Japan and East Asia in Transition: Trade Policy, Crisis and Evolution and Regionalism

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Because official government documents of this sort become patchworks of multiple viewpoints, we cannot expect any specific theme to stand head and shoulders above the rest. On reading the Diplomatic Bluebook with this consideration in mind, one is nonetheless impressed by the emphasis placed on the foreign policy Japan needed to pursue as a member of the Asia-Pacific region.

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While recognizing that the region was subject to considerable influence from sudden changes in Central and Eastern Europe, where the Berlin Wall was about to fall, and from the rapidly altering relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union in the background, the report made mention of the fact that in , total trans-Pacific trade exceeded total trans-Atlantic trade for the first time.

Within the broader context of globalization, the Asia-Pacific was of course influenced by the situation in Europe, but internal developments peculiar to this region were already underway. What were the reasons for the rise of interest in the Asia-Pacific among intellectuals, especially those in the West, after the Cold War drew to a close?

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During the conflict many people were focused primarily on US-Soviet relations and the European situation, but this orientation weakened with the thawing of East-West relations. Interest shifted instead to developments in the Asia-Pacific, including the tripolar relationship among China, Japan, and the United States. In the s, with the rapprochement between China and the United States and the restoration of relations between China and Japan, the rise of China in international politics and the world economy became conspicuous.

Even before the Cold War ended, accordingly, the importance of the Asia-Pacific was on the increase, and as I have suggested, foreign policymakers and informed persons were already turning their eyes in that direction. These developments, I might note, got underway in the s and continued into the s. What the ending of the Cold War did was to provide additional momentum to this global tide dating from the s.

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Let us consider that next. The tide was probably at its strongest during —95, between the meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Seattle and Osaka. Its birth was preceded by the foundation several years earlier of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, a private-level organization.

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The meeting hosted by the United States in Seattle was thus the fifth in the series. Initially the annual gatherings were ministerial-level events, but an informal meeting of heads of government took place alongside the Seattle forum, marking the start of the APEC summits.

This development is symbolic of the shift in the United States toward full-fledged implementation of an Asia-Pacific policy. Behind the shift lay the release from the tensions of the Cold War and the recognition in Washington that economic affairs were just as important as security affairs, if not more so. The new current of giving priority to economic concerns proved to be a boon to the development of APEC. One year after the Seattle gathering, the Bogor Declaration on achieving free and open trade and investment was adopted at the APEC meeting hosted by Indonesia. With Osaka set to be the site of the next meeting in , Tokyo naturally put special effort into preparations for the event.

It is likely that this three-year period, in which the role of host passed from the United States to Indonesia one of the leading Southeast Asian countries to Japan, will go down in history as the time of the most energetic APEC activities.

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This agenda provided a strategic framework for achieving the Bogor goals of freeing and facilitating trade and investment with the help of the Partners for Progress aims of enhancing economic and technical cooperation. While all seven points are worthy subjects for analysis, of special note are points 4 involving the United States and 5 involving China. The way in which Japan pursued its Asia-Pacific policy in subsequent years was greatly influenced by the relations between these two superpowers and the respective actions they engaged in.

Before I say more on this, it may be helpful to refresh our recognition of one fact.

New Asian Regionalism

Further evidence of the driving power of economic affairs can be seen in the United States, where the administration of President Bill Clinton — , which moved the economy to the top of its agenda, began to take part in Asia-Pacific regionalism with unusual vigor. Some of the momentum was lost when the Asian currency crisis struck in , but the Asian economy remained in good health on the whole, providing a foundation for further progress toward Asia-Pacific regionalism.

There were neither politicians nor diplomats who had developed a posture and attitude of organically orchestrating regional or global foreign policy to that extent. They instead did all they could to smooth over the acrimony, adopting a position midway between China and the West. In a sense, China is a new type of great power in that it has continued to turn a cold shoulder to democracy despite the great strides it has taken in economic development ever since it adopted its reform and opening policy. Tokyo at that point was already wrestling with the thorny issue of how best to deal with such a power, and its difficulties were soon to be complicated, as the Chinese economy was on its way to overtaking the Japanese economy and exerting even greater influence over neighboring countries.

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Singapore has responded to these challenges in bilateral trading agreements, driven by its idiosyncratic features of a small, city—state economy and frustrated by laggard ASEAN. Increasingly, there is a divergence in macroeconomic policy between Singapore and ASEAN in terms of openness and competition. The dilemma in Singapore's strategy of bilateral trading agreements and foreign economic trade policy is precisely this divergence in macroeconomic philosophy and policy.

However, the present paper concedes that bilateral and crossregional trading arrangements are still second best, and that broader regionalism and multilateralism are still superior. Volume 17 , Issue 1. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.

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Chinese FM calls for more open and inclusive East Asia

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Trade Policy, Crisis and Evolution, and Regionalism This book examines how Japan has changed its economic relationship with East Asia since the mid. Japan and East Asia in Transition: Trade Policy, Crisis and Evolution, and Regionalism: H. Yoshimatsu: Books - deocomdudistio.cf

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