Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-x24gv Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T17:03:27.729Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 April 2020


Under what conditions would Japanese leaders visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and why? Previous studies have focused primarily on the domestic benefits and effects of such visits, claiming that leaders employ visits to follow their own conservative ideology and gain domestic political support. Given the harsh international criticism that tends to ensue, however, political leaders should also consider the cost and international effects of such visits. This study proposes three necessary conditions for such visits: a conservative ruling party, a government enjoying high popularity, and Japan's perception of a Chinese threat. With regard to the latter, a security threat from China has allowed Japan to use these visits as a credible signal of its resolve against China. Comparative analyses of Japanese cabinets after the mid-1980s support this argument.

Copyright © East Asia Institute 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Abe, Shinzo. 2006. Utsukushi Kuni e [Toward a beautiful country]. Tokyo: Bungei Shunju.Google Scholar
Abe, Shinzo. 2012. “Asia's Democratic Security Diamond.” Project Syndicate, Accessed March 10, 2018, subscription only).Google Scholar
Asahi Shimbun. 2013. “Abe Visit to Ishigaki, Okinawa to Encourage Japan Coastal Guards Who Police Senkakus.” July 17, 2013.Google Scholar
BBC. 2013. “Japan Boosts Military Forces to Counter China.” December 17, 2013. Accessed March 10, 2018).Google Scholar
Berger, Thomas U. 2012. War, Guilt, and World Politics After World War II. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brooks, Stephen G., Ikenberry, G. John, and Wohlforth, William C.. 2013. “Don't Come Home, America: The Case Against Retrenchment.” International Security 37 (3): 78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chanlett-Avery, Emma, Manyin, Mark E., Cooper, William H., and Rinehart, Ian E.. 2013. “Japan–US Relations: Issues for Congress.” Congressional Research Service Report. February 15. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
Cheung, Mong. 2010. “Political Survival and the Yasukuni Controversy in Sino-Japanese Relations.” The Pacific Review 23 (4): 527548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chijiwa, Yasuaki, Sasaki, Hazuki, and Taguchi, Chisa. 2008. “Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's Visits to Yasukuni Shrine: A Perspective from Japan's Relations with the United States.” International Public Policy Studies 12 (2): 145159.Google Scholar
Christiansen, Thomas J. 1999. “China, the US–Japan Alliance, and the Security Dilemma in East Asia.” International Security 23 (4): 5255.Google Scholar
Dul, Jan. 2016. “Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA): Logic and Methodology of ‘Necessary but Not Sufficient’ Causality.” Organizational Research Methods 19 (1): 1052.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fearon, James. 1997. “Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands versus Sinking Costs.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (1): 6890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friedman, George, and Lebard, Meredith. 1991. The Coming War with Japan. New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press.Google Scholar
Gartzke, Erik. 1998. “Kant We All Just get Along? Opportunity, Willingness, and the Origins of the Democratic Peace.” American Journal of Political Science 42 (1): 127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
George, Alexander L., and Smoke, Richard. 1974. Deterrence in American Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Goertz, Gary, and Starr, Harvey. 2002. Necessary Conditions: Theory, Methodology, and Applications. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
Green, Michael J. 2003. Japan's Reluctant Realism: Foreign Policy Challenges in an Era of Uncertain Power. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
Hattori, Ryuji. 2015. Gaikou Dokyumento: Rekishi Ninshiki [Diplomatic documents: historical awareness]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.Google Scholar
He, Yinan. 2009. The Search for Reconciliation: Sino-Japanese and German–Polish Relations since World War II. Ithaca: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hughes, Christopher W. 2016. “Japan's ‘Resentful Realism’ and Balancing China's Rise.” The Chinese Journal of International Politics 9 (2): 109150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hughes, Christopher W., and Krauss, Eliss S.. 2007. “Japan's New Security Agenda.” Survival 49 (2): 157176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ignatius, David. 2015. “David Ignatius's Full Interview with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.” Washington Post, March 26.Google Scholar
Ishida, Atsushi. 2014. “Anzen Hosho no Seiji teki Kiban” [Political foundations of security]. In Anzen Hosho towa Nanika [What is security?], edited by Endo, Seiji and Endo, Ken, 6790. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.Google Scholar
Japan Times. 2005. “Keidanren Made Covert Trip to China.” October 23, 2005.Google Scholar
Japan Times. 2013. “China Officially Labels Senkakus A ‘Core Interest’.” April 27, 2013.Google Scholar
Jervis, Robert. 1970. The Logic of Images in International Relations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Johnston, Alastair Iain. 2003. “Is China a Status Quo Power?” International Security 27 (4): 556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnston, Alastair Iain. 2013. “How New and Assertive is China's New Assertiveness?” International Security 37 (4): 748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keohane, Robert O. 1980. “The Theory of Hegemonic Stability and Changes in International Economic Regimes, 1967–1977.” In Changes in the International System, edited by Holsti, Ole R., Siverson, Randolph, and George, Alexander, 131162. Boulder: Westview.Google Scholar
Kokubun, Ryosei, Soeya, Yoshihide, Takahara, Akio, and Kawashima, Shin. 2014. Ni Chu Kankei Shi [History of Japan–China relations]. Tokyo: Yuhikaku.Google Scholar
Komurata, Yoshiyuki. 2006. “US Government Stated Its Japanese Domestic Affair,” Asahi Shimbun, August 16, 2006.Google Scholar
Levy, Jack S. 2008. “Power Transition Theory and the Rise of China.” In China's Ascent: Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics, edited by Ross, Robert S. and Feng, Zhu, 1133. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Liff, Adam P., and John Ikenberry, G.. 2014. “Racing Toward Tragedy? China's Rise, Military Competition in the Asia Pacific, and the Security Dilemma,” International Security 39 (2): 5291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lind, Jennifer M. 2008. Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Lind, Jennifer M. 2009. “Apologies in International Politics.” Security Studies 18 (3): 517556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lind, Jennifer M. 2016. “Japan's Security Evolution.” Cato Institute Policy Analysis 788: 19.Google Scholar
Mackie, J. L. 1965. “Causes and Conditions.” American Philosophical Quarterly 2 (4): 245264.Google Scholar
Maeda, Naoto, and Nantou, Shinya. 2006. “Opposing to the Worship Equal to Doing China's Bidding.” Asahi Shimbun, June 29, 2006.Google Scholar
Mearsheimer, John J. 2014. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
Midford, Paul. 2002. “The Logic of Reassurance and Japan's Grand Strategy.” Security Studies 11 (3): 3640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, S. A. 2014. “The Knives Are Out: Panetta Eviscerates Obama's ‘Red Line’ Blunder on Syria.” The Washington Times, October 7, 2014.Google Scholar
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2001. “‘Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi expounds China's solemn position on Yasukuni Shrine.”, May 18, 2001. Accessed March 10, 2018.Google Scholar
Ministry of National Defense. 2013. “Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the PRC.” Xinhua, November 23, 2013.Google Scholar
Morgan, Patrick M. 1983. Deterrence: A Conceptual Analysis. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
Nakasone, Yasuhiro. 2012. Nakasone Yasuhiro ga Kataru Sengo Nihon Gaikou [Japanese foreign policy since 1945: Yasuhiro Nakasone oral history]. Tokyo: Shinchosha.Google Scholar
Nishiyama, George. 2013. “Abe Visit to Controversial Japanese Shrine Draws Rare U.S. Criticism.” The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2019.Google Scholar
Organski, A.F.K. 1958. World Politics. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Putnam, Robert D. 1988. “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: the Logic of Two-Level Games.” International Organization 42 (3): 427460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quackenbusch, Stephen L. 2010. “General Deterrence and International Conflict: Testing Perfect Deterrence Theory.” International Interactions 36 (1): 6085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rose, Caroline. 2005. Sino-Japanese Relations: Facing the Past, Looking to the Future? New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Ross, Robert S. 2006. “Balance of Power Politics and the Rise of China: Accommodation and Balancing in East Asia.” Security Studies 15 (3): 355395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ryu, Yongwook. 2007. “‘The Yasukuni Controversy: Divergent Perspectives from the Japanese Political Elite.” Asian Survey 47 (5): 705726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Samuels, Richard J. 2007. Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Sasaki, Tomonori. 2010. “China Eyes the Japanese Military: China's Threat Perception of Japan since the 1980s.” The China Quarterly 203: 560573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schneider, Carsten Q., and Wagemann, Claudius. 2012. Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences. A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shibuichi, Daiki. 2005. “The Yasukuni Shrine Dispute and the Politics of Identity in Japan: Why All the Fuss?” Asian Survey 45 (2): 197215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singer, J. David. 1958. “Threat Perception and the Armament-Tension Dilemma.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 2 (1): 90105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Sheila A. 2015. Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Snyder, Glenn H. 1997. Alliance Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Takahara, Akio. 2008. “A Japanese Perspective on China's Rise and the East Asia Order.” In China's Ascent: Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics, edited by Ross, Robert S. and Feng, Zhu, 218237. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Takahara, Akio, and Hattori, Ryuji, eds. 2013. Ni-Chu Kanke Shi 1972–2012 I Seiji [History of Japan–China relations 1972–2012, Vol. I: Politics]. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
Tanaka, Akihiko. 1997. Anzen Hosho [Security]. Tokyo: Yomiuri Shimbun.Google Scholar
Tanaka, Akihiko. 2008. “The Yasukuni Issue and Japan's International Relations.” In East Asia's Haunted Present, edited by Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi and Togo, Kazuhiko, 119141. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.Google Scholar
Walt, Stephen M. 1987. The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Wang, Zhixins. 2008. “China, Japan and the Spell of Yasukuni.” In Yasukuni, the War Dead and the Struggle for Japan's Past, edited by Breen, John, 7190. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar