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This article focuses of the ASEAN-Japan relations in the context of Indo-Pacific, recently introduced as a concept along with the ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) strategy purported by the Quad, including Japan. This had been in response to the changing structure of the Indo-Pacific region, which has been characterised with developments such as rising China, Sino-Japan rivalry, and declining US commitment in the region. This research seeks to study the factors that affect ASEAN-Japan cooperation in the region. This research employing the use of thematic analysis and process-tracing. This research found three factors that affects ASEAN-Japan cooperation in the region. Firstly, China is the primary factor, as the rise of China and its growing influence in the region prompted Japan to counter-balance against China through its FOIP, while ASEAN feared China’s reaction, making ASEAN hesitant to accept Japan’s FOIP.  Secondly is the Quad, which has been perceived negatively by China, and anymore strengthening of the Quad would further provoke China, reinforcing the antagonistic relationship between China and the Quad, which may give pause to ASEAN to accept FOIP. This research has updated the developments and analysis involving ASEAN and Japan in the Indo-Pacific. Thirdly, there is a need to deconstruct the hostile perceptions and deescalate tensions between China and the Quad members. Japan will need to continue framing the FOIP to be more inclusive and accommodative to China, while convincing the US to shift its hostile perceptions towards China.

Article Details

Author Biography


Zulhilmi Hazim Abd Malek1, Mohd Ikbal Mohd Huda2*

Centre For History, Politics and International Affairs,

Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia1

Centre For History, Politics and International Affairs,

Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia2

*Coordinator, M.Soc.Sc. in Strategy and Diplomacy,

Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities,

The National University of Malaysia.


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