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McCormack's main research interest is in "modern Japanese (and East Asian) political, intellectual, and environmental history". He has published widely, in academic and popular journals, on the "liberation" struggles in South East Asia. In more recent times he has become more interested in environmental issues and in 1996 published The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence which attacked Japanese economic success as a mirage based on environmental exploitation that posed the single greatest threat to stability in the region. He remains a trenchant critic of the Bush Presidency and the American government in general. He has claimed that the North Korean nuclear program is justified by belligerent American rhetoric.
The Price of Affluence: Dilemmas of Contemporary Japan, translator-in-chief and editor of Rokuro Hidaka's Sengo Shiso o Kangaeru (Tokyo), Iwanami, 1980). Tokyo and New York, Kodansha International, 1984
Japanese Society: Ins and Outs in Showa 60, translated and edited by Gavan McCormack and Yoshio Sugimoto, Papers of the Japanese Studies Centre, Melbourne, No. 8, December 1986, 30 pp.
Democracy in Contemporary Japan, co-edited with Yoshio Sugimoto, Sydney, Hale and Iremonger, and New York, M.E. Sharpe, 1986, 272 pp ISBN0-87332-397-1, ISBN0-87332-398-X (pbk).
The Japanese Trajectory: Modernization and Beyond, co-edited with Yoshio Sugimoto. Cambridge University Press, 1988, 300 pp ISBN0-521-34515-4.
Bonsai Australia Banzai: Multifunctionpolis and the Making of a Special Relationship with Japan, Gavan McCormack, ed., Pluto Press, Sydney, 1991, 228pp.
Peace and Regional Security in the Asia-Pacific: A Japanese Proposal, translated, edited and introduced, Peace Research Centre, Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU, Working Paper No 158, September 1995, 59pp.
Reproduced in part in McCormack, Gavin (1973), "The student left in Japan", in Livingston, Jon; Oldfather, Felicia; Moore, Joe (eds.), The Japan Reader, volume 2, Pantheon, pp. 552-556, ISBN9780394706689.
"The Tokyo-Taipei-Seoul Nexus" (with Jon Halliday) in Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol.2, No.1, Spring 1972, pp. 36-55.