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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Shift in Japanese Diplomacy at the Beginning of the Second Cold War, 1979: A New Look

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Previous studies have proposed two different views as to how the beginning of the Second Cold War shaped Japanese diplomacy. This study demonstrates and reinterprets transformations in Japanese diplomacy experienced at that time, examining in particular the perceptions and behaviors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, based on primary source materials of both Japan and the United States. Japanese diplomacy was slowly transformed as the international environment became harsher. Indeed, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made the ministry aware of the Soviet threat, and Japan consequently started to increase its defense spending and make use of strategic foreign aid: these transformations might not have been radical, but were enough to cause the United States to perceive Japan more positively on security issues. However, the ministry’s attitude had been changing even before the beginning of the Second Cold War, inspired by jurisdictional disputes in the context of the diversification of security and the public approval of defense policies. The changes enabled the U.S.-Japan alliance to evolve into a much more complex partnership in the 1980s.

Affiliations: 1: Doshisha University, Email:, URL:


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