Japan in Africa

From Cold War diplomacy to TICAD and beyond

Authored by: Seifudein Adem

Handbook of Africa’s International Relations

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436334
eBook ISBN: 9780203803929
Adobe ISBN:


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Japan’s African diplomacy began formally when Africa Division was created in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1961—also the opening year of the decade of political independence in Africa. After half a century, a reflection about the past and future of Japan-Africa relations is therefore timely and intellectually profitable. Anchoring itself in the simple but basic fact that the relationship between Japan and Africa is one of unequals, which also means that the stronger side, Japan, defines the terms of the relationship, the chapter examines the transformations in Japan’s diplomacy in Africa in relation to Japan’s own shifting identities, interests and foreign policy priorities over the past 50 years. The chapter concludes that continuity has marked the foreign policy behaviours of Japan in Africa even as Japan strived to make adjustments to the changing nature of the international system while, at the same time, trying to change the system itself in desirable ways.

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