The Rise of China in the Eyes of the US and Japan: Divergence and Convergence in Threat Perceptions, with Chikako Ueki (Apr. 23, 2024)


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The United States and Japan identified China as its primary threat in their respective National Security Strategy in 2017 and 2022. It seems they are reacting to the same China threat. However, they have come to view China as a threat via quite different paths.

Perceptions of a China threat emerged at different times among the allies, and the nature of the perceived threat was different. The United States feared China’s rise as a global peer competitor more than did the weaker powers that are geographically closer to China? And why did the United States and Japan identify China as the main security threat in their national security strategies in the late-2010s? In other words: What factors shape threat perception?

The talk will trace U.S. and Japanese perceptions towards China in the last 30 years and explain why the China threat they see differs in content, intensity, and in the timing they began to see China as a threat. It will also explain what accounts for the seeming convergence of threat perceptions in recent years.


About the Speaker:

Dr. Chikako Kawakatsu Ueki is Professor of International Relations at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (GSAPS), Waseda University. She is currently A Visiting Scholar at the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her areas of expertise include International Relations and Security in East Asia, with a special focus on U.S.-Japan-China relations. Her publications include: “Is Japan Back? Measuring Nationalism and Military Assertiveness in Asia’s Other Great Power” (co-author, 2021); “Japan’s China Strategy: The End of Liberal Deterrence?” (2020); War Studies for Peace (2015); The Long Peace” in Northeast Asia: War Avoided (2012); and The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance: Regional Multilateralism (2011). Prior to joining GSAPS, Dr. Ueki was Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan Ministry of Defense; Visiting Scholar at Peking University; and Staff Writer for Asahi Shimbun. She served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Security and Defense Capabilities (2009). She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and M.A. in International Relations and B.A. in French Studies from Sophia University.