Normative power Japan: the European Union’s ideational successor or another “contradiction in terms”?

by Rok Zupančič, Miha Hribernik,

The concept of normative power has gained prominence, and consequently, invigorated research endeavours in recent years. With the exception of the “normative power Europe”, the concept still remains a relatively under-researched topic in international relations. This is particularly valid for case studies of East Asian countries, and this article attempts to fill this void to some extent by analysing the case of Japan. In looking at Japan’s quest for normative power, we analyse three areas, in which successive Japanese governments invested significant financial, material and human resources, aiming at recognition of Japan as “an international force of good”. The three areas are: peace-building (including peace-brokering), human security and regional initiatives (the case of ReCAAP). Even though the normative behaviour of an actor does not imply using the instruments of hard power, this paper argues that Japan, aiming at reinforcing its normative power, has relied on significant economic means, used in the security-related fields. This was conducted multilaterally in accordance with other actors in the  international community, but mostly in areas where the ‘normative activities’ of Japan do not contradict the strategic interests of influential international actors.

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Advisory Board

  • Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (chair) Hertie School of Governance
  • Larry Diamond Stanford University
  • Tom Gallagher University of Bradford
  • Alena Ledeneva University College London
  • Michael McFaul Stanford University
  • Philippe Schmitter Stanford University
  • Helen Wallace London School of Economics and Political Science

Managing Editors

  • George Jiglau
  • Ingi Iusmen

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Societatea Academica Romana