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Re-defining the ASEAN–Japan Relationship

Volume 15, No 3: July – September, 2023

As ASEAN and Japan celebrate the 50th anniversary of their official relationship, the challenge to redefine the goals and purpose of this relationship is now pressing. Great power rivalry, regional power relativities, and sweeping political and economic disruption have injected new dynamics and exposed serious vulnerabilities. With ASEAN member states and Japan each facing their own domestic challenges, the opportunity presents itself for a more ‘equal’ partnership that is able to ‘co-create’ a regional economy and society, from paternalistic origins. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly addresses these challenges for the ASEAN–Japan relationship and offers ideas, vision and initiatives that might guide its future: exploring the policy options for a relationship challenged by regional economic fragmentation; detailing the lessons available for policymakers beginning to act on sustainability and digital and green transformation; and examining the opportunities taken and thus far unrealised for the fashioning of new soft diplomacy and investment in intra-ASEAN infrastructure.
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As ASEAN and Japan celebrate the 50th anniversary of their official relationship, the challenge to redefine the goals and purpose of this relationship is now pressing. Great power rivalry, regional power relativities, and sweeping political and economic disruption have injected new dynamics and exposed serious vulnerabilities. With ASEAN member states and Japan each facing their own domestic challenges, the opportunity presents itself for a more ‘equal’ partnership that is able to ‘co-create’ a regional economy and society, from paternalistic origins. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly addresses these challenges for the ASEAN–Japan relationship and offers ideas, vision and initiatives that might guide its future: exploring the policy options for a relationship challenged by regional economic fragmentation; detailing the lessons available for policymakers beginning to act on sustainability and digital and green transformation; and examining the opportunities taken and thus far unrealised for the fashioning of new soft diplomacy and investment in intra-ASEAN infrastructure.

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