Japan’s Foreign Policy

Autumn 2023

Application period: August 21 –  September 17, 2023

Level: Master’s level

Language: English

Amount of credits:  3 cr + 2 cr

Time: October 2 – December 10, 2023, for the essay: December 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Organizer: University of Turku, Centre for East Asian Studies

Instructor: University lecturer Kamila Szczepanska

Goals: During this course participants will gain understanding of the major directions in Japan’s foreign policy and what are its distinguishing characteristics today. The students will be able to assess the significance of particular political, social and economic determinants that influenced the trajectories along which Japanese foreign policy have evolved since the post-war period. Furthermore, the students will acquire critical understanding of selected Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) theories, including their analytical focus and methodological gaps. Subsequently, they will be able to apply these theories to the case of Japan and evaluate their ability to explain the realities of Japanese foreign policy.

By the end of the course the students will develop further transferable skills to critically identify, select and examine sources for the purpose of evaluating their merit and relevance. The students will also improve their ability to effectively communicate the results of their research and analyses in written form.

Contents: Japan’s experience of defeat in the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945) and its subsequent post-war “economic miracle” both constituted decisive determinants of the country’s engagement with the outside world and its policies on international arena. Since the early 1990s Japanese policy-makers have undertaken efforts to “normalise” the country’s foreign and security policies in response to multiple challenges brought by the end of the Cold War and globalisation. Recently, the rise of China and the decline of US power have posed a number of challenges to the country’s international position, prompting Japan to further reassess its foreign policy directions.

This course explores the main features and transformations of Japanese foreign policy since 1945, illuminates domestic and international sources of Japan’s foreign and security policies, and examines efforts to boost the country’s role in international affairs precipitated by the major shifts in Japan’s international environment.

Taken as:

3 cr: Online lectures, course readings and online materials; Learning diaries; Group discussions

2 cr : Students who take the 3  cr course can also write an optional 2  cr essay between December 11 2023 – January 7 2024

Application process:

Students who hold a valid study right at University Network’s member university can take this course for free. This includes both degree students and exchange students.

Other students can apply to the course as external self-paying students of the University of Turku.

This course has a maximum intake of 40 students. Students are selected in the order of application. The places are divided evenly between the member universities of the Network.

Go to application instructions by clicking here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive a  message about the decision. This will come a few weeks after the application period has ended. If you are accepted to the course, you will receive a welcoming email on the first day of the course, and gain access to the course site in the Moodle. The welcome email comes to the address you have given in the application form. It may go to the spam or offers-folder of your email (at least Gmail tends to do it), so check those folders too.