TITLE

JAPAN'S REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION STRATEGY: A NASCENT AND COMPETITIVE FTA DIPLOMACY

AUTHOR(S)
Vio, Jose Guerra
PUB. DATE
December 2010
SOURCE
Asian Journal of Public Affairs;2010, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p20
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In the last decade Japan has changed its restricted focus on multilateral trade for a recent pursuit of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), which reflects a change in its policy towards economic integration. This paper offers an analysis of Japan's regional economic integration strategy, with consideration to the strategies of other actors, particularly China's role as a major balancing power for Japan in the region. This article aims to unravel and understand the possible motivations behind Japan's strategic shift and the reason why this has only happened in recent years. Additionally, it examines why Japan has chosen partner countries like Mexico and Chile, or selected ASEAN members like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand individually as opposed to a multilateral regional arrangement. Besides stating the economic motivations implicit in any kind of FTA, the emphasis is on two particular ideas: the possible unspoken political motivations of competing against China for regional leadership, and the embedded leverage motivations of achieving an FTA as a way to build Japan's negotiation capacity as a latecomer in regional integration. In the first section, after providing a general overview of the Japanese FTA approach, the particular case of the Japan-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement is examined, since it is recognised as the agreement that gave birth to Japan's FTA diplomacy. The second section focuses on Japan's strategy towards the building of a regional bloc through economic integration, paying specific attention to the Japanese position when trying to balance China. A preliminary analysis shows that competitive pressure both economic but especially political seem to be the driving force behind Japan's nascent FTA policy.
ACCESSION #
58489239

 

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