Japan-US relations

Japan's strategy in Southeast Asia is moving, despite difficulties. (Aris Messinis/REUTERS)

Targeting China, Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Southeast Asia runs into headwinds?

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. 
Emperor Naruhito (left) and Empress Masako (right) attend the enthronement ceremony where the emperor officially proclaims his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 22, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/POOL/AFP)

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: US, China and Japan

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.