ISBN: 9788776940171

Burma and Japan Since 1940: From ‘Co-Prosperity’ to ‘Quiet Dialogue’


Donald M. Seekins

2007,  191pp,  14x21.5cm

Modern Burma (Myanmar) is very much a creation of World War II (when the British colony was occupied by the Japanese) and its immediate aftermath. These years saw the rise of Aung San and his assassination, as well as the establishment of military forces by the Japanese (subsequently evolving into today's ruling junta) and a sharp escalation of inter-ethnic antagonism and violence.

Today the military regime continues to survive despite strong opposition at home and abroad. Its resilience is often explained in human rights terms or by reference to close military engagement with drug-dealing warlords. What is less recognized, however, is that not everywhere is Burma an international pariah state. By its inclusion within their fold, the ASEAN states have worked hard to 'normalise' Burma, and China has provided strong backing for the military regime. The Japanese government, which gave massive amounts of development aid to Burma before 1988, has pursued a policy of 'quiet dialogue' as a non-confrontational way of promoting economic and political reform.

Tracing Burma-Japan relations since 1940, this volume analyses the ambiguities of Japan's policy of 'quiet dialogue' in an international climate of economic competition and big power rivalry. The author provides not only an analysis of post-war Japanese diplomacy and aid programmes but also new material and insights on the ongoing story of Burma itself.

Donald M. Seekins is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Meio University in Okinawa, Japan. Among his many publications on Burma are Disorder in Order: the Army-State in Burma since 1962 and Historical Dictionary of Burma.