The Significance of Japan in the Changing Conjuncture of the Asia-Pacific Region

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It can be claimed that the Asia-Pacific region is at the centre of the global competition for influence and power struggle. The presence of China and North Korea and the interest of the United States of America (USA) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the region due to these states are the most important reasons for this situation.

Moreover, it can be said that Japan is both one of the most important and most prominent states in the region. As a matter of fact, Japan is the third largest economy in the world.[1] Moreover, it can be argued that Tokyo has recently become the most prominent actor in the Asia-Pacific in terms of both its geopolitical and geostrategic position and its growing military power. In addition to all of these, Japan’s foreign policy is undergoing a serious breakthrough process. Indeed, Tokyo’s foreign policy has assumed a very proactive structure.

To exemplify this situation, Japan joined the United Nations Security Council in 2023 as a non-permanent temporary member.[2] In this regard, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that Tokyo will aim to contribute to and increase the functionality of the United Nations (UN) and will work on the realization and expansion of UN reforms.[3]

On the other hand, Japan has assumed the G7 Presidency for 2023.[4] In this framework, it was also decided to hold the G7 2023 Summit in Hiroshima.[5] It can be stated that all these developments are evidence of Japan’s rising and increasingly proactive foreign policy. This is because the current developments make Japan a state that is increasing its importance, influence and impact both regionally and globally. Therefore, it can be asserted that Tokyo’s positioning is crucial in the competition between Washington and Beijing and Japan has become a more effective actor in the eyes of the West.

It is also known that NATO is planning to open a liaison office in Japan.[6] Indeed, NATO’s stated aim here is to achieve closer co-operation and co-ordination with Australia, South Korea and New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific. The plan also envisages both NATO and Tokyo working together against cyber threats, disruptive technologies and disinformation.[7] This demonstrates that Japan is seen as a key ally by NATO.

At the same time, the West sees Tokyo as a key actor in the containment of China. This key actor concept may enable Japan to assume a central role in the Western struggle against China and North Korea. Indeed, the US and NATO may be aiming for a Japan-centred struggle in the Asia-Pacific.

To conclude, it can be said that the Asia-Pacific region is the geography where the security dilemma is experienced the most. It can also be argued that following the developments in Japan’s foreign policy, a large part of global security dynamics can be evaluated through this region. Therefore, it can be predicted that the polarization in the region will increase and the possibility of hot conflicts will rise.

[1] “How Japan Become the Third Largest Economy in the World Japanese Economic Miracle From the 1950s to 1990s”, Data Driven Investor, economy-in-the-world-ba28f6ea0dc7, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2023).

[2] “Japan to be Tested as Nonpermanent U.N. Security Council Member”, The Japan Times,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2023).

[3] “Japan’s Foreign Policy to be Tested by China, Russia as Non – Permanent UN Security Council Member”, South China Morning Post, tested-china-russia-non-permanent-un-security-council-member, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2023).

[4] “Japan, UK Sign ‘Hugely Significant’ Defence Deal”, Al Jazeera, japan-uk-sign-hugely-significant-new-defence-deal, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2023).

[5] “Chinese Warships Sail Around Japan as Tensions Rise Ahead of G7 Summit”, Cable News Network, https://, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2023).

[6] “NATO Planning to Open Japan Office to Deepen Asia – Pacific Ties – Report”, The Guardian, https:// report, (Date of Accession: 05.05.2023).

[7] “NATO to Open Japan Office, Deepening Indo-Pacific Engagement, Nıkkei Asia, Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/NATO-to-open-Japan-office-deepening-Indo-Pacific-engagement, (Date of Accession: 05.05.2023).

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten, 2021 yılında Yalova Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden “Amerikan Dış Politikası” başlıklı bitirme teziyle ve 2023 yılında da Anadolu Üniversitesi Açık Öğretim Fakültesi Dış Ticaret bölümünden mezun olmuştur. Halihazırda Marmara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda Tezli Yüksek Lisans öğrenimine devam eden Gülten, lisans eğitimi esnasında Erasmus+ programı çerçevesinde Lodz Üniversitesi Uluslararası ve Politik Çalışmalar Fakültesi’nde bir dönem boyunca öğrenci olarak bulunmuştur. ANKASAM’da Asya-Pasifik Araştırma Asistanı olarak çalışan Gülten’in başlıca ilgi alanları; Amerikan Dış Politikası, Asya-Pasifik ve Uluslararası Hukuk’tur. Gülten, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.