Introduction When Japan regained its sovereignty in 1952, the country’s governing elite was more concerned with domestic reconstruction and economic development than with foreign policy engagements. The foreign policy of Japan emphasized three issues: economic growth, minimal defence spending and friendly relations with the US. The psychological and attitudinal setting of Japan’s foreign policy in the period after 1952 has been to avoid taking a lead on international political issues. Its Africa policy evolved within this context and it has been governed by three interrelated and mutually reinforcing factors. These are the necessity of Japan’s own economic needs, the demands of the Japan-US Security Treaty and the search for an international role and prestige.