An unlikely trusting relationship? The United States and Japan since 1945

Vincent Keating (Durham) and Jan Ruzicka (Aberystwyth)




The U.S.-Japanese security relationship has provided fertile ground for the study of international politics.

Constructivists have used it to demonstrate the validity of their claims that security is ultimately dependent on cultural norms and identity. Realists, on the other hand, maintain that the relationship is best understood in terms of alliance politics where one state passes the costs of its own defence onto its ally. In contrast, our article explores whether the relationship could serve as an example of a trusting relationship in international politics. Based on our novel conceptualization of trusting relationships, we argue that the absence of some and the removal of other hedging strategies suggest the development of a trusting relationship between the two countries. The article contributes to the study of trust at the international level, a research agenda which has been gaining prominence in International Relations over the last decade or so.

Dr. Vincent Keating

Vincent C. Keating is a Lecturer in International Relations at Durham University and a Research Affiliate of the David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies.

Dr. Jan Ruzicka

Jan Ruzicka was appointed as Lecturer in Security Studies in August 2011 at the University of Aberystwyth. Previously, he worked in the Department as research assistant for the project ‘The Challenges to Trust-Building in Nuclear Worlds’. From 2006 to 2009 he was Marie Curie doctoral fellow in the Department, where he defended his thesis in 2010. The thesis combined a theoretical critique of securitization theory with historical case studies of the French and Russian revolutions. Prior to coming to Aberystwyth, he served as the chief aide to a ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Security of the Senate of the Czech Republic from 2004 to 2006. A graduate of Charles University in Prague, he received his MA degrees in politics at Brandeis University (Fulbright Scholarship) and in international relations at Central European University (Soros Foundation Scholarship).