Special Forum

One of the notable features of Japanese foreign policy since Prime Minister Abe Shinzo returned to power in December 2012 has been its robust engagement with the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, Japan under Abe has been actively seeking to strengthen its relationship with the countries in Southeast Asia, Australia. and India. Japan’s National Security Strategy, released in December 2013, identifies the improvement of the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region as one of three national security objectives, and positions the enhancement of Japan’s relationship with “its partners within and outside the Asia-Pacific region” including expanding security cooperation, as integral to supporting such objectives.1 As US foreign policy is undergoing a great deal of change under President Donald Trump, reflecting on how Abe’s initiatives toward these regions have fared in this context is both timely and useful.

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