Strategic Possibilities and Limitations for Abe’s Japan in Southeast Asia

Japan enjoys advantages not applicable to China. While China is isolated strategically, Japan is the most important alliance partner of America’s in Asia and the U.S.-Japan alliance remains the bedrock of the San Francisco alliance system in the region. Japan has increasingly strong and meaningful security partnerships with Australia, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. Japan’s security relationship with Singapore and Malaysia is far more meaningful than the relationship those countries have with China. As the building and sustaining of order is a collective enterprise — with great powers playing a disproportionate role but with the acquiescence of smaller powers — Japan is well positioned to play such a major role (including in Southeast Asia) even as its legal post-war limitations ought to be kept in mind

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