Paper Example. History of Japan and the Cold War

Published: 2023-03-03
Paper Example. History of Japan and the Cold War
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories:  World War 2 History United States War Asia Cold War
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1790 words
15 min read

The Cold War is a captivating event in human history. Scholars term it as a fascinating and influential because it was an ideologically driven conflict. It involved powerful states who had the full potential to put an end to humanity. The battle never turned into a proxy of military encounter. The Cold War is treated as a global historical period that spanned in the late 1940s. The Cold War symbolizes that era when Truman Doctrine tried to contain the influence of the Soviet Union and the communist expansion (Jager, 2007). This period came to a halt when the Eastern bloc and the Soviet Union collapsed. Historical narratives are pertaining the modern Japan documents how the Cold War shaped modern Japan. Until recently, scholars stressed the significance of the Cold War as the catalyst behind Japan's change in their social and economic growth. Japan played an important role during the Cold War. The Cold War had varied impacts on various countries across the globe, and one of them is Japan. Today, Japan's nuclear policies, security policies are as a result of the Cold War influence. Hence, the Cold War significantly shaped nuclear policy, security policy, and the fate of Okinawa in postwar Japan; it also affected how the Asia-Pacific War was to be remembered in Japan and Asia, leaving many issues unresolved

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Cold War Background

The coming to an end of World War II was thought to signal the conclusion of an epoch. Most people believed that the ultra-nationalist philosophies of racism, Fascism and Nazism were defeated. They even thought that 1945 marked the end of imperialism (Jager, 2007). The post-war global order and decolonization movement triumphed by 1960, thus ushering the United Nation to take over to bring to an end to any possible war outbreak. The United Nations theoretically was there to institute global development and national self-determination, yet, the U.N. did not bring the world to order. The worldwide order was on the mercy of two superpowers and their intense rivalry. While ultra fascistic and nationalistic believed that the United Nations was the ideal organization to command law and order, the fascistic and nationalistic ideals of self-governance models, and ancient customs were inseparable. Both the nationalism and imperialist dominated most societies in the world. The ideals of imperialists and nationalist were wide apart. Both of them were bridged to outright racism and tribal nationalism. The symbolic power of imperialism and nationalism to discipline and subordinate their differences is characteristic as an imperialist nationalism.

The imperialist gave rise to two superpowers, namely, the United States and the Soviet Union. These two acquired substantial power. The Cold War is an ideal expression of two imperial nations representing a new imperialism sound culmination. Hence, the Cold War is attributed to have originated from two imperialist superpowers who sought to acquire the loyalty of other theoretically sovereign states, military dependent on them in terms of their hegemonic power and ideological strategies on political and economic growth. Although the rivalry was between the two camps for allegiance and power, their ideological conflicts shaped the rest of the world, including Japan. Japanese, Germany, and France industrialized a close corporation of interests amongst themselves (Jager, 2007). The corporation had vital benefits that stemmed from the United States investments and strategies. The Cold War era gave rise to the modernization of economies; notably, the Pacific Asian economies advanced rapidly. Japan became a close ally of the U.S. Japan embraced U.S. ideologies and policies. The various Japanese ideologies and policies are aligned with those of the United States allies. Japan's way of operation is also in line with those of U.S. allies (Jager, 2007). Therefore, the Cold War shaped Japan's various ideologies and policies in the security sector, nuclear section and even policies that touched on the fate of Okinawa in postwar Japan. The Cold War also affected how the Asia-Pacific War is remembered in Japan and Asia.

Impact of the Cold War on Japan

The Cold War impacted Japan immensely. Notable impacts are on nuclear and security policies, the fate of Okinawa and Asia Pacific Wars.

Nuclear Policies

The recent shift surrounding the international security environment in the Asia Pacific region has stimulated a global discussion on Japan's nuclear policies. The conceptual twist of the nuclear policies of Japan is coherence and ambivalence under the umbrella of the United States. Despite Japan's anti-nuclear weapons policy declaration, the three non-nuclear policies Japan is enjoying were provided by the United States over 60 years ago (Jager, 2007). These three principles were drafted to protect Japan. The bilateral nuclear provisions have cherished and established a strong bond between Japan and the U.S. The relationship between these two nations is termed as US-Japan Nuclear Alliance. Despite the backdrop of the latest nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula, the current administration led by Shinzo Abe has deeply continued to depend on the U.S. umbrella protection. They have even solidified their cooperation with the military of the U.S. (Tanaka & Kuznick, 2011).

Immediately at the end of the Cold War, scholars anticipated that Japan should become independent of the Americans by obtaining nuclear weapons because of the threat emanating from the dynamic security environment in their Korean Peninsula. In spite of the scholars' anticipations, and Japan's perceived threats from North Korea and China, the country has continued to retain its non-nuclear policy of 60 years ago. The apparent factors hindering Japan from instituting its own nuclear policies despite the imminent threats are the unparalleled experience of nuclear's philanthropic consequences, the prevailing anti-nuclear open sentiments, foreign and security policy discourse defined in the World War II, the United States Cold War strategies and Japan's gradual acceptance of the Us protection nuclear umbrella (Tanaka & Kuznick, 2011).

Japan's nuclear policy between them and the U.S. says that Japan will not undertake any policy to possession of nuclear weapons. They should maintain only the technical and economic potentials of nuclear weapon production. The strategic thinking of the Japanese administration elites since the mid-1950s to date is attributed to the Cold War mentality. The Japanese nation only embraces the nuclear policies they agreed with the U.S. due to their questionable self strategic judgement. The US-Japan strategies are based on environmental security and Cold War mentality recognition. Hence, the nuclear policies that Japan uses were shaped by the effects of the Cold War mentality. The bilateral nuclear policies are architectures built on a common strategic goal of Cold War dimensions of military and commercial benefits. These policies have ramifications which contravene Japan's traditional identity, which is shared by many but shaped by the Cold War (Tanaka & Kuznick, 2011).Security Policies

In this 21st century, there is a swift change in global power balance alongside globalization. Japan's surrounding security environment is increasingly becoming severe as epitomized by the production of missiles and nuclear weapons by North Korea and China. Other transnational threats that Japan faces are grounded on technological advancements such as cyber-attacks and international terrorism. Japan's security policies were ascribed on their post-Cold War policies (Dower, 2014). They have as a country made significant changes in those security policies that were based on the Cold War era. Their security policies are based on Japan's security identity. The current policies shifted from a "peace state" to more of the "international state" policies, meaning Japan is viewing herself as taking a more specific duty in the strategic military affairs of post-Cold War. Their shift is attributed to their normative structure concerning the roles and practices in their international security environment or region. All these policy shifts are in line with the Cold War agenda of U.S. setting military bases in Japan and Japan rearmament.

The era of the Cold War, Japan's security policies were aligned to those of the United States who had extensive military bases within their boundaries. The military bases were perceived to be defenses against communism aggression and threats across Asia. The American military bases were set during the Cold War era. The military bases were cemented during the signing of the US-Japan 1951 security treaty. The 1951 security treaty was agreed as a pact in which the U.S. will maintain international peace within Japan and its surrounding. The agreement was meant to bring security to the region from external attack. But critics argue that the basis of the 1951 treaty was for security reasons alone. The critiques claim that this treaty makes the Japanese government short of self-autonomy to making independent decisions. The Japanese government has to abide by global military practices and policies; the U.S. suggests that even if they are proven to be reckless and unwise (Dower, 2014).

The 1951 US-Japan treaty provided that Japan's rearming was unconstitutional. Earlier, a security treaty signed by Yoshida, the Prime Minister prohibited any remilitarization of any nature even if it was meant for self-defense. The 1951 US-Japan security was intended to constitutionalize the rearming. Even though the 1951 bilateral talks between the U.S. and Japan bore some fruits concerning rearming, the arming process was legally precarious. It needed the revision of article 9 of the constitution which to date has never been revised (Dower, 2014). Though the revision of the constitution does not hinder the reinterpretation of the constitution, the Japanese military has technologically advanced. The military has even continued to redefine its military mission both internally and abroad. But, Japan's constitution still retains sufficient influence since the Cold War on the restraints missions and weaponry of the Japanese military (Dower, 2014).

The fate of Okinawa in Postwar Japan

For many Americans and Japanese, Okinawa brings them the worst and last battle of the Pacific War. The war was fought for 82 days (Tatsuhiro & Mineo, 1989). It had immense casualties on both sides. It portrayed horrifying war memories. More than 230,000 people died in due course of the war. Amongst them are a whopping 147,000 Okinawa residents who lost their lives, presenting a one-third of the total wartime population (Tatsuhiro & Mineo, 1989). The are various reasons why the USA decided to invade the island of Okinawa. The first reason was its strategic positioning to project its military power to the rest of Asia. Secondly, the location gave the Americans offensive and defensive operations across the vast Asian continent. The area also gave the USA an easy watch and guarded to the sea. They could easily see the Korea peninsula, North and Central China. Third, Okinawa was a strategic location that offered the U.S. the best area for air surveillance across wider Asia. Fourth, the Okinawa base offered the U.S. the effective locality their military will position and operate as the post-Japan-Us defense security treaty demanded (Tatsuhiro & Mineo, 1989). The Americans finally believed that the Okinawa area provided them with a chance to neutralize the Soviet Union influence on areas such as Manchuria, Kuriles and Korea.

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