THE PAPER | The Conceptual Theory of "Bargaining Model", Context : Japan & China
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THE PAPER | The Conceptual Theory of "Bargaining Model", Context : Japan & China

By Syafril Hidayat
 Padjadjaran University, Indonesia 

THE PAPER |  The Conceptual Theory of "Bargaining Model", Context : Japan & China

Bargaining model can be said as a new model in the analysis of politics and war. Although politics and war are two different things, but Carl von by Clausewitz had expressed that “war is politics by other means”. The bargaining model is an analytical model that is still being debated and still requires interdisciplinary enrichment. This model also still needs to be tested primarily related to the ability estimates, the completion estimates, and the exchange of interests between the two rival groups (Reiter, 2003).

The bargaining model is traditionally linked closely to the economic behavior in trade. The bargaining process is carried out by at least two actors in order to reach agreement on a treaty (Kennan & Wilson, 1993). The bargaining model itself in politics and war is a new alternative in the analysis. The bargaining model focuses on the analysis of the causes, prosecution, termination and the consequences in a war as a process of theoretical consistency (Reiter, 2003).

All factors are debated scientifically, as an integral part altogether or separately. Some researchers believe there are possibly two, or one, factors in a single case. Schelling (1960) focused on the causes, while Kecskemeti (1958), Ikle (1991), and Pillar (1983) focused on the termination. Blainey (1973) studied on the causes and consequences (Reiter, 2003). Those point of views explain conflicts in Europe and Western colonization of Africa and Asia.

Thomas Schelling (1960) stated that conflict situations are essentially bargaining situations. So this model is increasingly constructed and applied in the dynamics of government and legislators in some countries (Reiter, 2003). This model still requires ongoing enrichment from the disciplines of war, International Relations, psychology, public policy, etc. The conceptual theory of bargaining model can be applied in examining Japanese foreign policy reconstruction under Shinzo Abe’s administration.

In the bargaining model, the causes of war rest on three conditions, explicitly: 

1) the absence of an agreement between the warring parties, 

2) the lack of agreement to avoid battle in the future, and 

3) inability of bargaining to prevent war if the disputed items remain unresolved (Fearon, 1995, 1998).

To look at Abe’s conservative policy, it is more appropriate to use the Realist perspective in the study of International Relations, in which a state perceives other states as threats. Thus, states try to achieve balance of power in the international system to survive in the midst of the magnitude of the pressure / interest of other states.

The Absence of an Agreement between Japan and China

The cause of Japan’s renaissance was the absence of an agreement between China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands after World War II. China had never wanted this issue to be resolved through international institutions. Even though Japan had bought the region, the aerial territorial boundaries claimed by Japan and China are overlapping.

Chinese ADIZ - East China Sea

On another topic, China has continuously been demanding for prosecution of Japanese war crimes. But Japan considered that the wartime Japanese soldiers and officers had been prosecuted for their war crimes. Implicitly, Japanese protest against China’s and other countries’ psychological distress was symbolized by Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.

Prosecutions, in bargaining model, are made since war or conflict justified by the forces involved. When the forces try to reach one or more tasks such as the destruction of the opponents’ will, destruction of civilian property and others, it is justification of war. In the case of between Japan and China, occupation of Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands unilaterally by China or Japan can be seen as justification of war and bargaining model is applied.

Thus the military had been used as part of the bargaining process to achieve the goals. Even though open conflict between Japan and China has never happened yet, the Abe’s administration concerns regarding China had raised the steps taken by Japan leading to a new balance of power. Abe’s concerns were well-founded as a result of the fact that China had been arresting fishermen in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and installing its flag on the Paracel and Spratly Islands.

In the bargaining model, termination is achieved when:

1) the troops reached a total occupation or destruction of the enemy that cannot survive as a total of victory achievement, and

2) forces can reduce uncertainty about the abilities or the destruction of the opponent. Those two factors have materialized in the form of China’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the Senkaku/Diaoyu.

Japan assumed that China would expand its territory. Abe finally seek to reposition over military and defence policy by trying to gradually amend the Japanese Constitution’s Article 9 relating to the role of the Japan Self-Defence Forces by calling for a revision of Article 96 specifying the process for making amendments. It can lead to a new perspective on the pacific constitution that has prevailed so far. Thus the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands seem like hot-spot for both Japan and China and remain having overlapping claim over it.

In the bargaining model, consequences focus more on post-war stability required. The longer a war lasts, the longer the peace created will last (Smith & Stam, 2002). Yet this stage has not happened until now. Retrospective war wounds between the two countries had led to no absolute agreement over the victims of violence due to war between Chinese and Japanese. After war, Japan has also been claiming to be a victim of war crimes. 

Japan's domestic political developments has resulted in a changing conservative orientations and estimates of other state actors, especially those in the East China Sea and in general in the South China Sea region and Asia-Pacific. 

Long historical background of Japanese fascism in Asia-Pacific region will lead to the effort of balance of power. States will naturally pursue power by combining, separating, or non-aligning with the existing great powers. It will be possible to form alliances or group or another pact. Abe still has strong desire to restore Japan by amending its Self-Defence Forces roles. 

Japan’s policy in security issues will remain a major focus for countries in the Asia-Pacific, especially Southeast Asia. With the diversity of political views of each state actor in Southeast Asia, there will be reconfiguration into groups of liberal democratic, socialist-communist, and nonaligned states. Whether this situation will lead back to a Cold War-like situation or ‘Little Cold War’ in Asia-Pacific region is still a wait and see. We still have to wait for better further developments. 

Cite this Article:

Hidayat, Syafril: Japan's Renaissance and Its Effect to ASEAN. In: Journal of ASEAN Studies 2 (2014), 1, pp. 42-48. URN: 

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