Japan’s Global Diplomacy to China’s Belt and Road Initiative
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One way to forecast the prospects of China’s Belt and Road Initiatives (BRIs) is to analyse the commitment of other major economic powers to this plan. From this perspective, this chapter reviews Japan’s response to the BRI during the past seven years. The first section discusses Japan’s perceptions on the BRI in a bilateral context between Tokyo and Beijing. The next section studies Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s global diplomacy in response to the BRI. Despite his refusal to accept China’s proposal at the initial stage, by 2017, Abe decided to compete with China under the new flag of ‘quality infrastructure building’ based on his economic rationality. Owing to the China-U.S. trade war, Abe achieved outstanding success in persuading China to accept Japan’s conditions on the BRI. This has increased the potential for the BRI architecture to grow into a network of countries with several small and big cores distributed in the system rather than into a hub-and-spokes system.
This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 16K03523 and 19H00583.