This work seeks to draw an analysis of the future foreign policy of the State of Japan in the Asia region, together with its high political strategy toward the People’s Republic of China. The author illustrates some major strengths and weaknesses in the new foreign policy of the Japan of the 21st century and tries to provide an answer to the following question:,,How is Japan’s foreign policy toward China changing in the 21st century?”. Through this, we will examine high political strategies from Japan, China and the United States of America. Additionally, we will try to understand the behaviour of the U.S.-Japan-China triangle from the beginning of this century up to the present day and examine how these approaches differ from or are similar to each other over the period. The author has selected this issue of an analytical foreign policy overview of the triangle of U.S.-Japan-China, because this triangle will be very important to future relations in the Asia-Pacific region. Following recent years, we can see that Japan is trying to diminish economic trade as a whole with China, and trying to become a ‘normal’ state with a military capacity, seeing China’s rising power as the main threat to its security. Meanwhile, while the United States is trying to empower its relations with China and at the same time to increase alliances for the containment of China, Beijing is trying to become hegemonic in the region. Through this, there is a widening gap between nationalism mainly between Japan, as a democratic ally of the U.S., and China and its important strategical allies. Firstly, we will try to define Japan’s challenges in these years and Japan’s strategy in 21st century, how they will interact with China’s raising power, and whether (and if yes, how) they will cooperate with the United States. Secondly, we have to familiarise ourselves with the People’s Republic of China strategy and come to understand its foreign policy and the ideology of President Xin Jinping, and its main strengths and reforms it is making to the People’s Liberation Army. Thirdly, we have to conclude we will take a view of what the foreign policies of the 21st century between Japan, China and U.S. together will look like. Finally, China and Japan are actively participating in free trade agreements and official developments seek to utilise them as their strategic weapons to spread and restore their post-Cold War images and make more alliances in the region. While Japan is dependent on its democratic camp (South Korea, New Zealand, Australia), China finds itself for the first time facing a big challenge to its China Communist Party in the shape of reforming its PLA’s structure and establishing a more flexible and stronger one. In the U.S., the new administration will have to focus on a new approach toward Asia as well as strengthening the country’s military presence by 2020, while at the same time, improving bilateral relations with China. The author did not discover a single book focusing solely on a comparison between the foreign policy triangles of these states in order to analyse recent years and predict the future on the basis of the current evidence. In addition, the author discusses the relevance and importance of theoretical power in terms of the use of evidence and data. For this reason, the work may be of particular use for the future work of other students, professors and scholars toward Asia-Pacific relations and the new U.S. administration’s strategies. I could not have written this analytical paper without the following works: U.S. Annual Report to Congress: Military ad Security Development involving the PRC 2016, Hidetaka Yoshimatsu and Dennis D. Trinidad – Development Assistance, Strategic Interests, and the China Factor in Japan’s Role in ASEAN Integration and Yul Sohn – Japan’s New Regionalism: China Shock, Values, and the East Asian Community, in which the authors, officials, governments did not leave us short, providing numerous quotes from writers on this comparison. Our priority in these works is to get to know Japan’s perceptions of the respective regions and how they will seek to strategically use them against China, along with Japan’s strategic, political and economic goals and means and how these strategies and priorities vary in the different regions in Asia. It is important to consider these questions toward China, because the main stumbling block in the Asia-Pacific region is relations between the communist state of China and fully democratic state of Japan, in the future. Finally, I would like to especially thank professor To-hai Liou for interesting readings provided in his work Japan’s Responses to AEC and RCEP and for his high quality lectures, which have given me enormous knowledge and also provided me with an enhanced theoretical expertise regarding Asia-Pacific relations.
I. State of JapanSince the 19th century, Japan has been the first non-Western country to modernise its society, government and economy and, in doing so, become one of the most powerful Asian states. However, if Japan wants to sustain this position in the future international order, it will have to establish a proper military force which can be more flexible and not be dependent on the Constitution.
I. I. Japan’s ChallengesJapan is a country which is lacking in natural resources. Among its most important imports is from the Straits of Hormuz, which it depends upon for more than 80% of its oil. Other important sources for importing to Japan are the Malacca Strait, Sunda and Lombok. Owing to this, Japan needs to improve its relationships with Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The South China Sea, where Japan has its two thirds of its oil and gas import transit, is also critically important to Japan. Prime Minister Abe is also seeking domestically to sustain Japan’s growth by combatting deflation, postponing tax hikes and slowing the global economy with developed economies, as they have not fully recovered from the negative economic effects of the 2014 consumption tax hike. At present, Japan wants to have its own defence capabilities in the 21st century; thus, Abe’s steps are regarded as unwelcome in Washington which is making many presumptions about Japan’s future. In addition, the common idea of both states are that Prime minister Abe shares universal principles from the United States and wants to provide security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and participate more actively in humanitarian operations. Moreover, Prime Minister Abe is now focused on changing Constitutional article #96 to make a constitutional amendment, which requires a double supermajority and a national referendum. If Abe is successful with the proposed constitutional change and the national referendum, Japan will become a fully independent state. Through these means, there will not be any threats from Japan’s side, but proof of a healthy democracy in practice. Tokyo is trying to obtain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. In doing so, Japan has been actively supporting the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq and is also participating in peacekeeping missions. Key foreign policy goals of Japan will include a reduction of its oil dependency and a switch to natural gas and nuclear energy in the 21st century.
I. II. Japan’s Strategy in 21st CenturyJapan began its policy of regionalism when China started to become a more proactive player in the region and aggressively influencing its neighbours in South East Asia. The turning point was the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, in which Asian states had been looking to Japan to play a more significant role as a regional power. Meanwhile, Japan, following pressure from the U.S., wanted to create an Asian monetary fund. Beijing disagreed with this and responded by devaluating its currency and providing low-interest loans to several Southeast Asian countries. Through this, China showed that they were capable of provide stability and prosperity in the Asia region during the difficult crisis. While China’s reputation was thus enhanced, Japan’s reputation has been on a steady flow. Over many decades, Japan has provided huge grants and loans through official development assistance (ODA), which has played a leading role in making alliances. At present, Japan is focusing primarily on ASEAN countries, Central Asia and Africa. Japan has been building very stable relations, mainly with ASEAN countries, with whom it is trying to build deeper regionalism and integration, while also forming a Union of Nations against China. The ASEAN-Japan Plan of Action was subsequently drawn up, outlining three specific areas for cooperation. These were: (1) cooperation for reinforcing integration of ASEAN, (2) cooperation for enhancing economic competitiveness of member countries including investment promotion, and (3) cooperation for addressing terrorism, piracy, and other transnational issues. All these processes were set into motion by the creation of the Tokyo Declaration in 2003, a commitment from Japan to ASEAN to support a three-pillar community. In addition, Japan’s grand strategy is working towards upgrading its regional leadership and restoring its image post-World War II. They have also to maintain ‘hard balancing’ with the United States, because this is the only way for Japan’s future prosperity and also because China is now a superpower in exercising its ‘soft power’ in Asia. For Japanese government officials, regionalism means countering rising Chinese influence. Tokyo wants to achieve its goals of regionalism through the East Asian Community (EAC) which is established on a basis of common ground of share-values through the community. Japan is also propagating its open regionalism based on the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency. Moreover, Japan is seeking to enhance its role and become more involved in the democratic camp in the Asia Pacific region, along with New Zealand, India and Australia. At present, Japan see its role as re-making the region in the image of its ideals. In this regard, Japan is focusing more on the southern part of Asia (ASEAN, India and Australia) than the northern (South Korea and China). As of 2004, Japan has already concluded many bilateral agreements, including with Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Subsequently, it has established EPA with Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei and Vietnam. In addition, in 2008, Japan concluded bilateral trade agreements with all ASEAN members; through this, they want to increase their development. On the other hand, China is seeking to conclude cooperation in the Mekong region, which is a crucial and critical location of ASEAN, to set up greater regional disparity. At the same time, Japan also wants to use the Mekong region as a strategic location to provide a counter-weight to China’s rise. Both countries differ in their approaches; while China’s approaches are based on normative values, Japan wants to work on the principle of universal/shared values. Modern Japan has been shaped by trade, capital and technology, which contributes to its national security. It has pursued its transformation into a high-tech innovation society and focuses more on exports to counter-balance its wide-ranging imports. Japan’s main tool is service for survival in the short term. In the long-term, Japan will become a bilateral high-tech trade nation. Additionally, Japan has established APEC, the Asia Development Bank (ADB), ASEAN+3, creating Asian Summit (EAS), the Six-Party Talks, along with the Economic Part Agreements with ASEAN countries and the establishment of APEC. In response to the ‘One Belt, One Road Initiative’, the pro-active foreign policy of China, Japan is trying to involve itself more in the Greater Mekong development project and provide official development agreements to the tune of 750 Bn yen. Furthermore, it is seeking to enhance relationships with Vietnam and Indonesia through infrastructure projects. Japan is aware of the fact that ASEAN is the second largest community in terms of population in the world, with 617 million people and a GDP of more than $2.3 Trillion, after the PRC and Japan. That is why Japan wants to forge in ASEAN a political and security community focused on economic, social and cultural integration. Through this, we will see the creation of a united community, thus providing for the free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labor as well as an increase in the flow of capital.
I. III. Economic Diplomacy of TokyoFor Japan, the most significant relationship is that with the United States, upon whom it has a security dependency. In addition, Japan does not have forces for power-projection. However, they have one of the most expensive and technologically capable defence forces in the world. Since 2005, bilateral trade with China has reached annually $130 Bn. This means that Japan is now buying more from China than from the U.S. Since Abe came to power, they have decided and instructed companies to reduce trade or diminish trade agreements with China, and concentrate more on Southern Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, America and Europe. The US was overtaken by China as the biggest trading partner in 2013, and Japan is also seeking to forestall any significant Sino-US relationship. Japan has participated in Malabar exercises with the U.S. and India this year. In addition, these countries have agreed on jointly responding to complex disasters. Japan has also been participating in military exercises with the Philippines and Vietnam, and in the near future, there is a possibility of conducting military exercises with the PLA’s Navy, which would work towards Japan-China crisis management mechanisms. Furthermore, there has also been joint military exercises of Japan’s JSDF with U.S. and Australia in 2016. Japan is the 4th largest export economy in the world. In 2014, Japan exported $714 Bn and imported $754 Bn, having a negative trade balance of $40 Bn. The most important Japanese exports are cars ($93.3 Bn) – 13% of its market, vehicle parts ($33.9 Bn) – 4.7% and integrated circuits ($31.1 Bn) – 4.4%. Meanwhile, its top imports are crude petroleum ($116 Bn) – 15%, petroleum gas ($80.1 Bn) – 11% and refined petroleum ($23.9 Bn) – 3.2% in 2014. The top export markets for Japan are: China ($131 Bn) – 18%, the United States ($128 Bn) – 18% and South Korea ($52.5 Bn) – 7.3%. Its top import markets are: China ($166 Bn) – 22%, the United States ($67.5 Bn) – 9%, Australia ($43.1 Bn) – 5.7% and Saudi Arabia ($42.5 Bn) – 5.6%. We can see from this information about the trade market of the Republic of Japan that it has a mutually beneficial relationship with the United States of America. However, trade with China is at present decreasing because of the current policy of Abe, in which he slowly cut off all diplomatic relations with China. The Prime Minister sees the rise of China’s as a threat to the Republic of Japan.
I. IV. Japan’s Grand StrategyJapan is continuing to maintain foreign policy behaviour according to the “Yoshida Doctrine”, named after Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida (1948-1954), in which the Republic of Japan was cautioned with focusing on economic development and securing its relations with the US as their number one priorities. In the area of US-Japan defence cooperation, there are “Guidelines for US-Japan Defence Cooperation” which lists as the key factors: firm US commitment to ‘prevent the deterioration of Japan’s security’ (with a clear reference to China), gradually giving to Japan additional duties and military responsibilities, and a de facto expansion of US-Japanese military cooperation was to geographically undefined ‘areas surrounding Japan’ (in Japanese, ‘Nihon shuhen’). On July 16th 2016, the Lower House of Japan’s Diest approved a package which would allow for the easy deployment of its self-defence forces abroad. However, these reforms are intended only as a guarantee to contain China’s rise as a regional threat and the new global power. The current government of Japan wants to move from “active pacifism based on international cooperation” to “active contributions for ensuring global peace and security”. The defence budget has been increased; during 2015, it stood at EUR 35 Bn and rose to around EUR 36.4 Bn in 2016; we can see from this that Japan has put enormous effort into building a strong national army. The key reforms of Abe are as follows: the establishment of a National Security Council, revision of the guidelines for US-Japan Defence Cooperation (after President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office, this TPP will be a main priority for Japan), National Security Strategy and an increased defence budget.
I. V. Abe’s policy in 2007 and 2012 — incumbentThe current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won his first election in 2006 (until 2007), and was re-elected in 2012 as leader of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party). His main ideas in 2006 were concerned with ambitious reforms in Japan, such as upgrading the role of the Self-Defence Forces as part of a regular army of Japan for the first time since World War II. In 2007, early into Abe’s term, he passed the National Referendum Law directed at changes in the Japanese Constitution. At present, only a simple majority is required for the constitutional amendment to be adopted. Abe is in favour of Japanese national pride and strengthening patriotism. Moreover, we can summarise that during his first term as Prime Minister (2006-2007), Abe began to testify how he could adopt different amendments to Japan’s constitution and make the country an officially democratic state. In the second term (2012- incumbent) he is set to finish what he started. In addition, there is no other leader on the scene at present who could defeat Abe and become a new Prime Minister for Japan. In sum, Abe’s actions are creating a new foreign policy for Japan. Nowadays, Diet approved legislation allows effectively for the deployment of self-defence forces to the territorial disputes in which Japan is currently engaged and potential future conflicts. One of the most famous statements of Abe is: „We (the Japanese people) have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on”. Prime Minister Abe is very popular in Japan; since 2006 there have been more than 7 Prime Ministers, 12 Foreign Ministers and 14 Defense Ministers in the country, and he has thus succeeded in creating new social order in Japan, bringing it to a more stable point.
I. VI. U.S. PivotThe U.S. has been constantly focusing on the Asia-Pacific region from the time of their last efforts in the Middle East. They have changed their “foreign policy attitude” in response to a rapidly changing environment of developing and developed economies in the Asia region, along with China’s rise; they are concerned in addition to maintain American primacy and the current international order. America’s military primacy in the Asia-Pacific region is challenged by China’s ballistic and cruise missiles capabilities and recent technological development of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLA). This called for a “grand strategy” from the Obama administration, in which Chinese political and economic means became the central priority of U.S. foreign policy. “In other words, American strategy in Asia seeks to turn the ‘reluctant allies’ of the Cold War into active contributors in the present order and enforcers of American command of the commons.” The most important steps of the U.S. in this Asia-region are: new troop deployments to Australia, naval deployments to Singapore, military cooperation with the Philippines and securing of its FTA and TPP negotiations. In the 2012 visit to Vice President Xi Jinping (who recently replaced Hu Jintao as President of the People’s Republic of China) President Obama stated that the peaceful rise of China would be necessary in the region for the restoration of peace and stability as well as strengthening of the relationship between the U.S. and China. We can see that the Obama administration, as with the previous Bush and Clinton administrations, has been concerned to be an active player in China’s rise, and in developments with Taiwan and Vietnam. At present, the U.S. has concluded relations with South-Korea (FTA) and seen the introduction of TPP. To sum up, the Obama administration had been trying to have strengthening cooperative diplomatic relations with China but at the same time to encourage constructive regional leaders (begun in Vietnam) against China’s rise to superpower status in the Asia-Pacific region. The main dispute over islands in the Asia-Pacific region started in Vietnam, when they began to assert their sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands against China. In 2010, when Vietnam held the chair of ASEAN, they drew attention Chinese patrols which were confronting Vietnamese fishing boats in the South China Sea. Hanoi has been calling for support from the U.S. side in the dispute; since then, Secretary of State John Kerry announced $18 million in assistance to Vietnam for strengthening and monitoring of humanitarian capabilities. The main point was made by Vietnamese Minister of Defence General Thanh, who stated that Vietnam would never go with one country against another alone; in this way, they will foster cooperation between others countries. This approach became at stumbling block, and other states in the Asia-Pacific region have been calling for their own sovereignty over “their” islands in the South/East China Sea with U.S. support commencing with the Pivot to Asia.
I. VII. The Senkaku/Diaoyu IslandsThe main cause of this conflict occurred in September 2010, when the Chinese trawler Minjinyu 5179 operated in disputed waters near the Senkaku Islands. Japan detained the captain of this ship which led to diplomatic tensions; after 10 days of Chinese pressure on Japan, the captain was released and sent back to China. Nationalism saw a rapid increased in Japan, with citizens asserting that the Japanese government was too weak. We can see that the approaches which were created in 2007 have only been waiting for the right time and place in which to emerge. We are talking about Abe’s approaches which remain broadly the same but are now more progressive than they were in 2007. “In Abe’s political platform he had committed himself to work for ‘a strategic dialogue’ with the United States, Europe and other countries based on common values, but now he seemed to go even further in the case of China, speaking up for bilateral relations founded on ‘common strategic interests’.” The Senkaku/Diaoyu territorial claims brought Japan and China to their lowest point in diplomatic relations since the 1970s. The significance of these islands lies in the fact that they are situated on oil and natural gas deposits, connect via strategical maritime routes and are necessary for rich fishing grounds. China claims that these islands are a core interest. The conflict emerged during the premiership of Japanese prime minister Noda in 2012, in which he nationalised these islands in September 2012, as was noted above. During the premiership of Abe since 2013, the dispute has still not been resolved and relations between the two countries are still broken. Both countries have introduced many threats through their naval presences in the area, and Japan directed a statement towards the active presence of Chinese ships near the islands in April: „it would be natural to expel by force” any attempted landing on the islands.
II. People’s Republic of China
II. I. China’s Foreign PolicyChina has come to recognise that it has to cooperate with the current international system, rather than work against it – and through that, to provide ground for cooperation, responsible and constructive leadership in refining its soft power. At present, President Xin Jinping is trying to pursue the biggest reforms seen since the establishment of the China Communist Party, and to fulfil a ‘China Dream’. China is adopting a pro-active foreign policy in accordance with its peaceful rise and trying to become a technologically advanced and innovative country. At the same time, implementing such reforms will present a huge challenge for the CCP. China’s rise means that, particularly in the East Asia Sea, they want to become a leader of that region and translate economic into political-military power in the future. Thus, Japan and China are using free trade and prefer trade agreements as strategic instruments to build alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. However, Chinese assistance is more frequently welcome than Japanese assistance, because China is providing it more generally without any special conditions that are typically attached to bilateral and multilateral agreements. Secondly, China is providing assistance too places which others states are avoiding. Finally, we can also note assistance providing short-term benefits. In addition, lots of Japan’s aid efforts are not possible because of human rights restrictions. China’s rising power presents a threat to Japan’s in all three spheres: political, economic and security. Furthermore, China is also actively participating in and bringing about international talks, as we have seen in the first ever inter-Korea summit in 2000, which didn’t include Japan. Moreover, Beijing is now focused on the FTA, where it has already replaced Japan as the largest trading partner of ASEAN, since 2009.
II. II. China’s People Liberation ArmyPLA is trying to increase its exercises with Malaysia and naval exercises with Singapore, along with air force exercises with Thailand and counter-terrorism exercises with Tajikistan (all of these countries are important allies for the U.S.). These exercises primary focus on border security, peacekeeping operations and counter-terrorism. However, they have also included air, maritime and ground warfare training. Additionally, there has also been cooperation ties between the Russian Federation and the Peoples Republic of China, to strengthen bilateral military ties and increase mutual trust. Today’s PLA is seeking to develop new classes of offensive missiles and to upgrade older missile systems and try to create sufficient counter ballistic missile defences. China has the largest number of vessels in Asia, including surface ships, submarines and patrol crafts. Through these means, they are moving from a “near sea” to a “far sea” defence system. The PLA is trying to reach the target of around 80 submarines by 2020. Chinese President Xi’s slogan for the PLA is “fight and win”. China has not been involved in a conflict in the last thirty years. What we have already noted is that China is seeking to achieve and mobilise its PLA forces through military exercises which are focused on improving core service capabilities, strategic campaign training, achieving of manoeuvres and mobility operations. Moreover, the PLA, Xi’s leadership, is trying to develop one of the most advanced air defence systems in the world.
II. III. Japan-China relationsHow it is possible that Japan-China trade relations were at their peak in 2005, yet relations between the countries have sunk to their lowest level over the ensuing decade? We are going to describe from a diplomatic perspective the last decade of their relations and, through this, explain exactly what happened and why “diplomatic conflict” is still prevalent. We can identify three stages which Japan has passed through with China over the last decade (2006-2016). The first one, from 2006-2007, was the period of “value oriented Diplomacy” billed as an “arc of freedom and prosperity”, in which Japan placed importance on universal values such as human rights, the rule of law, democracy, freedom and market economy. This approach was launched by the Taro Aso, the former Foreign Minister of Japan, and is widely known as Abe-Aso, where pressure was directed at China; however, in this era, when Japan wanted China-out, many Asia-Pacific states, including the U.S., wanted China-in. The second phase is that of China-in diplomacy during 2008-2010, in which Japan had a mutually beneficial relationship owing to its pro-China Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who saw China in the light of a trade opportunity (as did his predecessor Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who he wanted to create ASEAN+3 and Japan-China-Korea trilateral cooperation). However, this drew various criticisms from the side of the U.S., leading up to the current situation since 2010, which has seen China-out and the implementation of the U.S. Pivot to Asia, a reorientation towards Japan’s universal values, the Senkaku islands dispute claims and the diamond security league of the democratic camps in Asia.
III. Triangle of U.S.-Japan-ChinaWe can see that from 2012, the United States has become an active participant in Asia, through its ‘Pivot to Asia’ strategy, which they refer to as a ‘rebalance’, to reaffirm U.S. global dominance. Moreover, nowadays, trade between U.S. and China is 100 times greater than trade between the U.S. and Soviet Union in history. Furthermore, after the creation of One Belt, One Road Initiative, the U.S. has been seeking to create a Maritime Silk Road. The rebalance in Asia has been a very strong step forward for the U.S., because they need to cement their global role following their withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq and their efforts in the Middle East over the past decade. On January 2012, President Barack Obama declared “we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.” China is in favour of a Japan-U.S. alliance up to the point where it does not threaten Chinese interests. Moreover, with the coming full nuclear capability of Japan and rearmament, we will see a much more strategical breakdown and threat for China’s foreign policy in East Asia, especially the East Asia Sea. China and the United States have a common ideological point in that they have to cooperate more on overlapping interests. China and the U.S. have tried to develop a military-to-military relationship, which would provide that China must abide by international rules and norms, and would subsequently be in a position to contribute to the resolution of global problems. The United States Department of Defense is going to adapt China’s military strategies and doctrines, and is seeking to persuade China to be more transparent regarding its military program. In 2015, U.S. National Security Strategy emphasised that the U.S. has to provide and develop a better and more constructive relationship with China and promote greater security and prosperity in Asia, and held that if there is any point of contention between the sides, they will have to conclude agreements and decrease the risks of misunderstanding and miscalculation. We can sum up new security relations between the U.S. and China in three ways: as building policy dialogues through leader engagements, building concrete practical cooperation between both countries, and relatedly, increasing mutual interest and diminishing potential misunderstandings or miscalculations. Today’s world affairs have changed, leading to a focus on non-military means, transnational threats, human security, and multilateral and collective securities. We can observe that this means that states are involved in full-scale neoliberalism, realism and mercantilist approaches.
ConclusionWe discovered that Japan is at present dealing with many threats, including the rise in global terrorism and the rises of North Korea and China, and is at the same time obliged to step up its relations with the United States. Current Prime Minister Abe is trying to realise Japan as a normal state and to revise its Constitution. In addition, Japan is trying to bolster its economy and investment primarily in Asia, Central Asia and Africa as a strategic locations to provide a counter-weight to China; at the same time, they are trying to decrease every item of trading with China. We found that, in recognition of their new status, Japan is actively participating in United Nations Peacekeeping missions and has supported the U.S. in every recent major war. For Japan, the most important community is ASEAN, in which it is trying to be highly involved through regionalism and the integration of the East Asian Community (EAC), and to establish the same principles as we see in the European Union, such as free movement of goods and services, investment and skilled labor as well as an increase in the flow of capital. In addition, they are aware ASEAN is the market of the future. Furthermore, Japan is also trying to adapt as an innovative and highly developed modern technological country, which will be the main importer in Asia. Meanwhile, China is the strongest superpower in terms of hard power and soft power in Asia, and wants to bring in the widest reforms since the creation of its CCP, to enhance the flexibility of the PLA. Current President Xi Jinping is trying to make a China pro-active player in world affairs, as well as having the most advanced air defence system in the world. China is also an active player in ASEAN and BRICs and in the UN and PKO. If Japan wants to become a greater superpower and gain a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations, it will be very important to cooperate with China rather than working against it. During the analysis of the U.S.-Japan-China Triangle, we discovered that the U.S. is seeking to actively involve itself in this region and is in accordance with China’s ‘One Belt, One Road Initiative’, while also trying to create its own Maritime Silk Road; this will be vitally important for Japan, because the Malacca Strait holds around 80% of the whole natural resource imports for the country. By 2020, the U.S. wants to increase their military presence in the region and establish there all possible military capabilities. Moreover, the United States also needs to restore its image after the unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the current crisis in Syria, and has to be very active in high and low politics as well as in diplomacy through their presence in Asia, which is proving not to be as simple a matter as it might have appeared at first glance. Our perceptions of Japan’s Foreign Policy in the 21st century is that she is actively participate in the democratic camp (South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India) and trying to make new alliances in Central Asia and Africa through ODA, FTA and PTA, using them as strategic tools of their foreign policy. At the same time, in Japan’s domestic economy, Tokyo is trying to combat deflation and postponing tax hikes and slowing the global economy in developed countries which have not fully recovered from the negative economic effects of the 2014 consumption tax hike. The strategies in different regions include China’s focus on their ‘One Road, One Belt Initiative’ and on transforming their maritime superpower approach to land superpower approach in the 21st century; meanwhile, Japan is seeking to enhance its naval military capabilities. Both countries are working towards a switch to nuclear energy and natural gas. Furthermore, while China wants to increase its dependence on oil, Japan wants to decrease its dependence and replace it with innovative technology, as they know that this is the future for their nation. Japan is also participating in different countries to establish them as headquarters for their future transfer to ‘green energy’. We can not say with certainty that Japan will fully create an Economic Asian Community, because ASEAN is a highly beneficial community when there is a rivalry between superpowers in Asia; in this regard, ASEAN countries will try not to become fully dependent on Japan – and rather, get as much as they can from from China and Japan, the major actors, as well as the United States. At present, we can see that Japan is in favour of non-partnership between China and the U.S., because for them, this would present a political threat and they will remain highly dependent on the U.S. until the point where they can become a fully independent state. Japan is also actively participating in military exercises (the most recent was the Malabar exercises with the U.S. and India). In the future, we can expect that Japan will put enormous energy into deepening relations with new countries, including in the Mekong region, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei and others. Right now, Tokyo is working as politically, economically and diplomatically as a ‘younger brother’ to the United States, and they are trying to strengthen the democratic camp against China’s rise. We can see that if Japan is to become a normal state, it will be not pose a threat to the whole community, but will only represent progress in the functional aspects of democracy.
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