The Politics of Japan’s WTO Strategies

Since its founding in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has become a central feature of Japan’s larger trade diplomacy. Tokyo has taken significant steps towards legalizing its trade disputes within the WTO, and, in marked contrast to its non-confrontational and non-legalistic trade diplomacy over much of the postwar period, its new trade policy no longer merely reacts to external pressures. The incremental but concrete steps taken by Tokyo to institutionalize a legalistic trade diplomacy, most visibly after 1995, speak volumes about its directed efforts to constrain more powerful partners such as the United States.

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