Special Forum Issue

“The Quad”

Japan, the Quad and the Indo-Pacific


In the early months of 2021, all eyes have been on the Biden Administration as it unveiled its diplomatic approach to the Indo-Pacific. Perhaps more than at any time in the past, Japan has had a singular role in shaping a new US administration’s regional diplomacy. Despite the effort to dissociate its foreign policy approach from that of the Trump administration, the Biden administration continues to prioritize the Indo-Pacific, and the best positioned partner for achieving this “free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion” Indo-Pacific is Japan.1

Japan’s journey in developing its Indo-Pacific approach took time, however. Early efforts to emphasize Japanese democratic values and to build a “diamond of democracies” to counter the rising power of China were unsuccessful.2 Australia and India were not ready for a Quad approach and there were lingering doubts about Japan’s role in advocating values-based diplomacy in a region where war memory lingered. Yet as China’s maritime reach expanded and its behavior challenged regional stability, both Australia and India have become far more receptive to Japan’s overtures alongside the United States for greater security cooperation. The strategic relationship with Australia is deeper, especially as Australia’s tensions with China have risen, and India has a leader who also sees in Japan a promising partner at the opposite side of the two oceans that define this regional demarcation. India’s border dispute with China has lately created a far more conspicuous element of confrontation in their relationship.

The agency of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in refining Japan’s Quad diplomacy, in its early iteration and again during his longer tenure from 2012-20, cannot be denied. Tokyo’s Indo-Pacific vision today has far less emphasis on democracy and focuses instead on the rule of law and transparency. It is a “free and open” Indo-Pacific that Japan seeks to maintain.3 The levers that Japan brings to this regional concert are largely economic, and the region is far hungrier for alternatives to Chinese aid today than they were a decade or more ago. Nonetheless, there is no denying the growing role of Japan’s Self Defense Force in demonstrating Japan’s interests in coalition with other Quad members.4

Japan’s Indo-Pacific Goals

Early thinking about the Quad in Tokyo began in the first decade of the twenty-first century.  New ideas about how to encourage cooperation among Asia’s democracies emerged in the first Abe Cabinet in 2006 and continued through the Aso Cabinet of 2008.5 China’s rise and increasing sway in regional affairs began to concern Japanese policymakers. Japan’s own relationship with the PRC was getting more difficult to manage, as trade spats emerged and concerns about China’s military power grew. Already the idea that democratic nations would need to band together to contend with the growing influence of authoritarian China had taken shape within Japanese foreign policy thinkers. The US and Japan, of course, continued to expand their scope of regional cooperation and to bring other partners into a conversation over the shifting balance of power. 

Deepening Japan’s economic ties with its neighbors across the Indo-Pacific has been an integral part of its regional diplomacy. Quad partners became valuable trading and investment partners over the past two decades. Australia ranked fifth as a Japanese trading partner in 2019.6 Imports from Australia were $14.8 billion in 2000, compared with $45.5 billion in 2019.7 Foreign direct investment in Australia has also grown, to $16.4 billion in 2020, compared to $1.1 billion in 2002.8 The conclusion of the Comprehensive Progressive Transpacific Partnership (CPTPP) in 2018 contributed to the substantial growth of these figures.9 Likewise, India has become an important destination for Japan’s goods as well as for Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).  Infrastructure and other investments in the Indian economy totaled 15.6% of Japan’s total ODA in 2018, making India the largest recipient of Japanese aid.10 On the trade side, Japanese exports to India have grown more than imports in the last twenty years.11

Most striking has been the deepening of military cooperation between Japan and these two Quad partners. Initially, Japan developed its strategic dialogue with individual partners often in coordination with the United States. The US-Japan-Australia Strategic Dialogue began in 2002, and in 2006, Japan and India established their Strategic and Global Partnership.12 Consultations and military exercises with India have blossomed to include all three military services with regular annual meetings, and in 2015, Japan joined the US-India Malabar exercises.13

But it was really during the second Abe Cabinet that Japan’s Indo-Pacific vision came into focus. Diplomacy with India intensified during these years as Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi deepened and broadened their strategic discussions. Modi was energizing India’s Look East diplomacy, with an emphasis on looking to East Asian partners to help him balance the growing Chinese maritime presence in and around South Asia. 14 Ties with Japan, as well as with ASEAN’s maritime nations such as Vietnam, helped the Indian Navy expand its reach to the edge of the Pacific Ocean and to consult on the growing concern about how China’s maritime forces might affect the sea lanes that linked East Asian markets to South Asia.15

Abe’s formal announcement of Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision in 2019 was the culmination therefore of various strands of Japanese diplomacy.16 Economic as well as military resources were brought to bear to demonstrate Japan’s “proactive contribution to peace.”17 Fusing Abe’s interests in consolidating security reforms domestically to allow Japan to play a more meaningful role in global security cooperation with ongoing efforts to deepen ties with the other major powers in the Indo-Pacific, this FOIP vision became the foundation of Japan’s strategy. The growing impact of Chinese interests on these nations deepened the commitment to developing a collaborative approach to defining the ideas that should motivate the countries of the Indo-Pacific. 

Strategic Networking in the Quad

Japan’s diplomacy towards the Quad countries is a new effort at strategic networking across the region. While much may be driven by concerns about unpopular Chinese influence in some states, the Quad agenda is also built around the growing demands of the Indo-Pacific countries themselves for greater investment and development. But deepening maritime security cooperation remains an integral component of Quad collaboration. In November, Australia joined the trilateral US-India-Japan Malabar exercises for the first time, realizing a long-held assumption that these four maritime powers will need to ensure that the trade routes from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans remain “free and open.”18

Japan, Australia, and the United States have begun to pool their development resources. Infrastructure building and financing are in critical demand, and these Quad powers are well positioned to contribute to Asia’s growing needs. China’s institution building had raised questions about how to balance concerns over Chinese power with the idea that working with China could produce a good outcome for the region. The AIIB seemed a welcome opportunity for Australia and India, but not for the United States and Japan. Japan’s bureaucrats were torn, with the Ministry of Finance leaning towards participation while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was far more skeptical. In the end, the Asian Development Bank, where Japan had a 15.6% share, provided a good vehicle for Japanese and Chinese consultations on how to finance new infrastructure projects in the region.19 Notably, the AIIB and ADB joined hands on funding a road-building project in Pakistan.20  

Japan’s spending on the region’s infrastructure remained high under Abe as Tokyo worked with Canberra and Washington to bring greater coordinated financing to the task of developing quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific. Concerns about Chinese funding of infrastructure across the region and especially funding that tied poorer nations into long-term debt to China prompted financing alternatives. During the Trump administration in 2018, the US passed legislation to up its ability to direct government financing to infrastructure development by creating the International Development Finance Corporation, doubling the amount of money that Washington had to invest in development projects from $29 to $60 billion.21 With a much greater resources at its disposal, this new US agency could better leverage infrastructure investment in the Indo-Pacific, and as of 2020 has $5.4 billion invested there.22 Australia too began to focus on its financial tools specifically designed to contribute to the needs of its Pacific Island neighbors under Prime Minister Scott Morrison.23 In June 2019, the three organizations responsible for channeling development funding in Japan, Australia, and the United States met to design a shared agenda of priority projects.24 Nonetheless, Japan remains the largest infrastructure investor across the Indo-Pacific. In 2019, Bloomberg reported that Japanese spending in Southeast Asia outstripped that of China, with total Japanese investment at $367 billion compared to China’s $255 billion. The bulk of Japanese investment went to six Southeast Asian nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.25 

While Japan seeks to offer an alternative source of financing to China, this has not prevented Abe from advocating for his Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) vision with China. The slow warming diplomacy between Tokyo and Beijing after 2014 highlighted the growing differences in their regional activities. As high-level summits began in 2018, Abe sought to bridge these differences. In May 2017, Tokyo announced that Nikai Toshihiro, secretary general of the LDP, would lead a delegation to China’s Belt and Road Forum, where he met with President Xi Jinping, who welcomed Japan’s participation, saying “The Belt and Road Initiative can be a new platform and an “experimental field” for China and Japan to achieve mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.”26 

Perhaps even more striking was Abe’s speech in June that year where he discussed “Asia’s Dream.”27 He stated:

Asia is diverse in its cultures, its peoples, and its religions. We will advance economic integration while respecting diversity, from which our dynamism arises. That is Asia’s historic challenge. It is precisely because we respect each other that we should uphold common rules and create a free and fair economic zone. Asia’s dynamism will link the Pacific and Eurasia. I believe this will become a dream shared in common by all the countries of Asia.

Abe pledged $200 billion in infrastructure investment, but also went on to praise the One Belt, One Road vision of Xi Jinping, suggesting that it would meet up eventually with the newly concluded Transpacific Partnership as a means of integrating Asia.28 For some this speech signaled an important shift for Abe, moving his regional vision away from reliance on the United States and more towards a collaborative relationship with China.29 He also took the opportunity to share his vision for the region’s future with Xi during his visit to China on June 27, 2019.30 The FOIP remained Abe’s referent, but effort was made with Beijing to identify projects where the two visions—FOIP and BRI—might overlap.31 Japan and China found common ground, for instance, in developing “smart cities” in Thailand.32

Trade multilateralism clearly became part and parcel of this weaving of the FOIP concept into Japan’s efforts to build a networked approach to regionalism. While Abe must have been sorely disappointed to watch the United States retreat from its Trans-Pacific Partnership, he did not hesitate to move ahead without Washington. Even more striking, once the CPTPP was concluded, Japan signaled its interest in joining the other regional trade initiative, one that included China. Clearly, the Trump administration’s abandonment of multilateral trade was an additional prompt to ensuring Japan was well integrated into all regional trading networks.  As Abe noted in his visit to India in 2018, “amid mounting concerns about protectionism,” he wanted to encourage India to work with Japan  “to realize a substantial conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations this year by the 16 countries including India, towards the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”33  In the end, India did not join RCEP, but Abe’s FOIP concept became the banner for a host of regional initiatives that would knit the nations of the region firmly within multilateral frameworks for cooperation.34

Bringing the Biden administration In

By the time the Biden administration began in January 2021, Japan had becoming a leading driver of Quad activities and was author to the notion of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”   Leadership transitions in Tokyo and Washington raised questions if this would survive the era of Abe and Trump.  Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide demonstrated early on in his tenure continuity in Indo-Pacific diplomacy by making his first foreign trip to Vietnam and Indonesia. In a widely publicized speech in Hanoi on October 19, 2020, Suga said this about ASEAN and Japan’s Indo-Pacific interest, “The ASEAN Outlook powerfully sets forth the rule of law, openness, freedom, transparency and inclusiveness as the ASEAN’s principles for behavior. The fact that it shares many fundamental commonalities with the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” Japan is advocating for is tremendously encouraging for me.”35 Never mentioning China, Suga nonetheless used the occasion to highlight the kinds of behaviors in the region that Japan wanted to work with ASEAN to avoid.

Biden’s new foreign policy team comprised those who had deep regional knowledge and relationships, and within the first few months, they unveiled their own embrace of an Indo-Pacific strategy and the Quad. The Trump administration had begun to develop a full agenda of Indo-Pacific cooperation with Japan, including infrastructure, energy, and digital projects.36   With Biden’s clear emphasis on working closely with US allies, the relationship with Japan was an obvious priority for building an Indo-Pacific approach to deal with China. 

There was no doubt that the Quad was going to be a focal point for the new team. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began with a virtual Quad Foreign Ministerial meeting on February 18, 2021.37 In a virtual summit held on March 12, 2021, Biden welcomed the prime ministers of Japan, Australia, and India to a conversation on how to deepen their cooperation.38 The COVID-19 pandemic was at the top of the agenda, signaling the need for all four countries to work to increase their support for treatment and vaccinations for others across the Asian region.39 But also on the minds of the Quad leaders was the growing need to build resilience in the face of mounting Chinese economic coercion, most recently directed at Australia. Expert working groups on three issues were established:  COVID-19 vaccines, climate change, and critical and emerging technologies, thereby signaling work on this shared agenda would begin right away.40

As the first head of state to visit Biden in Washington, DC, Suga had the first opportunity to reveal Japan’s role in this new Quad agenda. Already, the US-Japan 2+2 meeting in Tokyo on March 16, 2021 outlined its primary motivating influence:  the increasingly worrisome behavior of China. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin found little divergence in their views of China during this meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo, agreeing on a lot of complaints. As the four ministers pointed out:

The United States and Japan acknowledged that China’s behavior, where inconsistent with the existing international order, presents political, economic, military, and technological challenges to the Alliance and to the international community.  The Ministers committed to opposing coercion and destabilizing behavior toward others in the region, which undermines the rules-based international system. They reaffirmed their support for unimpeded lawful commerce and respect for international law, including freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea. The Ministers also expressed serious concerns about recent disruptive developments in the region, such as the China Coast Guard law. Further, they discussed the United States’ unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan under Article V of our security treaty, which includes the Senkaku Islands. The United States and Japan remain opposed to any unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo or to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands. The Ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. They reiterated their objections to China’s unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea and recalled that the July 2016 award of the Philippines-China arbitral tribunal, constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, is final and legally binding on the parties. The Ministers shared serious concerns regarding the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.41

This was echoed in the language of the Biden-Suga Joint Statement, with one additional reference to Taiwan, which drew considerable media attention, especially in Japan.  Not since 1969, when President Richard Nixon met with Prime Minister Sato Eisaku, had Taiwan featured in a joint statement. Rumors of some new US-Japan agreement on alliance coordination on Taiwan led up to the Biden-Suga meeting, but the statement echoed diplomatic language long used by both governments to express their interests in “peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.”42 Media commentary ranged considerably in evaluating Suga’s visit to Washington, DC.  The right-leaning Sankei criticized the Joint Statement for not going far enough, while the left-leaning Asahi suggested Suga had simply gone along with Washington’s hardline China stance.43

But both the US and Japan were making their interests known in other ways. Biden had sent a personal delegation led by his friend, former Senator Chris Dodd, to Taipei to meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Accompanying Dodd were two former deputy secretaries of state, Richard Armitage, who had served in the Bush administration, and Jim Steinberg, who had served in the Obama administration. Tsai made it clear that she welcomed the expression of support for her country’s defenses, aligning herself with the growing regional consensus on the need for Indo-Pacific cooperation in the face of China’s “adventurous maneuvers and provocations.”44  Japanese officials were also making their Taiwan interests clear as Suga visited Washington, DC.  Defense Minister Kishi traveled to Japan’s southernmost island of Yonaguni to demonstrate just how close Taiwan was to Japanese territory. Kishi shared his views on his Twitter account, remarking on storm clouds that impeded his ability to see Japan’s closest southern neighbor in the East China Sea.45

Yet less noted was the fact that Suga arrived in Washington, DC, emphasizing Japan’s economic goals. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Suga pointed out that Japan’s national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was his primary goal and that ensuring Japan’s prosperity was his long-term strategy.46  In contrast with the Biden administration’s rollout of their Indo-Pacific framing for US diplomacy, technological innovation and especially digitalization rather than diplomacy seemed to loom larger in Suga’s thinking than a complex strategy of regional coalition-building. Both leaders wanted to highlight their willingness to support each other’s priorities. Referenced in the Biden-Suga Joint Statement were two initiatives, one on coordinating US-Japan approaches to climate change, a priority of Biden, and one on building a new agenda for innovation aimed at the “post-5G” world of Suga’s imagination.47

Japan’s Aim: A Flexible Quad

At the heart of Japan’s Quad ambitions is a desire to ensure that the United States remains an active and forward-leaning force for stability in maritime Asia. Tokyo’s diplomacy has gradually evolved to build the relationships among Japan, the US, Australia and India into greater alignment on supporting the status quo in the face of a growing China challenge. This is no Asian NATO, however. Even Japan has little interest in a “containment” strategy, as Abe demonstrated in his effort to deploy his FOIP vision in discussions with Beijing. Moreover, economic and trade interests led the Abe government to see its vision as potentially overlapping with China’s own expansive vision of a new Silk Road.48 Eurasia and maritime Asia may be able to realize a fusion of Japanese and Chinese commerce and investment.  But Tokyo continues to see the need to advocate for the rules that govern the region’s pursuit of prosperity. 

Similarly, Japan has pursued more opportunities for demonstrating its interest in a maritime presence for its Self Defense Force across the Pacific and Indian oceans. Embedded in coalitions with like-minded partners, first and foremost with its ally the United States, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force is now a welcome addition to the region’s navies. Close security consultations with Australia have great promise, and the growing strategic dialogue with India offers a new opportunity for military cooperation. Neither of these relationships, however, match the integrated military operations between the Japanese Self Defense Force and the US Indo-Pacific forces. 

As Japan has varied its engagement with Quad partners, one more dimension of its Indo-Pacific approach has borne fruit. Tokyo has worked hard over the past several years to persuade European nations of their own interests in the Indo-Pacific region. France and the UK both have increased their naval exercises in the region and have sought to join the Quad partners in their conversation about the norms and principles that should continue to govern the region’s commercial and diplomatic relations. The UK, France, and Germany now have their own Indo-Pacific strategies, and the European Union just released its EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.49

The Indo-Pacific vision Tokyo has been building reflects the realization that the world’s geopolitics are now centered there. As China’s rise has challenged old conceptions of how power is distributed across the globe, Japan seeks to prevent that power from changing the premises that have underpinned its own postwar success story. The Quad is a coalition of like-minded countries that Tokyo increasingly looks to for help in stabilizing its security environment but also where there is common interest in protecting the “free and open” norms that have allowed all of Asia to rise.

1. The White House, “Quad Leaders’ Joint Statement: ‘The Spirit of the Quad,’” March 12, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/12/quad-leaders-joint-statement-the-spirit-of-the-quad/#:~:text=We%20strive%20for%20a%20region,tragedy%2C%20the%20tsunami%20of%202004

2. Abe Shinzo, “Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond,” Project Syndicate, December 27, 2012, https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/a-strategic-alliance-for-japan-and-india-by-shinzo-abe?barrier=accesspaylog

3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “自由で開かれたインド太平洋,” April 1, 2021, https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/page25_001766.html

4. Sheila A. Smith, “Japan’s Security Identity in the Indo-Pacific,” in Implementing the Indo-Pacific: Japan’s Region Building Initiatives, Perth USAsia Centre, August 2019.

5. Weston Konishi, “Will Japan Be Out of Tune with a Concert of Democracies?” East West Center Asia-Pacific Bulletin, June 27, 2008, https://www.eastwestcenter.org/system/tdf/private/apb019.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=32278

6. This ranking is calculated by adding the percentage values of imports and exports for each nation and ranking the largest to smallest. By this calculation, India would be ranked twenty-first. Observatory of Economic Complexity,” Japan Country Profile,” February 2021, https://oec.world/en/profile/country/jpn

7. Japanese exports to Australia grew far more slowly from $8.6 billion in 2000 to $14.5 billion in 2019.  Trade with Australia comprises 1.9% of Japan’s exports and 5.6% of its imports. United Nations, “Comtrade Database,”. https://comtrade.un.org/data/ (accessed April 28, 2021)

8. Japanese External Trade Organization, “Japanese Trade and Investment Statistics,” January 2021, https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/reports/statistics.html

9. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” February 1, 2021, https://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/in-force/cptpp/comprehensive-and-progressive-agreement-for-trans-pacific-partnership

10. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “Japan,” Development Cooperation Profiles 2020, https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/b8cf3944-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/b8cf3944-en#section-d1e22636 (accessed April 28, 2021)

11. Japanese exports to India grew from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $11 billion in 2019, while imports grew only from $2.6 billion to $5.4 billion in the same time frame. United Nations, “Comtrade Database,” https://comtrade.un.org/data/ (accessed April 28, 2021)

12. US Department of State Archive, “Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Joint Statement,” March 20, 2006, https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/63411.htm;
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Joint Statement: Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership,” December 16, 2006, https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/india/pdfs/joint0612.pdf

13. Ministry of Defense of Japan, “Defense of Japan 2020,” p. 531; Vivek Raghuvanshi, “Japan To Join Malabar as Permanent Participant,” Defense News, October 13, 2015, https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2015/10/13/japan-to-join-malabar-as-permanent-participant/

14. Ministry of External Affairs of India, “Annual Report 2013-2014,” p. iv, http://www.mea.gov.in/Uploads/PublicationDocs/23873_EXTERNAL_AFFAIR__Eng__AR_2013-14.pdf

15. Pranay Sharma, “India, Vietnam strengthen defence ties amid shared concerns over China’s assertiveness,” South China Morning Post, December 23, 2020, https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3115104/india-vietnam-strengthen-defence-ties-amid-shared-concerns-over
Ministry of External Affairs of India, “2nd India—Vietnam Maritime Security Dialogue,” April 6, 2021, https://www.mea.gov.in/press-releases.htm?dtl/33772/2nd_India__Vietnam_Maritime_Security_Dialogue_April_06_2021

16. Prime Minister of Japan and his Cabinet [Kantei], “Policy Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the 198th Session of the Diet,” January 28, 2019, https://japan.kantei.go.jp/98_abe/statement/201801/_00003.html

17. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan’s Security Policy,” April 6, 2016, https://www.mofa.go.jp/fp/nsp/page1we_000079.html#:~:text=Under%20the%20policy%20of%20%E2%80%9CProactive,and%20stability%20in%20the%20region.

18. Australian Government Department of Defence, “Australia joins Exercise MALABAR 2020,” November 3, 2020, https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/lreynolds/media-releases/australia-joins-exercise-malabar-2020#:~:text=Australia%20has%20joined%20key%20regional,of%20regional%20peace%20and%20security

19. Asian Development Bank, “ADB Member Fact Sheet: Japan,” May 2020, https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/27772/jpn-2019.pdf; Ankit Panda, “At First Annual Meeting, China-led AIIB Approves First Loans,” The Diplomat, June 27, 2016.

20. Asian Development Bank, “ADB Approves First Cofinancing with AIIB for a Pakistan Road Project,” June 10, 2016, https://www.adb.org/news/adb-approves-first-cofinancing-aiib-pakistan-road-project

21. US International Development Finance Corporation, “US International Development Finance Corporation Begins Operations,” January 2, 2020, https://www.dfc.gov/media/press-releases/us-international-development-finance-corporation-begins-operations

22. US International Development Finance Corporation, “Our Investment Portfolio,” https://www.dfc.gov/ (accessed April 28, 2021)

23. Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, “About,” https://www.aiffp.gov.au/about (accessed April 28, 2021); Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Pacific Regional—Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific,” July 2019, https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/pacific/development-assistance/australian-infrastructure-financing-facility-for-the-pacific; Lisa Cornish, “Australian aid’s new focus: Infrastructure finance, security, sports,” Devex, November 19, 2018, https://www.devex.com/news/australian-aid-s-new-focus-infrastructure-finance-security-sports-93855

24. US International Development Finance Corporation, “OPIC, JBIC, and DFAT/Efic Reaffirm Commitment to Indo-Pacific Infrastructure Development,” June 25, 2019, https://www.dfc.gov/media/opic-press-releases/opic-jbic-and-dfatefic-reaffirm-commitment-indo-pacific-infrastructure. For an example of trilateral cooperation on specific projects, see the details on the undersea cable for Palau. Hirosei Yohei, “Japan, US and Australia to finance undersea cable for Palau,” Nikkei, October 28, 2020, https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Japan-US-and-Australia-to-finance-undersea-cable-for-Palau

25. Michelle Jamrisko, “China No Match for Japan in Southeast Asia Infrastructure Race,” Bloomberg, June 22, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-23/china-no-match-for-japan-in-southeast-asia-infrastructure-race

26. Harry Dempsey and Yoichi Funabashi, “Japan opens the way to cooperation on China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” East Asia Forum, July 10, 2017, https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/07/10/japan-opens-the-way-to-cooperation-on-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative/ 

27. Prime Minister of Japan and his Cabinet [Kantei], “’Asia’s Dream: Linking the Pacific and Eurasia’ – Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Banquet of the 23rd International Conference on The Future of Asia,” June 25, 2017, http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201706/1222768_11579.html

28. Abe noted, “This year a landmark change occurred on the map of the Eurasian continent. This year marked the first time that the city of Yiwu, China and the United Kingdom were connected by a freight train, which crossed the English Channel. The “One Belt, One Road” initiative holds the potential to connect East and West as well as the diverse regions found in between.”

29. Harry Dempsey and Yoichi Funabashi, “Japan opens the way to cooperation on China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”

30. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan-China Summit Meeting and Dinner,” June 27, 2019, https://www.mofa.go.jp/a_o/c_m1/cn/page3e_001046.html

31. Cho Yusho and Kyohei Suga, “Xi-Abe summit to trigger dozens of cross-border deals,” Nikkei, October 24, 2018, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-deals/Xi-Abe-summit-to-trigger-dozens-of-cross-border-deals

32. Shigeta Shunsuke, “Thai ‘smart city’ to be first of 50 Japan-China joint projects,” Nikkei, October 25, 2018, https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Thai-smart-city-to-be-first-of-50-Japan-China-joint-projects

33. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan-India Summit Meeting,” October 29, 2018, https://www.mofa.go.jp/s_sa/sw/in/page3_002603.html

34. The 15 countries within RCEP represent around $38,813 billion or 30% of global GDP. India withdrew from these negotiations in November 2019. New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” November 15, 2017, https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/free-trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements-concluded-but-not-in-force/regional-comprehensive-economic-partnership-rcep/rcep-overview

35. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Building together the future of Indo-Pacific,” October 19, 2020,

36. Abe and Trump held a summit on September 26, 2018, releasing a joint statement on their cooperation toward maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. These sentiments were echoed in another summit on May 27, 2019, in which they released a statement on their efforts in the Energy, digital, and Infrastructure sectors to promote their commitment to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan-US Summit Meeting,” September 26, 2018, https://www.mofa.go.jp/na/na1/us/page3e_000938.html; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Examples of Japan-US cooperation to maintain and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific,” September 26, 2018, https://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000436132.pdf; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Japan-US Summit Meeting,” May 27, 2019, https://www.mofa.go.jp/na/na1/us/page4e_001022.html#section5; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Factsheet: Recent Efforts of Japan and the United States in Energy, Digital and Infrastructure sectors toward achieving a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific,’” May 27, 2019, https://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000482895.pdf

37. US Department of State, “Secretary Blinken’s Call with Quad Ministers,” February 18, 2021, https://www.state.gov/secretary-blinkens-call-with-quad-ministers/

38. The White House, “Remarks by President Biden, Prime Minister Modi of India, Prime Minister Morrison of Australia, and Prime Minister Suga of Japan in the Virtual Quad Leaders Summit,” March 12, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/03/12/remarks-by-president-biden-prime-minister-modi-of-india-prime-minister-morrison-of-australia-and-prime-minister-suga-of-japan-in-virtual-meeting-of-the-quad/

39. The White House, “Quad Leaders’ Joint Statement: ‘The Spirit of the Quad’,” March 12, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/12/quad-leaders-joint-statement-the-spirit-of-the-quad/

40. The White House, “Fact Sheet: Quad Summit,” March 12, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/12/fact-sheet-quad-summit/

41. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “Joint Statement of the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2),” March 16, 2021, https://www.mofa.go.jp/files/100161035.pdf

42. The White House, “US- Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: ‘US—JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA,’” April 16, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/16/u-s-japan-joint-leaders-statement-u-s-japan-global-partnership-for-a-new-era/

43. “社説検証】日米首脳会談「米中に自制求めよ」と朝日 産経「日本は防衛力充実を」,” Sankei, April 21, 2021, https://www.sankei.com/column/news/210421/clm2104210002-n1.html

44. The full quote and analysis are available at Sheila A Smith, “Much Ado About Taiwan,” CFR.org, April 21, 2021, https://www.cfr.org/blog/much-ado-about-taiwan

45. Kishi Nobuo,” 与那国島に到着,” Twitter.com, April 17, 2021, https://twitter.com/KishiNobuo/status/1383305833614774280

46. Suga Yoshihide, “Japan’s Path to Growth and Stability in the Pacific,” The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/japans-path-to-growth-and-stability-in-the-pacific-11618437391

47. The White House, “US- Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: ‘US—JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA,’” April 16, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/16/u-s-japan-joint-leaders-statement-u-s-japan-global-partnership-for-a-new-era/

48. David Tweed, “China’s New Silk Road,” Bloomberg, April 16, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/china-s-silk-road

49. Government of the UK, “Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy,” March 16, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/975077/Global_Britain_in_a_Competitive_Age-_the_Integrated_Review_of_Security__Defence__Development_and_Foreign_Policy.pdf; Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, “France’s Partnerships in the Indo-Pacific,” April, 2021,
https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/en_a4_indopacifique_16p_2021_v2_cle4ace48.pdf; Auswärtiges Amt, “Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific,” September 2, 2020, https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/blob/2380514/f9784f7e3b3fa1bd7c5446d274a4169e/200901-indo-pazifik-leitlinien–1–data.pdf; European External Action Service, “EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” April 19, 2021, https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/96740/EU%20Strategy%20for%20Cooperation%20in%20the%20Indo-Pacific#:~:text=The%20new%20Strategy%20launched%20in,human%20rights%20and%20international%20law.

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