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Improving China-Japan Relations and Future of Asian Multilateralism: Implications for the US under President Trump

Overview

Leader Takashi TERADA (Professor, Doshisha University)
Researcher Masaya SAKURAGAWA (Keio University), Mike MOCHIZUKI (George Washington University), Albert KEIDEL (George Washington University), Stephen B. KAPLAN ((George Washington University).
Term 2019-2021
Research Outline

In 2019, the Indo-Pacific could have three mega FTAs (the CPTPP and RCEP, as well as the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement), each with a different level of quality but all without the United States. China has actively endeavored to improve its ties with major countries in the region, such as Japan and India, in a bid to dominate the regional rulemaking process for trade, investment, and infrastructure. Although Japan has retained its cautious and critical views toward China’s global and regional economic initiatives, President Trump’s radical protectionism with increased tariffs on key products such as automobiles has led Japan to consider the possibility of working with China to build a regional economic order as a way of reducing negative impacts of U.S. protectionism on its trade and investment. This strategic and economic calculation paved the way for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Beijing in November 2018, putting relations on the right track and trumpeting the possibility of a new era of cooperation rather than competition in the Sino-Japanese relationship, and making it possible for President Xi Jinping to pay his first visit to Japan to attend the G20 Summit held in Osaka in June 2019. This panel aims to examine the economic and strategic implications of the growing improvement in the China-Japan relationship for the United States which has emphasized bilateralism and downplayed the strengths and advantages of multilateralism at the same time that it is seeking to strengthen its position toward China.

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