Within the past decade or so, Japan’s foreign policy has become more proactive and assertive than it was during the cold war, placing greater emphasis on non-economic sources of power. Changing bilateral relations with all four BRICs are both causes and consequences of this newly assertive foreign policy stance. Japan’s relationship with China is both the most important and the most complicated of the four. At the core of complexity is Japan’s deep ambivalence about whether to treat China’s economic rise as a threat or an opportunity. Japanese policy has consequently veered between engagement and confrontation, with the paradoxical result that while bilateral trade has exploded, diplomatic relations are the worst in memory. Japan’s relations with Russia display a similar if less pronounced ambivalence. Largely as a consequence of heightened concerns about the threats from China and Russia, Japanese policy makers have begun to see the potential of both India and Brazil as useful counterweights, a view that coincides with the newly-articulated "values diplomacy" that stresses the importance of shared democratic values. However, India and Brazil remain relatively unimportant trading partners for Japan.


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pp. 177-203
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