Japan makes little effort to promote human rights in Southeast Asia, although it sees itself as an advanced industrialized democracy. In comparison with the United States and the European Union (EU), Tokyo's approach is less intrusive and coercive, and more tolerant and accommodative. What can be described as the economic-interest explanation holds that Japan takes a non-intrusive approach in order to maintain favorable relations with the Southeast Asian countries, so as to maximize its interests in the areas of trade and investment, and official development assistance (ODA). The present study finds that this line of argument is insufficient, and thus puts forward an alternative explanation. The identity explanation holds that Japan has been sympathetic to the special concern of the Southeast Asian countries over state sovereignty, and thus takes a non-intrusive approach. This is because while Japan sees itself as an advanced industrialized democracy it also identifies itself as an Asian country.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
- Political Science and International Relations