Japan’s engagement of China has been defined in the Introduction as a policy which consists of providing China with economic and political incentives to integrate into the regional/international political and economic system, hedged by military balancing through its own military force and the military alliance with the US. This chapter investigates engagement from a Realist, Liberal and Constructivist perspective. I conclude that the Realist component of engagement – power balancing and hedging – has gained greater prominence, which is most clearly expressed by the strengthening of the Japan-US military alliance in 1995-6. After a similar investigation in 1996, two American scholars, Benjamin Self (then at the Woodrow Wilson Center) and Michael Green (then at the Institute for Defense Analysis) called Japan’s China policy ‘a change from commercial liberalism to reluctant realism’.3 I would like to argue that there has always been Realism but that it has only become less reluctant. In addition, we will see that the Japanese government is trying to develop further the other elements of the Liberal approach in order to pursue engagement more efficiently, but also to counterbalance the negative dynamics of engagement. To this belongs Japan’s promotion of security dialogues at various bilateral and multilateral levels, which, from a Constructivist perspective, is the utilization of various

its future behaviour.