Domestic hurdles for system-driven behavior: neoclassical realism and missile defense policies in Japan and South Korea

Hyon Joo Yoo
Content Type
Journal Article
International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
Issue Number
Publication Date
May 2012
Japan Association of International Relations
Since the 1990s, Japan and the Republic of Korea have chosen dissimilar policy options with respect to the US-led missile defense (MD) systems in East Asia. What explains the two countries' dissimilar MD strategies? Inspired by neoclassical realism, this study introduces a framework of domestic hurdles that combines Randall Schweller's cohesion model and Jeffry Taliaferro's resource extraction model. It sheds light on the degree of elite cohesion and social and economic impediments as key causal determinants that impede balancing against external threats. Although the influence of systemic variables that suppose optimal policy options, such as balancing, domestic hurdles impede or delay such options. This study will provide useful contributions to international relations by offering comparative and theoretical analyses on different paths that Tokyo and Seoul have chosen for their MD policies.
International Relations
Political Geography
Japan, Middle East, South Korea