The success trap. Japan's policy alternatives at home and abroad

Davis B. Bobrow, Robert T Kudrle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong outside pressure pushes the Japanese to embrace courses of action that could undermine the foundations of postwar success. Moreover, US, European, and Asian preferences about Japanese policy differ significantly. Additional complexity results when exhortations from the same geographic source involve internal contradictions. The authors outline three basic strategies that Japan can pursue-subordination to the demands of outside powers, conformity to the traditional policy instincts of major states, and the evolution of a national enhancement path that bears little overall resemblance to the policy patterns of any previous great power. They conclude that some variant of the third course is the most desirable choice for Japan and also the most likely development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-606
Number of pages21
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


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