The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Politics
Book, East Asia, Global governance, Centre for the Study of Global Japan, Munk School

Japan and International Organizations

Japan’s emergence as a great power and economic powerhouse coincided with the rise of international organizations in global politics. International organizations now facilitate cooperation in essentially all arenas of international relations. This article surveys major academic debates about Japan and international organizations across three time periods: from the Meiji Restoration until World War II; the postwar liberal international order; and the recent era of contestation. Japan has played a variety of roles—as creator, reformer, and disruptor of international organizations. After World War II, Japan contributed actively to the liberal international order as a key democratic ally of the United States. Recent shifts in the international system and Japanese domestic politics are reconfiguring Japan’s policy toward international organizations, opening exciting avenues for future research.