IJSSH 2016 Vol.6(12): 952-957 ISSN: 2010-3646
doi: 10.18178/ijssh.2016.V6.780

Japan’s New ASEAN Diplomacy: Strategic Goals, Patterns, and Potential Limitations under the Abe Administration

Mahar Nirmala
Abstract—This paper examines the strategic goals of Japan’s New ASEAN Diplomacy introduced by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in 2013 and analyzes the patterns and potential limitations for Japan. This paper suggests that Japan’s engagement in Southeast Asia is intended to maintain the status quo of the South China Sea, to contain China’s perceived threat, and to create a stable region in which Japan can exert greater influence and take full advantage in the future. In order to support this analysis, I provide an explanation regarding what has been done by Japan by categorizing ten ASEAN countries into three different groups to find the patterns of the engagement. It is found that Japan has a different strategy and priority for different countries, particularly in the focus and intensity of the cooperation. These findings supported the arguments of Japan’s strategic goals mentioned above. The last section of this paper criticizes Abe’s engagement policy by presenting several potential limitations for Japan, including different perception regarding China’s threat, suspicion from the ASEAN countries that Japan may undermine the ASEAN principles, and relatively minor contribution from those who are regarded as small states to maintain the maritime security.

Index Terms—Abe Shinzo, ASEAN diplomacy, Japan, Southeast Asia.

M. Nirmala is with the Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea (e-mail: nirmala@snu.ac.kr).

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Cite: Mahar Nirmala, "Japan’s New ASEAN Diplomacy: Strategic Goals, Patterns, and Potential Limitations under the Abe Administration," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 6, no. 12, pp. 952-957, 2016.

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