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In Defense of the East Asian Regional Order: Explaining Japan’s Newfound Interest in Southeast Asia

There has been much debate about the motivations and ramifications of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire for Japan to play a more proactive role in strategic affairs in Southeast Asia. The paper argues that the desire to do so stems from a broadening of Japan’s interests in East Asia from one of merely defending Japanese administration and control over what Tokyo calls the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea to concern about the future of the maritime and strategic order in East Asia more generally vis-à-vis China’s rise.

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