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Japan’s Economic Realism and Approach to Indo-Pacific Engagement, Resilience, and Rule-Setting

This paper examines Japan’s strategic priorities pertaining to the IPEF, their connection to Japan’s relationship with China and the US, and the actions being taken for successful implementation of the IPEF.

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Japan has wedded its Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) Vision to various initiatives, including
the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), to embed itself in the regional political economy.
However, several factors such as COVID-19, geopolitics, policy choice, and costs are shaping
Japan’s engagement.The IPEF is an inclusive agenda that sets rules and lays the foundation for the
American-led economic framework, anchoring the United States (US) in the region. It should be
viewed through several initiatives, including the Resilient Supply Chain Initiative (RSCI), Data Free
Flow with Trust (DFFT), and the Japan-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
amongst others. The Japan-US alliance informs all aspects of the Indo-Pacific engagement, but
Japan has its own nuanced view of the region. Japan seeks to build resilience into the relationship
with China through selective diversification and economic engagement while rejecting zero-sum
approaches, decoupling and containment policies toward the world’s second largest economy. This paper examines Japan’s strategic priorities pertaining to the IPEF, their connection to Japan’s relationship with China and the US, and the actions being taken for successful implementation of the IPEF.

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Cristita Marie Perez

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Senior Project Manager Regional Program "Social Economic Policies" Asia (SOPAS)

cristita.perez@kas.de +81 3 6426 5046 +81 3 6426 5047

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