Open Forum

At this time of extraordinary flux, for some, Japan looms as an embodiment of stability and sound realist judgment. For others, it remains mired in the post-Cold War trap: stagnation without serious reform, revisionist obsessions without moves toward genuine reconciliation, and insularity without timely internationalization. In this article, I avoid these extremes to concentrate on the short-term mood beneath a surface of complacency. Many in Japan see itself as an Asian great power, competent beyond its own region to interact on a level playing field with the three global actors—the United States, China, and Russia. Nonetheless, others are becoming nervous that Japan is being buffeted by its own actions as well as rapid shifts on the Korean Peninsula, which Japan lacks the resources or strategy to handle.   

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