Japan has taken the lead in propagating a vision of regional order for more than a decade. Its geopolitical strategy seeks to constrain China at a time when Southeast Asian countries fret about China’s military buildup, its expansion in the South China Sea and its controversial Belt and Road Initiative. ISEAS academic William Choong explains why Japan's endeavours have not been smooth, yet should not be discounted yet.
October 22 marked the enthronement ceremony of Japan's new Emperor, Emperor Naruhito. China sent a full state-level representative, Vice President Wang Qishan, while the US sent a ministerial level dignitary, ethnic Chinese minister Elaine Chao to attend the ceremony. This unusual arrangement did not escape the scrutiny of analysts. Beijing researcher Zhang Jingwei cites the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and opines that global dynamics is undoubtedly shifting.