In response, Japan is reinvigorating its security relationship with the United States while pushing multilateral and bilateral dialogues with its neighbors. Although Japan's socio-cultural influence in East Asia is growing, it continues to have difficulty dealing with its militarist past -- something that makes it difficult for Japanese leaders to reassure the region about the country's long-term intentions. Consequently, Japan is doing its best to avoid having to choose between East Asia and the West. Moreover, it prefers to exert regional leadership "from behind" -- getting other countries to promote its agenda.
In this major new book, Mike Mochizuki explains that it is still too soon to judge whether this new Japanese approach will succeed. He shows how Japan's reorientation also poses new challenges for the United States, which must strike the right balance between promoting its regional economic interests and harnessing its alliance with Japan on behalf of regional security.