Like Germany in Europe, Japan in Asia after World War II recovered economically faster and more completely than any of the countries it had conquered and occupied. Unlike Germany, however, Japan did not regain a role of leadership in its geographic region. Germany’s strategy of reconciliation won it a respected return to the family of nations, surrounded by partners dependent but not fearful, responsive but not resentful. Japan, which undertook limited efforts to reconcile with the enemies it made for itself, established vital economic relations but without the acknowledged leadership that its economic superiority might have cemented. It seems fair to surmise that Japan without reconciliation would be destined to be without real friends, and without conferred leadership in Asia.
AICGS’ project “Political and Societal Leadership in Encouraging Reconciliation: A Comparison of Japanese and German Foreign Policies in their Neighborhoods” analyzes the policies of Germany and Japan toward their neighbors by comparing the nature, format, and motives of action and inaction. By using comparison as an analytical framework and as a clarifier of choices while avoiding simple replication, AICGS aims to provide lessons for a positive Japanese reconciliation approach that is necessary in light of recent political and generational change. The Institute will expand its work on reconciliation by offering missing perspectives on German and Japanese reconciliation in their respective regions by convening a major conference in Berlin, bringing together practitioners and scholars, and producing a publication following the conference.
Made possible by the support of Stiftung EVZ