Raquel Shaoul, Ph.D
Dr. Shaoul is a lecturer in the East Asian Studies Department at Tel-Aviv University and a
research fellow at the Energy Program Asia (EPA) - The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, The Netherlands.
I was born in Colombia and moved to Israel as a young adult. I gained a BA and an MA in political science from Tel-Aviv University, before spending several years in the United Kingdom where I gained my PhD in international relations at Kings College, London. I bring this global, multicultural background to my abiding interest in Japan. I am fascinated by the country – its people, history and culture -- but above all by its unique geopolitical place on the world stage. I love the interdisciplinary nature of my research, which combines political science, international relations, economics and business, bringing me into contact with politicians, civil servants, journalists and businessmen in several countries.
No economy in the world is more dependent on imported oil than Japan, which imports 99.6% of its oil. This dependence on foreign oil significantly influences Japan’s foreign and defense policy, creating a fascinating interplay between economics and politics.
Currently, oil from the Persian Gulf accounts for some 90% of Japan’s oil imports. As such, I am particularly interested in Japan’s strategic relations with its supplier states in the Gulf, primarily Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
By extension, I am also focused on Japan’s relations with China, and the way in which Japan's energy policy is affected by the changing balance of power and the increased demand for energy in Asia. For example, I am analyzing the circumstances under which Japan and China might cooperate in order to improve their leverage vis-à-vis the Persian Gulf states. Lastly, from a global perspective, I am interested in the impact of Japan's energy polices on its relations with the United States.
To understand these issues, I am examining the political and economic factors within Japan, which influence that country’s energy policy. On the other side of the coin, I am considering the Persian Gulf states’ perception of Japan's energy requirements, as well as regional and global market trends, which might impact the oil industry.
My current research builds upon my longstanding interest in Japanese foreign policy towards the Middle East, on which I have published widely. My research may lead to policy-oriented recommendations for governments.
My publications, among others, include the follow referee articles:
“Japan and Israel: An Evaluation of relationship-Building in the Context of Japan's Middle East Foreign Policy”, Israel Affairs, Vol.10 (1-2), 2003;
“An Evaluation of Japan's Current Energy Policy in the Context of the Azadegan Oil Field Agreement signed in 2004”, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Vol. 6 (3), 2005 ;
“Why Japanese Efforts to Facilitate Middle East Talks Have Failed?”, Japan Focus, 2005;
“Japanese Foreign Policy toward the Middle East 1973 to 1990: the Non-Commitment Policy", Japan Focus, 2005;
“Japan’s Defense Policy An evaluation of policy change with reference to Japan’s military deployment in the Persian Gulf”, Japanese Studies Vol. 27 (3), 2007;
“Japan, Iran and China triangular relations: Iran as a Balancing Power Settling Asian Energy Supply Issues" in Zeman Iran (Uzi Ravi ed.), (Tel-Aviv: Ha Kibbutz Ha Meujad), 2008;
“Japan’s Evolving Nuclear Energy Policy and the Possibility of Japan-China Nuclear Energy Cooperation" in Shaping the EU-China Knowledge Exchange on Energy Security, (Book-Series International Comparative Social Studies-Brill Academic Publishers), 2010;
“Japan and Iran: An Evaluation of Relationship-building in the Context of Energy Security Supply 1979-2009”, in Secure Oil and Alternative Energy: The Geopolitics and Energy Paths of China and the European Union, (Brill Academic Publishers), Leiden/Boston/London, 2012.