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Call for Papers: The United States between Japan and China
Date: 16 December 2008 

HKU Department of Japanese Studies

Sino-Japanese Relations Research Symposium 2009 (I)

Council Chamber, HKU 24-25 May 2008

Call for Papers: The United States between Japan and China

The Sino-Japanese relationship is arguably one of the most important sets of bilateral relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. With the tempestuous Koizumi era relegated to history, Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda have not only restored normalcy to Sino-Japanese relations, but have brought bilateral relations to greater heights over the course of the last two years. The prevailing narrative in both Tokyo and Beijing has resumed the positive and upbeat tone that has so characterized the official portrayal of Sino-Japanese relations since 1972. While this is an achievement not to be belittled, the state of the relationship between Japan and China is hardly satisfactory.  The fact of the matter is that over the last three decades, there has existed a certain disjuncture between diplomatic discourse and political reality, between the apparent will of the leadership and popular public opinion over the tone and direction of Sino-Japanese relations. One case in point is the recent Joint Statement reached by Japan and China. The spirit of the recent Fukuda-Hu communiqué stipulates that the fundamental basis for the future of Japan-China interactions would be based on the 'all round promotion of strategic and mutually beneficial relations', so that a new strategic and mutually beneficial framework for bilateral relations could be built.

While no doubt noble in intent and far-sighted in its aspirations, such a joint statement begets more questions: can Japan and China truly build a "strategic partnership" based on mutually beneficial interests, especially if Japan is tied to the US structurally in regional security arrangements? What is the role of the United States in the bilateral relationship between Japan and China? How does the US strategic presence in Japan and its commitment to Taiwan's security balance with its desire to engage China in her peaceful rise? In turn, how does this dictate the tone and direction of the US-Japan security alliance, which will no doubt affect Sino-Japanese relations. In particular, given that 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), one may wonder how different or similar were Japanese and US approaches towards Taiwan since 1978? What implications did the TRA have for Sino-Japanese relations over the past three decades? What does the TRA mean for the future development of the Sino-Japanese relations?

The HKU Department of Japanese Studies is proud to present an international symposium to explore the role the United States plays between Japan and China. The organisers invite submissions from social scientists working in the field of East Asian International Relations and Security, Chinese, Japanese and US foreign policies and other related disciplines to re-evaluate and re-assess the role of the United States between China and Japan during and after the Cold War period. While the main attention is focused on political-diplomatic and strategic aspects of Sino-Japanese relations, we also encourage scholars to consider other dimensions that have seen protracted difficulties between China and Japan, in particular if there exist any linkages that the US might have in relation with these themes: memories, history writing and nationalism; democratisation; war crimes, grievances and restitution; capital flows and globalisation; economic development and technonationalism etc.

The organizers are keen to invite established academics, young scholars and concerned officials working in the field of Sino-Japanese Relations for this two-day symposium. The 2008 Symposium ( was relatively successful, in that the research proceedings of the Symposium are in the process of being published by a UK-based publisher in English and a China-based publisher in Chinese. The organizers hope to build on this success in 2009 by getting more scholars from the wider community involved, and have the research outcome from the Symposium published as well, most likely in 2010. The book would be published in English in the first instance, and subsequently translated into Chinese and Japanese.

The organizers have to subject any applications/proposals to an internal peer review process before they can be accepted. Given that only a small number of proposals will be funded, scholars are encouraged to source for partial and/or alternate funding to attend this meeting.

To Apply
We intend that the proceedings of the Symposium be published. We will therefore require participants to send us the title of their paper, a 200 word abstract and a short bio by the 5th Jan 2009. Please send the documents to with the subject line (The US between China and Japan Symposium).

The organisers will require a draft "working" paper (not more than 7000 words) by the 10th April 2009 for inclusion into the Symposium pack. Participants will be given time to revise their paper after the Symposium before the proceedings could be submitted for the peer-reviewed volume. Please direct all academic enquiries to Dr Victor Teo (mailto:, and logistical enquiries to Mr Samuel Wong ( )

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