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Japan’s regional multilateralism : national role conceptions, APEC, and the Nakayama proposal Evans, Randy Walter

Abstract

Why did Japan promote a multilateral security forum, in the 1991 Nakayama Proposal, given that the fundamental basis of its security policy is the bilateral alliance with the United States? Japan's pursuit of regional multilateralism can be primarily explained by using the concept of ingrained roles from role theory. The methodological approach was qualitative content analysis of speeches by Japan's Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers. The constraints of ingrained roles on the policymaking process provided an opportunity for the internationalist coalition within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to formulate the Nakayama proposal. This study also argues that the earlier Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) initiative by Japan's Ministry for International Trade and Industry (MITI) provided intense rivalry and valuable lessons for MOFA's pursuit of a regional security institution. The end stage of the Cold War, the onset of the Gulf War, as well as MITI and MOFA's bureaucratic rivalry, set the policymaking context.

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