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Japan’s Southeast Asia Policy at a Crossroad

Southeast Asia has been regarded as one of the regions where Japan is most committed to with regard to government and business. Unlike its relationship with the US or China, Japan has always enjoyed a stable and favourable relationship with the region. It could be claimed a resounding victory in the history of Japan’s foreign policy. However, actually a shift in the global balance of power is taking place in an unprecedented way. Therefore, the core strategic basis of Southeast Asia for Japan’s foreign policy is shifting. One aspect of Japan’s Southeast Asian policy was, that it has always been an off-shoot of US-Japan relations. Now, it is heavily influenced by the relations between China and Japan. Thus, the rules, principles, and actors of policies have been contested and revisited. With the shift in the global balance of power, and also, not to forget, with the rise of neo-nationalism in Southeast Asia, Japan’s Southeast Asian policy is at a crossroad. As a result, Japan has been actively redefining its rules and principles through infrastructure projects, cooperation in the development of defence industries, and in urban governance.

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