Client State

Client State:Japan in the American Embrace

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McCormack traces Japan’s institutional, political and military transformation through a history of its subservience to Washington Consensus policies

Japan is the world’s No. 2 economy, greater in GDP than Britain and France together and almost double that of China. It is also the most durable, generous, and unquestioning ally of the US, attaching priority to its Washington ties over all else. In Client State, Gavan McCormack examines the current transformation of Japan, designed to meet the demands from Washington that Japan become the “Great Britain of the Far East.” Exploring postwar Japan’s relationship with America, he contends that US pressure has been steadily applied to bring Japan in line with neoliberal principles. The Bush administration’s insistence on Japan’s thorough subordination has reached new levels, and is an agenda heavily in the American, rather than the Japanese, national interest. It includes comprehensive institutional reform, a thorough revamp of the security and defense relationship with the US, and—alarmingly—vigorous pursuit of Japan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.


  • Gavan McCormack’s important new book on Japan as an American ‘client state’ sheds a penetrating light on the seismic changes to have affected the country in the early years of the twenty-first century, thereby exposing how the American embrace of Japan has become increasingly stifling. The wide-ranging scholarship and trenchant argument of Client State serves to confirm McCormack’s position as Australia’s leading critical thinker on Japan.

    Glenn D. Hook
  • Much like the 1930s and 1940s, Japan today is rapidly rearming, antagonizing other nations of East Asia, and proclaiming officially that it was not responsible for war crimes committed in occupied countries during World War II. It also denies its governmental involvement in forcing Chinese, Korean, Philippine, and Dutch women to work as front-line prostitutes for its soldiers. It is pursuing these policies with the backing of its imperial mentor, the United States. Gavan McCormack’s analysis of how this baneful situation has come about is masterful.

    Chalmers Johnson
  • For those willing to ponder the complexity of postwar Japan, there is no better place to start than Client State.

    Andrew L. OrosPacific Affairs