Both the US and China are pressing Japan to tilt its foreign policy in their direction. Japan's response depends on views of China, which turned negative as assumptions proved incorrect. Early expectations were challenged in 1990–94, despite hopes of becoming a bridge between the US and China, and were dashed from 1995. The struggle among four schools of thought intensified. The full engagement group lost the most ground. The predominantly engagement, potential threat group was attacked as the mainstream, but it survived as the best option for global political leverage. The predominantly containment, possible engagement group gained as China allowed rising nationalism to target Japan. The full containment group also gained, boosted by Japanese nationalism anxious to rationalize the war era. More than reacting to Chinese or US actions, Japanese views are driven by instability in national identity. The US should be wary of encouraging containment of China because of its impact on rising Japanese nationalism
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DOI 10.1017/S1468109901000159
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