Tensions have increased in recent years in both the East China and South China Seas, with territorial disputes involving a number of nations becoming more heated. Under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Japan has responded to the new security situation in the region, and China’s rise in particular, by initiating a more active and muscular foreign and security policy, which also involves a reinterpretation of the Japanese constitution (to allow for collective self-defence), the abandonment of a decades-long ban on defence-technology exports, an increase in military expenditures, and changes to its official development-cooperation policy. These policy changes have not been welcomed by China or the two Koreas. Is the region heading towards larger conflicts that might spiral out of control? What will Japan’s role in these conflicts be? And how can the country contribute to establishing trust among the nations concerned?
The discussion will open with a presentation by Professor Yoshihide Soeya, a professor of political science at Keio University in Tokyo and one of Japan’s most well-known experts on international relations. His work focuses on politics and security in East Asia as well as on Japan’s diplomacy and external relations.
The moderator and discussant, Professor Patrick Köllner, is director of the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies and a professor of political science, with a focus on political systems in East Asia, at the University of Hamburg.