Japan: The Toothless Tiger

Japan: The Toothless Tiger

East Asia: the world's most dangerous flash point brought to life by a true insider.

Once a political and economic powerhouse, Japan now finds herself severely weakened and in a very troubling situation with a belligerent and expansionist China on one side and a still–influential but distant and waning America on the other. For years Japan has adhered to its commitment to a strictly defensive military, while China, once the "sick man of Asia" rapidly expands its military—probing and pushing its neighbors to their limits. As the pendulum of geopolitical power inexorably swings back to China, Japan faces several dilemmas. What choices it makes will prove vital not only for its survival, but for the entire Pacific region.

Declan Hayes draws on his experiences teaching in Japan for over a decade at Tokyo's Sophia University to give an insider's perspective on this topic, placing the Pacific situation in a political context. Hemmed in by mounting tensions with China over the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands and facing nuclear threats from North Korea, what should Japan do? Should she rearm? Should she get the bomb? What are the consequences of rearming, or not rearming? Professor Hayes outlines a way forward by presenting how and why Japan must develop a more sophisticated approach to China, Russia and the two Koreas to address growing threats to her security and national interests.

Not merely an analysis of Japan and China, this book covers the entire region and all of its players. Topics include:
  • The prospects for War.
  • The Dagger to the Heart: Korea.
  • Taiwan: China's Rebel Province.
  • China versus Japan.
  • Japan the Toothless Tiger.
  • Japan's Military Machine.
  • Japan's Home Front.
  • Into the Future.
In this second edition, Professor Hayes includes a preface with updates about recent developments in Asia. As the permanent interests of China and Japan, East Asia's main protagonists, do not and cannot change, Japan: The Toothless Tiger is even more relevant now than when it was first published.

An Interview with author Declan Hayes:

What is new or noteworthy in the second edition of Japan The Toothless Tiger?
The years between its first and second edition have shown the book's theses to be correct. Japan and China are now squaring up to each other in the South China Sea, North Korea pushes the peninsula, the most militarized area on the planet, closer to the brink, Chinese military expenditure far outstrips that of China, the battle for scarce resources intensifies and the United States finds itself totally and utterly over-extended and lacking the logistical, diplomatic and financial depth to halt China's advance.

Has your original opinion about Japan and its neighbors proved valid?
My opinion gets its validity by virtue of the fact I have been proved to be correct not only by recent history but by the facts laid out in my book.

How does your approach to analyzing Japan differ from that of other Japanologists?
They refuse, as Americans say, to smell the coffee. They are so engrossed in admiring Japanese culture that they are blind to the economic objectives and constraints that underwrote that culture. It is those objectives and constraints that form the bedrock of my analysis.

So yours is a theoretical, academic exercise?
And a practical exercise as well. I spent ten years in Japan and I have traveled extensively throughout East and South-East Asia and have returned to the region on many occasions since to address for on this and related topics. Because I spent much of that time speaking with practitioners in the field, the book comes from an informed angle.

Why else is Japan The Toothless Tiger Relevant to readers who are interested in this subject?
Because it is uses simple, concise English even though it addresses complex issues, it gives the reader a solid foundation from which to approach the tangled web of Japanese and Chinese hard and soft power in East Asia and beyond and a valuable sieve to filter through the news bulletins emanating from the South China Sea and East and South East Asia's other flash points.
  • Tuttle Publishing | 
  • 192 pages | 
  • ISBN 9784805313046 | 
  • February 2014

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