Carving out a sphere of influence in East and Southeast Asia has been a preoccupation of Japanese foreign policy since the nineteenth century. Tokyo considers the region as vital to Japanese security as Central America and the Caribbean is to the United States or Eastern Europe is to the European Economic Community. In the late nineteenth century, Japan emulated the Western imperial powers by conquering adjacent countries like the Ryukyus, Taiwan and Korea while Japanese zaibatsu began muscling into markets throughout the region. In the 1930s, fuelled by slogans like ‘Asia for the Asians’, Japan began a step by step conquest of East Asia with the goal of transforming it into a ‘co-prosperity sphere’ with all the region’s economic, political, social, cultural and even spiritual roads leading to Tokyo.
KeywordsEast Asian Country Department Store European Economic Community Japanese Firm Trade Surplus
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