The Indo-Pacific in Japan’s Foreign Policy



Ryo Sahashi | Center for Strategic & International Studies

“Indo-Pacific” is the regional concept the Shinzo Abe administration has used often in the last few years. In his Policy Speech to the Diet in January 2019, Prime Minister Abe emphasized “Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP)” as the aim of Japan’s foreign policy. Many observers inside and outside Japan have regarded FOIP as Tokyo’s efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Some observers even point to Abe’s speech in New Delhi in 2007 as the foundation for this concept of mega-region-building in the Indo-Pacific, which now includes the United States. In fact, following Japan’s lead, the Trump administration has started to employ FOIP in various speeches since 2017. However, the Japanese government recently called FOIP a “vision” instead of a “strategy” as it was defined originally, and Japan also seeks to collaborate with BRI through private sector initiatives in third countries. This change of emphasis has confused Japan watchers about Japan’s true intentions.

FINAL_Working Paper_Ryo Sahashi

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