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Dealing with a Proactive Japan: Reconsidering Japan’s Regional Role and Its Value for New Zealand’s Foreign Policy

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Part of the The World of Small States book series (WSS, volume 6)

Abstract

New Zealand’s geopolitical environment has become more competitive and unpredictable. New Zealand increasingly shares region-wide anxieties about economic dependence on China, China’s challenge to the regional security order, and the United States’ commitment to underwriting a stable regional economic and security order. Furthermore, US-China competition is becoming more confrontational, making it even harder for New Zealand to calibrate its orientation towards the two global great powers. The New Zealand government has, however, responded proactively by enhancing existing relations and forging new relationships with nations struggling with the same dilemma. One of the most influential of these nations is Japan. As outlined in the first half of this chapter, Japan became an important partner for New Zealand after a tentative period of post-World War II engagement. However, the relationship became increasingly characterized by benign neglect from the late-1990s up until the revitalization of the relationship in 2013 when both governments agreed on an upgraded ‘strategic cooperative partnership’. The second half of this chapter explores the value for New Zealand of newly-enhanced forms of bilateral cooperation with Japan. The chapter concludes by arguing that enhanced strategic cooperation with a more regionally proactive Japan will also enable New Zealand to diversify its economic and political relations with other nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of East Asian StudiesFree University of BerlinBerlinGermany

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