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South and Southeast Asian Perceptions of Japan’s Strategic Rise for a Balanced Indo-Pacific: a Cross-National Case Study on Bangladesh and Thailand

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The Indo-Pacific region is vital to the emerging countries’ geostrategic and geo-maritime strategic competition. It is crucial for Japan’s economic, political, and security interests. For the last few years, Japan has been promoting a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy to protect the region free from other countries’ dominance and make a balance of power by countering China’s hegemony. Despite the growing strategic involvement of Japan in the Indo-Pacific region, some literature focused on the people’s perception of Japan. Thus, this study explores the public perception regarding Japan’s strategic rise in the Indo-Pacific to fill the knowledge gap. Using a snowball sampling method, we conducted a descriptive cross-national study with 365 individuals in Bangladesh and Thailand. Most participants (88%) agreed that the strategic rise of Japan would promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Besides, they agreed (69.1%) that the FOIP could be the alternative to the Chinese BRI in this region. However, around 52.6% of respondents moderately supported Japan’s FOIP and QUAD in the region not to provoke China. Participants in this multi-country research generally expressed optimism about Japan’s strategic ascent and its implications for a balanced Indo-Pacific. Therefore, the findings of this study can assist policymakers in gaining a better understanding of public attitudes and preparing for future policy formation.

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Data Availability

The data used in the manuscript is available upon reasonable request from corresponding author.


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This work was supported by the Japan Foundation, Tokyo [2022RE088]JF Research Grant number (Ref. No. 10139609–002).

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Correspondence to Md. Saifullah Akon.

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Akon, M., Charoensri, N. & Alam, M.Z. South and Southeast Asian Perceptions of Japan’s Strategic Rise for a Balanced Indo-Pacific: a Cross-National Case Study on Bangladesh and Thailand. East Asia 40, 357–372 (2023).

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