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Japan must start drafting an Indo-Pacific charter

20 5 2
25.05.2020

After watching dozens of webinars, including one co-hosted by the Canon Institute for Global Studies and the Stimson Center, it seems clear that no one knows what will happen to the international order in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reason is obvious. COVID-19 only accelerates or exacerbates ongoing trends or courses of human action and inaction. Who will dominate solely depends on how people behave, not on the disease itself.

What Tokyo must do now is to come up with a road map for Japan to minimize the damage of pandemic and to maximize national and global interests. For the following reasons, Tokyo should start drafting an Indo-Pacific Charter for the post-pandemic world.

1) Japan’s political geography will not change.

Plagues do not alter natural geography. Japan has been and will continue to be a maritime power located off the coasts of Eastern Eurasia in the Pacific. To maximize its national interests, Japan must secure its sea lines of communication while maintaining a balance of power on the continent.

This does not automatically mean that China must be deterred or contained. But the Chinese economy’s seemingly quick recovery from the pandemic as well as a lack of global leadership in Washington could weaken the Western democracies’ ability to deter Beijing’s increasingly assertive behavior.

2) The U.S.-China hegemonic rivalry will intensify.

COVID-19 and its potential mutants will........

© The Japan Times