24 February 2016
Japan, Asia’s second-largest economy, has had important relations with Southeast Asian nations throughout the post-1945 era. For instance, the country has long been a major provider of overseas development aid, and Japanese companies have invested heavily in the region, taking advantage of its lower labor costs by locating significant portions of their manufacturing activities there.
Additionally, Southeast Asia has long served as an important supplier of raw materials to Japan, especially gas from Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, as well as coal from Indonesia. In turn, Japanese firms have sought to increase their exports of manufactured goods and services to the region, with bilateral trade between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) amounting to $248 billion in 2011.
… The combination of all these factors, explains Koh Swee Lean Collin, an associate research fellow at the Singapore-based S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, have led to Japan’s increased role in Southeast Asia being welcomed even by neutral countries such as Indonesia.
“These geopolitical, economic and technical factors all combine to justify Japan’s strategic ‘pivot’ to Southeast Asia. And it is China’s assertiveness which has undoubtedly provided the most convincing and overarching driving force of all,” Koh told DW.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 25/02/2016