On November 20th, 2020 the Centre for the Study of Global Japan welcomed Professor Saori N. Katada, from the University of Southern California, to present her new book, ‘Japan’s New Regional Reality – Geoeconomic Strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

The presentation explored the transformation of Japan’s regional economic strategy since the mid-1990s. Professor Katada noted that the Japanese government’s Liberal turn started when Japan became a mature economy in the 21st century. This shifted the balance of power between China and Japan, as well as China and the United States, which propelled Japan to take on its new geoeconomic rule-setting strategy in the context of the Asia-Pacific political economy. As outlined in her book, this was the beginning of Japan’s geoeconomic transformation characterized by a shift from bilateralism, informality, and neomercantilism, to a new liberal strategy emphasizing regional institution building and rule setting.

The presentation covered a wide range of economic issues including trade and investment, money and finance, and foreign aid, that Japan’s geoeconomic strategy took on in its transformation. Professor Katada noted the especially consequential effects of the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2016 on Japan’s geoeconomic trajectory. With the absence of the United States, Japan took a leading position in advancing TPP agreements and mediating negotiations among signatories. This was a major shift in Japan’s geoeconomic strategy which propelled it forward as a leader of the Liberal World Order.

The Q&A session which followed the seminar was moderated by Professor Phillip Y. Lipscy, Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Japan. During the session, Professor Katada addressed important questions surrounding Japan-Canada relations and Japan’s strategy in the growing China-U.S. competition. Thanks to the online format of this presentation, students from around the world were in attendance.

The Centre would like to thank Professor Saori N. Katada for delivering an insightful presentation and the global audience in attendance for their engaged participation.

View full video here