This chapter begins to introduce the case study of Japan–North Korea security relations used to investigate the opportunities for Japan to act as a global civilian power in the post-Cold War period. The aim of the chapter is to trace changes in policy-making conceptions of the nature of the North Korean security problem, and the attendant shift from military power-dominated approaches, to ones which ascribe also a major role to the use of economic power and comprehensive security measures. The historical overview of the international relations surrounding the Korean Peninsula from the nineteenth century until the end of the Cold War will show that they were characterised by a series of great power and inter-Korean conflicts, the approach to the containment of which took the form of the application of military balance-of-power and alliance politics. Moreover, detailed analysis of the North Korean nuclear crisis demonstrates that after the end of the Cold War, the Korean Peninsula still retains the potential for great power and inter-Korean conflict and that all sides have continued to protect their security interests through the use of military power and alliance manoeuvring. However, at the same time as the involved powers have pursued military approaches to security on the Korean Peninsula, the unfolding events of the North Korean nuclear crisis and its aftermath have indicated the growing limitations of military power as an effective means to contain or resolve the North Korean security problem. In turn, policy-makers have begun to conceive of the North Korean security problem as one generated by economic insecurity and which requires a resolution based on economic power. Hence, this chapter then argues that the case of North Korea is an ideal and vital one for testing Japan's use of economic power for security purposes.