383 | Cite as

Conceptualizing Japan’s Foreign Policy Trajectory Through Social Identity Theory

  • Matthew P. Funaiole


Regional security studies of the Asia-Pacific commonly center upon China’s rise, leaving other actors underresearched. Among these is Japan, whose ongoing reinterpretation of its pacifist constitution may destabilize the region. This article employs Social Identity Theory, a social psychology theory of group behavior, to develop a unique framework that accounts for both the domestic and international constraints acting upon Japan’s foreign policy makers. By analyzing Japan’s foreign policy evolution through the lost decade of the 1990s into the changed landscape of the post-September 11th world, this article identifies a prevailing trend toward “normalization”. It is argued that Japan is on course to further distance itself from the pacifism embodied in Article 9 of its constitution.


Japanese foreign policy Article 9 Japanese constitution Social Identity Theory Prime Minister Abe Shinzō Asia-Pacific Security 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Strategic and International StudiesWashingtonUSA

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