Japan and the 'Flying Geese' Pattern of East Asian Integration

  • Published : 2005.10.31


In this paper uses Kaname Akamatsu's 'Flying Geese' model to analyse Japan's role in East Asian integration. Japan made the first attempt to lead Asian countries before the Second World War. At that time, the Japanese Government embarked on a brutally expansionist policy the result of which was creation of the first gaggle of 'flying geese' under the name of the 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.' During the 'flight' Japan was forcefully imposing its own ideals and values on the rest of the 'gaggle.' At the same time, the Japanese Government assumed hostile attitude toward Western countries. Japan's defeat in the Second World War signified the end of flight for the first 'flying geese' gaggle. After the war, Japan made another attempt at regional integration. This time it was done through establishing a production network in East Asia. Thus the second gaggle of 'flying geese' came into existence. During the flight of the 'second gaggle' of geese, Japan was fostering good ties with Western countries as well, especially the United States. However, some leaders of the 'second gaggle's' member-countries emboldened by their countries' economic success proclaimed that future belongs to Asia and put forward the 'Asian values' argument. The Asian economic crisis of 1997 interrupted the flight of the 'second gaggle' and effectively put an end to the 'Asian values' debate. It is interesting to note that some elements of the 'Asian values' argument resembled ultranationalist discourse that had been dominant in Japan before and during the Second World War. This paper compares historical patterns of East Asian regional integration and highlights future challenges for Japan's Asia policy.



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