Berger on Abe’s Balancing Act in WSJ

aberesizedThomas Berger, associate professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces a difficult challenge as he attempts to negotiate with the Islamic State for the release of two Japanese hostages.

The remarks were made in a Jan. 22 article in the Wall Street Journal summarizing the hostage crisis, which could see the two men being held for a $200 million ransom, journalist Kenji Goto and entrepreneur Haruna Yukawa, executed within days.

Said Berger in the article:

“The Japanese government is well aware that giving in to hostage takers creates perverse incentives,” said Thomas Berger, associate professor of international relations at Boston University, explaining that Japan is sensitive to potential criticism from its allies.

“At the same time, if Mr. Abe is perceived as having made a misstep his enemies both inside and outside his party will jump on him, as will the entire Japanese media establishment.”

You can read the entire article here.

Below is a Wall Street Journal video explaining the hostage crisis, which was included with the article in which Berger was quoted.

Berger joined the Department of International Relations in 2001. Previously, he taught for seven years at the Johns Hopkins Department of Political Science in Baltimore. He is the author of War, Guilt and World Politics After World War II,  Cultures of Antimilitarism: National Security in Germany and Japan and is co-editor of Japan in International Politics: Beyond the Reactive State. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous edited volumes and journals, including International SecurityReview of International StudiesGerman Politics and World Affairs Quarterly.