Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the world's evolving digital infrastructure competition, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison plan to sign an agreement strengthening their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), a partnership between Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S. to further regional cooperation and balance against China, including Chinese infrastructure development, Nikkei reports.
The U.S. and Japan now need to think bigger, harder, and in greater unison about how to maximize their collective impact on urgent regional and global challenges. Considering the dramatic rise of China, the two like-minded nations -- the world's largest and third-largest economies -- would be best served by focusing on the top policy challenges facing the Indo-Pacific and world economy in the new COVID-impacted era.
This paper discusses the geopolitical dynamics of the Indo-Pacific, including the impacts of Covid-19, and emerging foreign policy initiatives, and offers recommendations for how Japan can solidify a comprehensive leadership role in this critical, multipolar region.
Japan, the U.S., and Australia will finance a $30M internet cable connection to Palau, the first three-way cooperation on infrastructure under Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aimed at promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, Nikkei reports.
Japan has signed a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal with the United Kingdom that will allow Japan to support the UK's 5G network development, following a ban on 5G equipment from Chinese supplier Huawei in July.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would like to institutionalize the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with Japan, India, and Australia to build out a "true security framework" as a counterweight to China, according to remarks the Secretary made in Tokyo at a gathering of the four countries' foreign ministers, Nikkei reports.
Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga plans to visit Vietnam and Indonesia in mid-October to strengthen ties with ASEAN and curb China's regional ambitions, a move seen as a continuation of former Prime Minister Abe's policies on prioritizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Government officials expect to finalize the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, as early as November 2020. However, Australia and Japan's lingering misgivings about China's alleged political interference and 5G market access have spurred attempts to court India, a former RCEP
The U.S. ban on supplying Huawei could take a $26 billion yearly toll on tech manufacturers in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, Nikkei reports.
Japan will stop financing the construction of coal-fired power plants overseas in response to criticism of its backing for the carbon-intensive energy source as part of the country's push to build foreign infrastructure projects, Nikkei reports.
Japanese telecommunications group NTT announced Thursday that it will invest 64.5 billion yen in IT services group NEC to launch what both companies called a "made-in-Japan" alliance in 5G technology, Nikkei reports.
The United Kingdom is seeking a Free Trade Agreement with Japan and CPTPP membership in hopes of lowering trade barriers and increasing cooperation with allies on technology and manufacturing, Nikkei reports.
The Indonesian government has begun discussions on possible Japanese participation in a planned high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung, hoping to spur progress on the delayed Chinese-led project as costs mount, Nikkei reports.
The rollout of 5G services in Japan, originally planned in March, have been hampered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nikkei reports.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries are reassessing supply chains dominated by China, including Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed companies to diversify, Nikkei reports.
The Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan has requested $18 billion in aid from the government due to decreased demand as a result of COVID-19, Nikkei reports.
Restrictions and lockdown orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak are forcing manufacturers to stop production, negatively impacting supply chains. Steel manufacturers may temporarily halt blast furnaces for the first time since 2009 and Japanese telecoms expect a delay in 5G rollout due to supply chain issues, Nikkei reports.
Japanese lawmakers are pushing for the development of a digital yen in response to concerns that China could set international standards for digital currency technology, aided by the prevalence of the Belt and Road in countries with developing financial systems, Nikkei reports.
Growing investment in satellite communications, especially in Asia, indicates that small satellites will increasingly be used in combination with 5G to meet demand for high speed connectivity, Nikkei reports.
The Blue Dot Network (BDN)—an effort by the United States, Japan, and Australia to promote high-quality global infrastructure—holds promise and should be encouraged, but many unanswered questions about its implementation will need to be addressed for the initiative to achieve its desired impact.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has crafted a China policy that mixes caution with engagement, for example, expanding the U.S.-Japan security alliance while also jointly funding Belt and Road projects, Nikkei reports.
New legislation will allow Japan to support the construction of liquefied natural gas terminals across Asia, positioning Tokyo to take advantage of a rapidly growing LNG market, Nikkei reports.
Indonesia is seeking further Japanese investment in the Natuna Islands following tensions with Beijing over a standoff between Chinese and Indonesian vessels in neighboring waters, Nikkei reports.
Alternative infrastructure investment initiatives led by Japan, India, and Australia indicate that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is likely to face increased pressure in 2020, Nikkei reports.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev is looking to carry out projects with Japan worth over $6 billion to establish closer bilateral relations in areas such as power generation and agriculture, Nikkei reports.
In order to accomplish a nationwide 5G rollout by the first half of 2020, Malaysia is looking to Chinese and Japanese telecommunications companies to supply the needed technology and expertise. Proposals are currently dominated by Huawei, and Malaysian officials have affirmed the country's willingness to work with the controversial Chinese firm, Nikkei reports.
According to Fitch Solutions, Tokyo-backed projects in Southeast Asia have topped $367 billion, outspending China and making Japan the top provider of infrastructure and development aid in the region, Nikkei reports.
Indonesia is in talks with Japan and the U.S. to establish a sovereign wealth fund for infrastructure and other development projects. The fund will help cover the estimated $33 billion needed to develop the country's new capital in East Kalimantan, Nikkei reports.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is of significant concern to India, which views the corridor as a violation of its sovereignty, according to India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. However, in an interview with Nikkei, Jaishankar did not criticize the broader Belt and Road Initiative, stating that each country has the right to its own policies.
As the U.S. ban on sales to Huawei forces the company to turn to other suppliers, Huawei is increasingly looking to Japan for procurement and R&D collaboration, Nikkei reports.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation is backing Sri Lanka's first issuance of bonds in the Japanese market amid concerns about rising debt levels in the South Asian country.
U.S. Exim Bank and Japan's state-backed Nippon Export and Investment Insurance have signed a deal enabling them to jointly mitigate export risks faced by Japanese-led energy and other infrastructure projects that have U.S. participation, Nikkei reports.
While Chinese carriers are expected to lauch the world's largest 5G network, on Thursday, Sony, NTT and Intel announced that they will form a partnership to work on 6G mobile network technology, to be announced around 2030. The three new partners want to establish an organization in the U.S. by next spring, reports Nikkei.
During a recent trip to Tokyo, Pakistan's President, Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi, expressed hope that both Japan and China will continue to invest in the country's infrastructure to help spur economic development, Nikkei reports.
The provincial government of Sindh, Pakistan is looking to Japan for funding for the Karachi Circular Railway, previously funded through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Nikkei reports.
On October 17, the CSIS Japan Chair hosted the governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Tadashi Maeda, to discuss the role of infrastructure development in maintaining a free and open Pacific region and responding to China's Belt and Road Initiative.
In a recent poll of 50 major Japanese companies, 80 percent reported that they are using Huawei, despite international concern about security risks. This statistic does not take into account the many companies which declined to respond, Nikkei reports.
The timetable for an $83 billion project to build an ultrafast magnetic-levitation rail line between Tokyo and Nagoya has been delayed due to environmental concerns, Nikkei reports.
Leaders from Japan and Africa on Friday agreed on the need for infrastructure development that accounts for a country's ability to pay off debt, a veiled reference to China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Japan is encouraging its companies to work with African startups in a push to boost its national profile on the continent and compete with Chinese investment under its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, Nikkei reports.
Japan has pledged to invest $2.84 billion in Africa's infrastructure to encourage transparency, in what some have interpreted as a response to corruption allegations linked to China's Belt and Road Initiative.
On June 28-29, government leaders representing 85 percent of the global economy convened for the fourteenth G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. In the wake of the meeting, the CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy hosted experts including Japan's ambassador to the G20, Koji Tomita, to discuss major outcomes, including China's endorsement of the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.
Japan will announce a new plan for Mynamar's Dawei special economic zone that focuses on building a port that will export to India. The proposal comes as China is building and financing Kyaukphyu port, increasing its economic influence in the country, reports Nikkei.
On the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a trilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss areas for cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific, Nikkei reports.
It is critical that public-sector officials responsible for infrastructure development—both at the local and national levels—commit to transparent practices to secure sustainable financing mechanisms.
Government-backed lenders in Japan, the U.S., and Australia plan to issue a statement on their joint infrastructure efforts, including possible joint-financing for an liquefied natural gas terminal in Papua New Guinea. The three countries agreed in November to collaborate on infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific as an alternative to China's Belt and Road initiative, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
The U.S.-China trade war has spurred ASEAN members to complete the negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The Asian leaders will also look to find areas of cooperation in digital infrastructure, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
Newly seated World Bank President David Malpass says the multilateral organization is working hard to ensure Beijing improves transparency in lending to countries involved in its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.