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The EU-Japan Partnership in the Shadow of China: The Crisis of Liberalism
- Paul Midford (Professor and Director of the Japan Program, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))
EU-Japan relations have reached a what appears to be a promising turning point. In July 2018 they concluded the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was called an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and an accompanying Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), a legally binding agreement mandating political and security cooperation. The conclusion of these two agreements is timely, coming as they do in the shadow of the crisis of liberalism, a crisis punctuated by the rise of China and the Trump presidency. The conclusion of these two agreements raises the question of whether the EU and Japan can effectively exert joint global leadership to help maintain the liberal international order. Japanese Prime Minister Abe promotes “Pro-active Pacifism” and “Values Diplomacy” in foreign policy, critiquing previous policy that he claims merely professed peace while doing little to promote it. Values Diplomacy asserts that Japan will promote the values of liberal democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Given the EU’s promotion of these values, these Abe administration policies apparently promise greater EU-Japan political and security cooperation. This presentation assesses whether the Abe administration’s implementation of these two new policies really portend greater cooperation, or whether they are merely tactical responses to China’s rise that offer little potential for expanding EU-Japan cooperation.
Professor and Director of the Japan Program, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Paul Midford is Professor and Director of the Japan Program at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Midford received his PhD. in Political Science from Columbia University in 2001. His research interests include Japanese foreign and defense policies, the impact of public opinion on policy, renewable energy and energy security, and East Asian security and multilateralism. He has published over a dozen book chapters, co-edited six books, and has published articles in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Security Studies, Pacific Review, Asian Survey, Japan Forum, and International Relations of the Asia-Pacific. Midford is the author of Rethinking Japanese Public Opinion and Security: From Pacifism to Realism? (Stanford University Press, 2011). He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Overcoming the Security Isolationism: Japan’s Promotion of East Asian Security Multilateralism.