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Volume 5 Issue 3, September 2018

Table of Contents


1. Dateline MEI by P.R.Kumaraswamy  READ MORE


2. Japan and the Middle East: an Overview

By Srabani Roy Choudhury 

As an introduction to this special issue, this article examines the shaping of Japan’s foreign policy; looking at how Japan has risen to the demand of the international community to assume more responsibility in conflict situations, circumventing a pacifist constitution that it had been dealt with. It then explains relations between Middle East and Japan and shows how the latter has been balancing its national interest in order to conform to its alliance with the United States. With more Asian powers having stake in the Middle East, Japan has become proactive about its role in the region. However, with limited hard power options, Japan would have to concentrate on its soft power capabilities and on using its economic strength to mark its presence in the Middle East.



3. Implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative for Japan’s Involvement in the Middle East By Yovram Evron 

In recent years, the ties between Asian powers and Middle Eastern countries have grown significantly, and the consequence of this development is a gradual spin-off of intra-Asian political process to the Middle East. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides an intriguing illustration of such a possible spin-off. Japan’s response to BRI is mostly negative but less clear is the possible implications of the China–Japan confrontation over BRI for their interaction with the Middle East. Japan’s responses to the BRI and China’s perceptions thereof can expand the set of factors that shape the two Asian powers’ involvement in that region.



4. Japan–Iran Relations since the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal

By Mari Nukii

The US–Japan alliance has been one of the most important elements in configuring Japanese diplomacy since World War II. Accordingly, Japan’s relations with Iran always require striking a delicate balance among Japan’s security policy based on the US–Japan alliance, its energy demands, and its historically good bilateral relations with Iran. Japan welcomed the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations in 2015. Iran holds the world’s second largest natural gas reserves and ranks fourth in proven crude oil reserves. Japanese companies were eager to re-enter the Iranian market with its rich natural resources and over 80 million strong population. However, the inauguration of President Trump in January 2017 and his antagonistic stance toward Iran has slowed this move. The Japanese government has taken the initiative to improve relations with Iran after lifting its sanctions against that country, while trying to mitigate possible risks. This article aims to examine relations between Iran and Japan after the Iran nuclear deal from three aspects: economic relations, nuclear cooperation, and security.




5. From Alienation to Partnership: Israel-Japan Relation

By Meron Medzini

The relations between Japan and Israel, established in 1952, can be divided into two periods. The first between 1952 and 1989 was known as the “the forty wasted years.” They were marked by chill bordering on alienation. The second began in the late 1980s and saw the flourishing of ties. Today, Japan–Israel relations are marked by much warmth and friendship at many levels. What were the causes for the Japanese policy in the early years and what factors led to the drastic change that occurred since then?




6. The Diversity of Japan's Overseas Development Assistance to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: a Case Study of the role of Security

By Takuro Kikkawa

This article analyzes Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) policy in Jordan, focusing primarily on the areas concerning security. After the oil shock in 1973, security concerns in the Middle East affected Japan’s economic security policy. However, Japan’s long vulnerability in energy supply was not the sole determinant of its aid policies in the Middle East. Rather, a paradigm shift in the Japanese government’s ODA policy in the 1990s, the implementation of the human security approach, had a greater impact than economic security in subsequent Japanese ODA programs in Jordan. Japan has given more assistance to areas relevant to military security in its ODA in Jordan, particularly after increasing security concerns about the Middle East since the early twenty-first century. The two phenomena—Japan’s more aggressive commitment in the Middle East, including its deployment of Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) in the region and Jordan’s greater responsibility in regional security—occurred simultaneously because of a series of crises after 2003. The unusual nature of Jordanian society today, a small society that hosts refugees from many nations, means the new Japanese ODA approach in Jordan has more diverse recipients than ever, as the country is becoming a host for a community of refugees.




7. Geopolitics of Conflicts and Refugees in the Middle East and North Africa

By AKM Ahsan Ullah

Geopolitically intertwined and strategically significant refugee policy in the MENA region is frequently analyzed in light of well-documented ethnic, religious, class, and border conflicts. However, the policy is also inexorably linked to the broader geopolitics of the global refugee protection regime and discourse. This article analyzes the complex relationship between geopolitics, domestic political dynamics, and their attendant crises in the MENA region. The complex set of political shockwaves of the Arab Spring induced massive mobility of people which may compound incipient political tensions between and within MENA states.



8. Japan and the Middle East: Selected Bibliography

By Swati Arora

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9. Book Review: Asif Shuja (2018): India-Iran Relations: Under the Shadow of the Iranian Nuclear Challenges for India's Diplomacy

By Rachit Kumar Murarka