Putting the ‘Pacific’ into Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy

Author: Sandra Tarte, University of the South Pacific

In the face of North Korea’s nuclear program, a resurgent China, an unpredictable US president and the rise of anti-globalisation forces, Japan’s new Indo-Pacific strategy aims to improve connectivity between the Pacific and Indian Oceans and between the African and Asian continents. Tokyo intends for ‘Indo-Pacific’ to supersede ‘Asia Pacific’ as the term that describes its region.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama shakes hands with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of their joint news conference at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo 19 May 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato).

Avenues for ‘strategic collaboration’ between Japan and the Pacific islands already exist. Key among these is the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM), which has been held every three years in Japan since 1997. PALM brings together Japan’s prime minister, the leaders of 14 Pacific island states and ministerial-level representation from Australia and New Zealand. The PALM process now also boasts …continue reading