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Japan's regional policy and its role in East Asia

January 15, 2007

Huang Ying, YCAR's Visiting Scholar for the 2007-08 academic year, shared her research on Japan's role in East Asia on 15 January 2007 at YCAR. In the past decade, regionalism has been surging in East Asia. The region obviously calls for a strong leadership. Japan, as the world’s second largest economy and a regional power, has the ambition to be regional leader. However, its aspiration is pinned down by a number of factors.
Her presentation examined the three phases of the regional cooperation, Japan’s role in each of them and the factors that hinder Japan from exercising leadership. The vehicle for regional cooperation in the first phase is APEC. Japan only played a supportive role while trying to maximize its own profits. The United States was the undisputable leader. In the second phase, Japan launched several initiates to help bailing out the region out from the Asian Financial crisis, but due to differences between itself and China, ASEAN played the role of leader, at least nominally. In the third phase, Japan became more assertive in its regional policy, showing a desire to dictate the regional economic cooperation agenda. However, its regional plans were seldom echoed by the other countries in the region.
Before assuming the role of regional leader, Japan has to cope well with three pair of relations: U.S.-Japanese relations, Sino-Japanese relations, and its relations with the future of the region. However, to achieve these tasks proves to be difficult for Japan. Now Japan seems to be trapped in a strategic dilemma. Getting itself out requires wisdom and vision of the Japanese government.
The discussant was Gregory T Chin, Professor of Political Science and YCAR Faculty Associate.

Gregory Chin introduced Huang




Huang Ying's concentration is world economic relations and regional cooperation in East Asia.






(L to R) Gregory T Chin, YCAR Director Susan Henders, Huang Ying and ABMP Director Bernie Frolic



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