Expectations Deficit in eu foreign Relations

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Paper Presented at the European Foreign Policy Conference, LSE, 2-3 July 2004

UPanel Five: ‘The European Union and the Far East’

Expectations Deficit in EU Foreign Relations:

Problems and Prospects of EU-Japan Partnership

Michito TsuruokaTPPT

King’s College London


It is often argued that there is a ‘capability-expectations gap’ in European Union foreign relations, which normally means the gap between excessive expectations to the EU from both inside and outside the Union and an insufficient capability of the EU that cannot match the expectations.1 ‘Talked up’ capabilities and the resultant expectations to the EU that it is not capable of fulfilling are dangerous, and the gap is thought to be pervasive in a wide range of EU foreign relations. In EU-Japan relations however, a reverse gap that I call ‘expectations deficit’ in this paper can be observed from the EU’s perspective. It came to emerge because Japan’s expectations for the EU in the international arena especially in the field of foreign and security policy remained low despite the growing weight and influence of the EU as an international actor. I argue that the expectations deficit is equally alarming as the conventional capability-expectations gap to the development of EU’s foreign relations not least the desire of the EU to become a significant power in the world.

In the meantime, the relations between Japan and the European Union appear to be in good shape in recent years. Trade frictions that had long dominated the agenda of the relations almost disappeared at least as a politically charged issue. After the end of the Cold War, Japan and the EC first adopted the Hague Declaration in July 1991, which defined the basic principle of the relations, spelled out shared values between the two parties such as rule of law and democracy, and established the formal consultative framework between the two sides most notably the annual summit meeting between the Presidents of the Commission and the Council on the one hand and the Prime Minister of Japan on the other.2 Ten years after the Declaration, the two parties in December 2001 adopted a document called the Joint Action Plan for EU-Japan Cooperation at their annual summit meeting. It was a direct outcome of Foreign Minister Kono Yohei’s initiative commenced by his speech in Paris that called for a ‘millennium partnership between Japan and Europe’ and declared the first decade of the twentieth-first century to be a ‘decade of Euro-Japan cooperation’.3 The new Action Plan lays out more than hundred items for bilateral cooperation ranging from security and trade to cultural exchanges.4 The overall purpose of the Action Plan, according to Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, was to ‘make our cooperation tangible and concrete, raise its public visibility and thus make it more politically credible’.5 It is certainly still too early to judge whether the Action Plan was a success or not. Nonetheless, it did mark a new start for EU-Japan relations and the momentum for deepening the relations was reinvigorated. Prodi even hails that EU-Japan relationship ‘is blossoming as never before’.6

Beneath these new positive developments in EU-Japan relations since the early 1990s, however, the basic structure of the relationship since the early post-war period does not seem to have changed fundamentally. To put it quite frankly, in terms of current issues of politics, security, and economy, Japan’s attention to Europe remains disproportionately low, so does the public awareness of the EU and the partnership with it. The relations with Europe are hardly touched on in the context of general discussion on Japan’s foreign relations. And the relationship between the two is still by far the weakest in the triangle between the United States, Europe and Japan/Asia, not least in the field of foreign and security policy. There are many reasons why EU-Japan relations have not developed as some proponents of the relations on both sides expected. I argue that what this paper calls expectations deficit is the most fundamental problem that prevents the partnership from delivering the full potential. The problem should not be overlooked, because the expectations deficit is detrimental not only to the development of EU-Japan relations, but also to that of EU foreign relations as a whole.

The central aim of this paper is to conceptualise the expectations deficit and to anatomise the structure that generates the deficit in EU-Japan relations. This brief paper will proceed in two diagnostic main sections and a prescriptive conclusion. I will first revisit the concept of ‘capability-expectations gap (CEG)’ and explain the idea of expectations deficit in relation to the CEG. Second, I will analyse the structure that generates the expectations deficit in EU-Japan relations, explore its implications for cooperation between the two sides and the EU’s foreign policy as a whole. In lieu of conclusion, the paper will explore how to close the expectations deficit.

‘Capability-expectations gap (CEG) as coined by Christopher Hill more than a decade ago denotes a gap between what the EU is able to do in the international arena through its foreign policy instruments and what people and governments both inside and outside the Union expect and demand the EU to deliver in this regard. The gap opens up because while improving the capabilities of the EU is always difficult, the expectations and demands to the EU are very easy to increase, often to the extent that they become unmanageable. The gap thus is an imbalance between low capability and high expectations, which Hill argues is dangerous.7 The reasons why it is dangerous are, first, ‘it could lead to debates over false possibilities both within the EU and between the Union and external supplicants’ and second, ‘it would also be likely to produce a disproportionate degree of disillusion and resentment when hopes were inevitably dashed’.8 As the gap is indeed detrimental to the Union’s foreign policy, it should best be closed, which can only be achieved, in theory, either by increasing capabilities or decreasing expectations.9

As pointed above, expectations to the EU are composed of both internal and external elements. It is, however, still important to note that the concept of CEG can be seen as an attempt to take into account what third parties think of the EU in understanding its foreign policy: perceptions and expectations by the third parties matter.10 This should be self-evident given the fact that the EU cannot exist in a world of vacuum. But the problem of CEG when applied to EU-Japan relations is that the concept does not, at least explicitly, envisage the possibility that the gap could sometimes be reverse.11 The CEG always assumes that expectations outweigh capabilities. That is because, argues Hill, ‘structural forces exist which keep expectations up just as they limit the growth of capabilities’.12 Though it is generally the case, external expectations should not be taken for granted in some cases. I argue that in EU-Japan relations ‘expectations deficit’ (or reverse ‘capability-expectations gap’) has consistently existed and continues to exist today. In theory, the reverse gap can be a result of either excessive capabilities on the EU’s side that should be cut or insufficient expectations to the EU on Japan’s side that need to be raised. But the latter should certainly be the case and constitutes the starting point for discussion.

Does the expectations deficit matter, and if so, why? I argue that it is detrimental not only to the development of EU-Japan relations, but also to that of EU foreign policy in general. First, since external expectations and demands for EU action in the world are thought to be one of the most important stimuli for its foreign policy,13 their absence or insufficient existence would mean decreased impetus for the Union to act in the world and to develop its own foreign policy as a whole, which could result in a slow development in EU foreign policy. Indeed, from the outset, external relations of the EC/EU have in large part developed in response to international events and external demands and expectations: they have been reactive rather than spontaneous in other words. Relations with the ACP—African, Caribbean, and Pacific—countries are a case in point, which could not have developed that far without the persistent demands and expectations from ACP side.14

Second, if there are only an insufficient number of partners in the world who regard the EU to be worth counted as an important partner, its capability and the willingness to do something in the world (even if assuming that the EU has both) would have to be wasted. There may be something the Union can do by itself regardless there are partners with whom it can act together. But in many cases, the EU needs external partners to get things done in this globalised and interdependent world. Indeed, it is the EU itself that always emphasises the virtue of multilateralism where having partners is the prerequisite. No matter how the EU struggles hard to establish itself as an international actor, the result inevitably depends on whether third countries regard the EU as such. The cost of being underestimated should be taken seriously. Though I fully share the central concern of CEG that excessive and misplaced expectations are dangerous, I argue that reverse concerns should not be discounted too easily: expectations deficit is equally dangerous.15

In Japan’s case, Tokyo’s expectations for the EU and Europe in general seem to be much lower than what they deserve. Of course, there have been frequent fluctuations in the degree of expectations to the EU: in the period immediately after the Cold War when there was what was called ‘Europhoria’, Tokyo’s expectations to the EU might have increased to some extent for a while, but it was an aberration rather than the rule. The problem is structural in nature, rather than cyclical, meaning that the expectations deficit cannot be seen as a result of disillusionment after excessive expectations. As will be examined in the next section, Japan’s expectations to the EU have consistently remained low even in comparison with the capabilities of the EC/EU that are often regarded to be insufficient. This has serious consequences to the development of EU-Japan relations because Tokyo has often disregarded the EU as its partner in international relations. Developing EU-Japan relations should not be easy in this circumstance.16

One may distinguish expectations and interests. A situation where a third country has interests in cooperating with the EU but does not expect it to be of a great value, or vice versa might be conceivable. But as far as external expectations to the EU are concerned, they normally arise when the third country finds cooperation with the EU to be beneficial and has interests in Brussels’ particular actions in its favour such as development assistance. Expectations and interests are inextricably intertwined. Thus in the context of expectations deficit, I will also discuss what interests Japan has in its relations with the EU, which is no different from what Japan expects from cooperation with the EU.

Before going into details of the structure that generates expectations deficit in EU-Japan relations, it would be worthwhile noting that the existence of this problem is not a phenomenon unique to EU-Japan relations. The EU has had more or less similar problem in its relations with the United States. In the history of the relations between the United States and Europe, the latter has always been struggling to establish itself as a countable partner to the eyes of the US either as the EC/EU or as individual countries.17 Though the degree of success in this regard has varied over time, the expectations deficit in EU-US relations has certainly been a cause for concern for Brussels.18 Washington has long tended to rely on the framework of NATO where it can have the biggest influence and traditional bilateral relations with major countries of Western Europe, which does not seem to have disappeared even after the end of the Cold War.19 Though I will not go into any detail here, EU-Russia relations, though in a different context, suffer from a similar set of problems, which proved to be detrimental to the development of the relations.20

It might be tempting to attribute the existence of expectations deficit in EU-Japan relations solely to Tokyo’s obsession with its relations with the United States. To be sure, it is one of the main sources of the deficit. But what lies behind the expectations deficit in EU-Japan relations is more complicated than it appears to be. I will divide the sources of expectations deficit into four through two criteria. First, in terms of the origins of the deficit, it can be divided into what stems from the factors internal to Japan and what originates on EU side. Second, in terms of the object of low expectations, there are two kinds: one is low expectations to Europe in general, and the other is those to the EU as an international actor. These four categories are illustrated in Table 1 below, which I will explain in turn.

Table 1. Sources of the Expectations Deficit in EU-Japan Relations


Internal to Japan

Europe / the EU


Europe as a whole

Obsession with the US and Asia (Japan’s indifference to Europe)

Europe’s indifference (and even arrogance) to Japan / Different values and principles?

The EU as an international actor

Lack of understanding on EU policy-making /

Preference for bilateral relations with major EU countries

EU’s failure in its common foreign and security policy / Complexities of EU policy-making / Different interests?

(1) Japan’s Obsession with the US and Asia

First, not surprisingly, the lack of Japan’s expectations to Europe comes from Tokyo’s obsession with the relations with the United States and Asian neighbours. For a long time since the end of World War II, the mainstream élites both inside and outside the government in Japan have attached the first and foremost importance to the relations with the US. An alliance with Washington has always been and remains to be the only guarantee of the very survival and security of the country. The United States is the only ally that can ensure Japan’s physical security in the face of any instability in the Korean Peninsula, for example. In the economic aspect as well, the US has long been the largest and the most open market to Japanese export, on which Japan’s post-war economic reconstruction and development relied to a great extent. The result was an almost excessive focus on the US and a resultant negligence for Europe. The influence of ‘Americanisation’ has also been widespread. One Japanese scholar of French literature even pointed out that those who were fascinated by France in the early post-war years belonged to a ‘spiritual opposition’ often associated with anti-Americanism.21 For a country that turned almost exclusively to Europe when it sought modernisation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the change of orientations could not have been starker. The United States replaced Europe as the model of post-war reconstruction and development. At the same time, how to deal with its Asian neighbours has also been a top priority for Japan. Initially what Japan had to do was to re-establish normal relations after the war and settle the reparation issues. Since the 1960s and 70s economic relations with the countries in South East Asia and North East Asia have become increasingly important.22

At least in theory to be sure, a strong relationship with the United States and Asia should not necessarily preclude the development of close cooperation with Europe. But the mere fact that the priority given to Europe remained low has resulted in the under-development of relations between the two. Given the limited resources that Japan was able to allocate in its foreign relations, the need for close cooperation with Washington and the Asian neighbours had to crowd out the relations with other parts of the world including Europe. In this circumstance, expectations for Europe could not have increased regardless of the merits of Europe. Japan has simply been indifferent to Europe.

In recent years, however, there is a growing if still small awareness in and outside the government that Japan has ignored Europe for too long and wasted the huge potentials of cooperation with it, which led to the adoption of the Action Plan between Japan and the EU in December 2001.23 In a report published in November 2002, the Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s consultative body, the ‘Task Force on Foreign Relations’, also argues that ‘in a new world order, Japan needs to have a strong partner according to individual issues. In some issues, Europe can be a rational choice as such a partner’.24 But the overall order of priorities in Japan’s foreign relations is not likely to change in a short period of time. Indeed, in that report, the section on Europe comes close to the end, eighth out of eleven, though it does not explicitly say that each issue comes up in order of importance.

(2) Japan’s Lack of Understanding and Preference for Bilateral Relations

Second, on Japan’s side, lack of understanding on the EU and Tokyo’s tendency to deal with major countries of Western Europe rather than with Brussels have contributed to Japan’s low expectations for the EU as an international actor. European integration in many respects has changed the way foreign relations are conducted. In 1970, for example, the EC (Commission) took up much of the competences in trade under the framework of common commercial policy (CCP), which presented a huge challenge to third parties who now had to negotiate with a new interlocutor of Brussels rather than with more familiar London or Paris. Furthermore, the division of labour between Brussels and individual member states did not seem very clear particularly in the eyes of outsiders, which I will discuss later. In Japan at that time, there was simply not adequate knowledge even in the government about how the EC was working and how Japan should deal with it. The result was that Japan continued to prefer dealing with individual countries rather than with Brussels, which in turn frustrated Brussels and aroused suspicion that Japan was employing a strategy of ‘dividing’ Europe.25 Though Japan’s knowledge and understanding on European integration has certainly improved in later years, the problem has not disappeared completely. One of the biggest reasons for that is the press coverage in Japan. The majority of the Japanese press tends to be sceptical toward European integration in general, mainly because they rely heavily on the British press as for European news.26 Up until just before 1999, many Japanese had not expected that the single currency would be realised. Now, very few people in Japan are aware of the recent dynamism of defence cooperation in the EU, most notably the adoption of the EU’s first ever Security Strategy in December 2003 and the growing number of European forces deployed abroad.27

In spite of the growing experience of dealing with Brussels, Tokyo’s preference for dealing with individual countries bilaterally as well has not become a thing of the past. There are many reasons for this. But in overall terms, the perception of the EU as an international actor has not been established in Japan. The adoption of the Hague Declaration of July 1991 between Japan and the EC helped to raise the awareness of the EC/EU as an international actor in Japan. However, Japan was active in revitalising and consolidating bilateral relations with major countries of the EU in the rest of the 1990s after the adoption of the Declaration. Though the strengthening of the relations with major countries in Europe should not have been a bad thing for the overall relations between Japan and Europe, there was a fear that these rather traditional bilateral relations would ‘dilute’ EU-Japan relations.28 The above-mentioned report of November 2002 by the Prime Minister’s ‘Task Force on Foreign Relations’ argues, while acknowledging the importance of cooperating with the EU, that ‘it will be necessary for Japan to choose between dealing with the EU (Commission or Presidency) and negotiating with relevant member countries bilaterally at its own discretion to suit individual cases’.29 Even before the release of that report, just after the inauguration, Prime Minister Koizumi visited in June-July 2001 London and Paris without calling in Brussels, which indicated the government’s priority in Europe.30 Though Japan’s preference for bilateral relations with individual countries is in many respects a result of its inherent tendency, it should also be noted that it is also dependent on the state of the division of labour between Brussels and national capitals.
(3) Europe’s Indifference to Japan and Different Values?

‘Indifference’ is a word very often used to describe the nature of EU-Japan relations. To be sure, Japan’s indifference to Europe has long been obvious as pointed out earlier. But at the same time, indifference to Japan on the European side has also been consistent throughout the post-war period. The problem therefore is that of mutual indifference. To make matters worse, Europe’s indifference to underestimation of Japan has been felt by the Japanese who are involved in the relations between Japan and Europe. Murata Ryohei, a veteran diplomat who served Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the US and Germany, recalls that, while acknowledging the problem of Japan’s indifference to Europe, the biggest characteristic of Europe’s attitude to Japan has been its indifference to Japan and expresses his concern about ‘ignorance’ or even ‘arrogance’ toward Japan pervasive in Europe.31 It is most likely that Europe’s indifference to and underestimation of Japan influenced Japan’s own perception of Europe in a negative way. As far as the situation in Japan was concerned, there was certainly a vicious circle of what can be called mutually reinforcing indifference.32

In more concrete terms as well, it cannot be deniable that European countries’ dealing with Japan in the early post-war years did have a negative impact on Japan and its perception of Europe. In this regard, Europe has always been seen in comparison with the United States. The perceptions established after the Second World War through the 1960s in Japan was that the United States was much more open, fair, sincere, and helpful to Japan than West European countries were. In the field of trade and diplomacy, that perception was consolidated in the negotiations of Japan’s accession to GATT and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), during which West European countries were reluctant to accept Japan and tried hard to maintain discriminatory measures against Japan.33 Though such a European stance was not totally without legitimate grounds, it nevertheless left an impression to the Japanese that Europeans were different from themselves and the Americans and difficult to deal with.

This sort of stereotyped perception of Europe established by the 1960s proved to be persistent. A Japanese senior trade negotiator recalled that, even during the period of fierce trade frictions with the US in the 1980s, the Americans were much more fair and sincere to Japan in trade negotiations whereas the Europeans seemed to prefer going it alone by protecting their own market.34 Though Japan itself had not have a very good record in terms of free trade until the 1970s and 80s, Japan has almost consistently regarded Europe to be protectionist and Europe’s complaints about trade deficit to be a scapegoat for Europe’s own economic problems.35 In spite of the Hague Declaration’s assertion to the contrary, people in Japan (and probably the Europeans as well) have been wondering whether the two sides really share common values and principles not least in economy and trade. In this circumstance, it would not be difficult to understand why Japan’s expectations for Europe have not developed very much.

(4) Complexity, Failures, and Different Interests?

Last but not least, the EU’s failures in the CFSP and the sheer complexity of EU policy-making have often brought down Japan’s expectations for Europe and hence discouraged Japan from seeking partnership with the EU as an international actor. The Union remains, in many respects, a difficult actor in the world to deal with in the eyes of outsiders. The complexity of the EU’s policy process has often dissuaded Japan from seeking more cooperation with it.36 As pointed above to be sure, Japan’s lack of understanding on how the EU works is one of the sources of the problem. But EU side must also bear some responsibilities on this given the problem is more than just Japan’s and the same problem can be found in relations with other countries as well. The EU itself is aware of this problem, which is why the issue of how to make the workings of the EU less confusing to the outside world has often been discussed in successive institutional reforms, though the results have not been very impressive.

In addition, the EU’s failure to forge a common position on important international issues has often reduced the attractiveness of the EU as a partner in the international arena. The most recent case was its deep division on Iraq. The Japanese government had not initially ruled out consultations with Brussels on Iraq, but found it just impossible to carry out a meaningful dialogue with the EU institutions—Presidency of the Council, CFSP High Representative, and the European Commission—given the division among major EU countries. That was why, when Prime Minister Koizumi toured European countries immediately after the War in Iraq in April-May 2003, he chose to visit London, Madrid, Paris, and Berlin before going to Athens for the EU-Japan annual summit. Substantial discussions on the situations in Iraq and other urgent matters were conducted in national capitals and the EU-Japan summit was hardly a climax of the visit. That was in large part a result of the EU’s division rather than Japan’s tactics or inherent bilateralism.

It should to be added here that frustrations and uneasiness among Japanese and other Asian policymakers about Europe’s (the EU’s) behaviours in Asia may also affect their perceptions of Europe/the EU. How to deal with North Korea, China, and Myanmar are cases in point.37 Especially from the viewpoint of Tokyo, which has a set of serious problems with North Korea from the issue of abduction of Japanese citizens to that of nuclear development, the EU’s more relaxed approach to Pyongyang has often been a cause for concern. The issue of lifting arms embargo to China, which has been under discussion in the EU since December 2002, is also perplexing to Japan and other countries directly involved in the region including the United States. What is most striking and indeed worrying in the debates on this issue in the EU is that there have been few (at least public) discussions on the strategic implications of the EU’s decision. These cases cannot help suggesting to some Japanese that the interests of the EU and those of Japan may not be very compatible in Asia.

Conclusions: Overcoming the Expectations Deficit

As has been discussed throughout, the expectations deficit in EU-Japan relations is a serious phenomenon that needs to be recognised. The deficit is rooted deeply both in Japan and the European Union. In the light of the discussions on the sources of the expectation deficit, the list of what to do to eliminate the deficit seems self-evident, if not easy to carry out in reality.

On Japan’s part, overcoming the obsession with the United States and Asia and figuring out how to manage the balance between EU-Japan contact and bilateral relations with individual European countries are indispensable. This is a task primarily for the government to tackle, but foreign policy experts outside the government and the general public alike have to think through about it. As for the obsession with the US and Asia, selling the merits of cooperating with Europe to Japan’s mainstream élites and the general public will be of primary importance. However, it is not easy, and past attempts in this regard have not achieved a lot. I argue that it is important to present the virtues of EU-Japan cooperation in the overall context of Japan’s foreign relations and in particular in that of US-Japan relations, which was absent in the past arguments for EU-Japan relations. What is important is not to argue for cooperation with the EU at the expense of the relations with the US and Asia and to try not to be seen as such. The most concrete way forward is to identify the policy areas where the EU holds comparative advantage as a partner for Japan. Issues on how to deal with the United States and Russia and some regional issues including those of Afghanistan and the Balkans would be such area where Japan can achieve more through cooperation with the EU than with any other partner.38 Once the merits of cooperation with the EU have become clear to many, it can be expected that the obsessions with the US and Asia would change over time. But this requires the Japanese to deepen their understanding about the EU and its workings. In this regard, that people-to-people exchange was included as one of the four pillars of the EU-Japan Action Plan of December 2001 should be a positive development.39

As for the balance between the relations with Brussels and those with individual countries, there does not seem to be a single solution. But what is needed is, first, to properly recognise the EU as an international actor and second, not to allow suspicions to arise in Brussels about Tokyo’s dealing with individual member states. Japan has to take into account the delicateness of the division of labour between EU institutions and individual member states. As the report of the Prime Minister’s task force recommends, it is necessary to make use of both EU-Japan relations and traditional bilateral relations to suit Japan’s interest in each issue area. But Japan will have to be careful not to be seen that it is employing ‘divide and rule’ tactics.

What can the EU do in closing the expectations deficit in its relations with Japan? This is at the same time a question of what kind of EU Japan wants to have as a partner. A strong, coherent, transparent, simplified and easy-to-understand Europe that has cooperative relations with the United States is undoubtedly in Japan’s interest. On the contrary, an incoherent, divided, complex, and anti-American Europe will not be a good partner not only for Japan, but also for other countries as well. In this regard, a set of reforms to be made by the new constitutional treaty is a cause for optimism. At the same time, the EU needs to pay more regular attention to how third countries perceive the EU, whether it is attractive as a partner for them, and how it can improve its attractiveness to the countries where there does not exist high expectations for the EU. Though excessive expectations from abroad should be avoided, the problems of allowing expectations deficit to persist would have to be fully recognised.

Closing the expectation deficit is thus no easy task. But only the understanding of the fundamental problem that lies in EU-Japan relations can provide a useful ground for the future of stronger and more beneficial relationship between the two partners.

TPPT This is a draft paper. Please DO NOT cite without my permission. But any comments and suggestions are more than welcome. Contact Michito Tsuruoka at michitot@attglobal.net.

1 Christopher Hill, ‘The Capability-Expectations Gap, or Conceptualizing Europe’s International Role’, Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3 (September 1993). For the same author’s reassessment of his argument, see ‘Closing the Capabilities-Expectations Gap?’ in John Peterson and Helene Sjursen (eds.), A Common Foreign Policy for Europe? (London: Routledge, 1998).

2 On the Declaration, see, for example, Julie Gilson, Japan and the European Union: A Partnership for the Twentieth-First Century? (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000), ch. 5; Atsuko Abe, Japan and the European Union: Domestic Politics and Transnational Relations (London: Athlone Press, 1999), ch. 5; Tanaka Toshiro, ‘1990-Nendai ni okeru Nihon-EU Kankei no Hatten: Kitai to Kenen’ [The Development of Japan-EU Relations in the 1990s: Expectations and Apprehensions], Hogaku Kenkyu [Journal of Law] Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2000); Hisashi Owada, ‘The Japan-EU Declaration and Its Significance Toward the Future’, Studia Diplomatica, Vol. 54, No. 1-2 (2001). Owada was Deputy Foreign Minister at that time and actively involved in the negotiations of the Declaration. Indeed, the whole process was called the ‘Owada initiative’.

3 Yohei Kono, ‘Seeking a Millennium Partnership: New Dimensions in Japan-Europe Cooperation’, a speech at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), 13 January 2000.

4 On the Action Plan, see, for example, Shin-yo Takahiro, ‘Nihon-wa Naze EU to Teokumu-noka’ [Why Japan Cooperates with the EU], Gaiko Forum [Forum on Diplomacy] (July 2002); Tsuruoka Michito, ‘Nichiou-Kankei eno Atarashii Shikaku: Senryakuteki Nichiou-Kyouryoku ni Mukete’ [New Perspectives on EU-Japan Relations: Towards a Strategic Cooperation], Kaigai Jijou [Journal of World Affairs], Vol. 50, No. 7-8 (July/August 2002).

5 Romano Prodi, ‘The EU and Japan: Working Together’, a speech at the EU-Japan Business Round Table—Third Meeting, Brussels, 9 July 2001.

6 Romano Prodi, ‘Japan and Europe: Global Responsibilities in a Changing World’, a speech at the National Diet of Japan, Tokyo, 26 April 2002.

7 Hill, ‘The Capability-Expectations Gap’, p. 315.

8 Hill, ‘Closing the Capabilities-Expectations Gap?’ p. 23.

9 Hill, ‘The Capability-Expectations Gap’, p. 321.

10 On this point, see also Charlotte Bretherton and John Volger, The European Union as a Global Actor (London: Routledge, 1999), esp. p. 43.

11 Hill acknowledges that ‘some outsiders have always been aware of the limitations of European foreign policy’. Hill ‘Closing the Capabilities-Expectations Gap?’ p. 30.

12 Ibid., p. 29.

13 See Karen Smith, European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), pp. 6-7; Roy Ginsberg, The European Union in International Politics: Baptism by Fire (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001), p. 10.

14 See, for example, Martin Holland, The European Union and the Third World (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), esp. ch. 1.

15 The argument here is in a sense consistent with Joseph Nye’s argument on the importance of attractiveness (soft power) in world politics. See his Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: PublicAffairs, 2004).

16 On the other hand, it is true that the EU’s expectations to Japan have been equally low. But in this paper I will focus on the expectations deficit from the EU’s point of view (low expectations to the EU from Japan) because it is the aspect that has rarely been discussed and is remarkable in the light of the overall existence of CEG (‘expectations surplus’) in EU foreign relations. At the same time, in conceptual terms, there can be conceived two kinds of expectations in EU-Japan relations. One is external expectations from Japan, and the other is internal expectations for the EU’s relations with Japan. But since the latter cannot be distinguished from the EU’s expectations for Japan, I will not discuss this aspect.

17 See, for example, Geir Lundestad, “Empire” by Integration: The United States and European Integration, 1945-1997 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); William Cromwell, The United States and the European Pillar: The Strained Alliance (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992); Kevin Featherstone and Roy Ginsberg, The United States and the European Union in the 1990s: Partners in Transition (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995).

18 Recent examples of America’s lack of expectations to the EU include Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003); Walter Russell Mead, ‘Goodbye to Berlin? Germany Looks Askance at Red State America’, National Interest, No. 75 (Spring 2004).

19 See Fraser Cameron, US Foreign Policy after the Cold War: Global Hegemon or Reluctant Sheriff? (London: Routledge, 2002), esp. pp. 158-59.

20 See, for example, Tuomas Forsberg, ‘The EU-Russia Security Partnership: Why the Opportunity Was Missed’, European Foreign Affairs Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer 2004).

21 Nishinaga Yoshinari, Henbou suru Furansu: Kojin, Shakai, Kokka [A Changing France: Individual, Society, and the State] (Tokyo: NHK Books, 1998), p. 17.

22 On the overall development of Japan’s post-war foreign relations, Iokibe Makoto (ed.), Sengo Nihon-Gaikoushi [Post-war Japanese Diplomatic History] (Tokyo: Yuuhikaku, 1999) is arguably the newest and most authoritative textbook in Japan. It is telling that though the book is supposed to deal with Japan’s foreign relations as a whole, it is in large part a book on US-Japan relations.

23 See Tsuruoka, ‘Nichiou-Kankei eno Atarashii Shikaku’.

24 Taigai Kankei Task Force, 21-Seiki Nihon-Gaikou no Kihon-Senryaku: Aratana Jidai, Aratana Bijon, Aratana Gaikou [Basic Strategies for Japan’s Foreign Policy in the 21st Century: New Era, New Vision, New Diplomacy] (Tokyo, 28 November 2002), p. 20.

25 Hosoya Chihiro, Nihon-Gaikou no Kiseki [The Track of Japanese Diplomacy] (Tokyo: NHK Books, 1993), pp. 201-202.

26 This is because English is the most accessible language for the majority of Japanese. And London sees the largest concentration of the Japanese press in Europe.

27 The Europeans themselves have difficulty in noticing these new developments. See Bastian Giegerich and William Wallace, ‘Not Such a Soft Power: The External Deployment of European Forces’, Survival, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer 2004).

28 Tanaka, ‘1990-Nendai ni okeru Nihon-EU Kankei no Hatten’, pp. 16-17. Simon Nuttall points out that, around the adoption of the Hague Declaration, there was an opposite fear in Europe that ‘a strengthening of Japan’s ties with the EC might lead to a corresponding weakening of links with the Member States’. Though it does not seem to be a very big factor, it should be noted that Japan’s preference for dealing with individual countries has supporters on the European side as well. Nuttall, ‘Conclusions’, Studia Diplomatica, Vol. 54, No. 1-2 (2001), p. 217.

29 Taigai Kankei Task Force, 21-Seiki Nihon-Gaikou no Kihon-Senryaku, p. 20.

30 Unlike bilateral summit meetings between Japan and major European countries such as Britain and France, EU-Japan annual summit has often been difficult to be arranged, sometimes delayed or even skipped. On this see Tanaka Toshiro, EU no Seiji [The Politics of the EU] (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1998), pp. 230-231.

31 Murata Ryohei, Kaiko suru Nihon-Gaikou, 1952-2002 [Japan’s Diplomacy in Retrospect, 1952-2002] (Tokyo: Toshi-Shuppan, 2004), pp. 74-78. See also Yutaka Kawashima, Japanese Foreign Policy at Crossroads: Challenges and Options for the Twenty-First Century (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2003), pp. 128 and 131. Kawashima is also a former Vice Foreign Minister.

32 Some may argue that the reason why the Japanese are particularly attentive to Europe’s perception of Japan has a lot to do with the country’s inherent inferiority complex toward Europe not least in psychological and cultural terms. I will not go into this any deeper. But I more or less share this argument.

33 On Japan’s accession to GATT and the OECD, see Akaneya Tatsuo, Nihon no GATT Kanyuu-Mondai [The Issue of Japan’s Accession to GATT] (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1992); Murata Ryohei, OECD—Keizai Kaihatsu Kyouryoku Kikou: Sekai-Saidai no Shinku-Tanku [The OECD: The World’s Largest Think Tank] (Tokyo: Chuukou Shinsho, 2000), pp. 14-19.

34 Yabunaka Mitoji, Taibei-Keizai-Koushou: Masatsu no Jitsuzou [In Search of New Japan-US Economic Relations: A View from the Negotiating Table] (Tokyo: Simul Press, 1991), p. 203. Yabunaka, who is now Deputy Foreign Minister, was Head of Second North America Division (Hokubei-Dainika) in charge of economic relations with the US and Canada.

35 On the latter point, see Yoshimori Masaru, ‘Psychological Aspects of Euro-Japanese Trade Frictions: A Japanese Viewpoint’, in Gordon Daniels and Reinhard Drifte (eds.), Europe and Japan: Changing Relationships Since 1945 (Woodchurch: Paul Norbury Publications, 1986).

36 See Gilson, Japan and the European Union, p. 61.

37 Kawashima, Japanese Foreign Policy at the Crossroads, p. 129 expresses, though in a restrained way, Japan’s mixed perceptions and concerns on some European behaviours in Asia.

38 For further discussions on this, see Tsuruoka, ‘Nichiou-Kankei eno Atarashii Shikaku’, pp. 99-108.

39 In this context, for the purpose of raising awareness and increasing knowledge about the EU in Japan, the first Commission-funded EU Institute in Japan was launched in April 2004 in Tokyo.

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