Japan-China Game: Navigating Through the Risk Zone


This research aims to analyze the recent developments in the strategic interactions between Japan and China over their territorial disputes in the East China Sea from the perspective of game-theoretical modeling. The methodology of this study includes application of deterrence and compellence models to Sino-Japanese territorial disputes. Using Bayes’ theorem I develop a game with imperfect information and enrich the previous models by introducing the third player, the USA, demonstrating its effect on the strategic interplay. By analyzing the case studies of incidents between Japan and China over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, this study tracks the evolution of strategies of different administrations both in Japan and China. On the next stage of analysis I assess the effectiveness of the signaling game and the impacts of the separating and pooling signaling strategies on reducing proneness to conflict. The statistical analysis of the post-Cold war period of the conflict provides an insight into Japan’s and China’s probabilistic perceptions of each other’s nature introduced by Harsanyi transformation. This research builds on correlational and regression analysis of the conflict dynamics in order to construct a game with more informed von Neumann-Morgenstern utility functions of the players and their types. I conclude by showing the implications of Bayesian equilibria for the understanding of the motivations behind the actions of Japanese and Chinese leaderships.

Author Information
David Sarkisyan, Yerevan State University, Armenia

Paper Information
Conference: APSec2015
Stream: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

This paper is part of the APSec2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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