No Longer the 'Reactive State': Japan's Pro-Active Free Trade Posture Asie.Visions, No. 38, May 2011
In late 2010, the Kan government proclaimed a very ambitious trade agenda, leaving no doubt as to its commitment to free trade. The Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships aimed to promote "high-level economic partnerships with major trading powers" and to "open up the country", including collecting information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and consulting with the parties to it.
These developments signalled a new level of Japanese foreign economic policy activism and an important departure from Japan's typically "reactive state" posture.
The paper offers a multi-factorial explanation for the Kan government's adoption of a pro-active free trade agenda. It also provides an examination of the March triple disaster on the farm sector, given that agriculture remains a major impediment to free trade.