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Japan isn’t stepping aside as China steps up

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NEW YORK – China doesn’t quite have the game sewn up.

So bad is the West’s public relations standing in the era of Trump and Brexit that it’s easy to see Chinese ascendancy as a welcome stabilizer in markets, finance, economics and trade. Awe at Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” initiative is a prime example, conveying the unhealthy notion that democracies can’t do big things anymore and China is sweeping all before it.

The same mythology characterizes China as the only country that matters in Asia. Suddenly in the Western mind, Asia is China and China is Asia. (Never mind that as recently as the 1990s, many people said the same thing about Japan.)

Writing off the rest of Asia overlooks the strength of Japanese companies and steps by Tokyo to steer economic policy — not to mention development aid — toward countering Chinese influence. A secondary theme is the sense that America, Japan’s closest economic and security ally since 1945, is increasingly inward looking and unreliable.

Japan needs to diversify its portfolio. The........

© The Japan Times