A Western Pacific Union

A Western Pacific Union

Japan's New Geopolitical Strategy

Supervised by Kitaoka Shinichi
Translated by David Noble and Marie Speed

Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture

Political Science

¥5,500 + tax

ISBN 9784866582436
210 mm x 148 mm / 512 pp. / February 2023

The Cold War ended more than thirty years ago, but the world—and within it, the countries of Asia and the Pacific—still struggles to establish a peaceful and prosperous community of nations. Many midsized and smaller states, caught in the webs of superpower rivalry, have not felt their interests adequately represented by existing alliances and international organizations.

This volume envisions an alternative: a Western Pacific Union (WPU), conceived as a loosely integrated community of nations stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, that would counterbalance superpower dominance and give greater agency in global affairs to its members by coordinating their voices and interests.

The initiative for this proposal comes from Japan, with Dr. Kitaoka Shinichi, former ambassador to the United Nations and former president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, leading a team of established scholars, younger researchers, and specialists in articulating the concept of the WPU and dissecting the challenges facing its realization. The core of the book is a country-by-country treatment of the recent history and international relations of each potential member state and the prospects for its successful involvement in this nascent community of nations.

Our world is increasingly integrated through advanced technologies and global commerce, but in many ways still remains fractious and divided. Finding peaceful, equitable, sustainable solutions to the issues confronting humanity demands new ideas and strategies. This volume addresses these needs with a new geopolitical vision for Asia and the Pacific.

KITAOKA Shinichi (Prefaces and Introduction/Supervising Editor): former president (2015–2022) and now special advisor to the president of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

AIZAWA Nobuhiro (Chapter 1 and Chapter 8): associate professor Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University

TAKAGI Yusuke (Chapter 2): associate professor at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

IKEBE Ryo (Chapter 3): professor in School of Commerce, Senshu University

KAKIZAKI Ichiro (Chapter 4): professor in School of International Liberal Arts, Yokohama City University

KUDO Toshihiro (Chapter 5): professor at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

SUZUKI Ayame (Chapter 6 and Brunei Darussalam): professor in Faculty of Law, Doshisha University

YAMADA Hiroshi (Chapter 7): associate professor at Niigata University of International and Information Studies

Souknilanh KEOLA (Chapter 8): deputy director of the Economic Geography Studies Group at the Development Studies Center of the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization

KOGA Kei (Chapter 9): associate professor in Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme in School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University

HAMADA Maya (Chapter 10, New Zealand): security cooperation coordinator in MOFA's Foreign Policy Bureau, International Peace and Security Cooperation Dvision

KUROSAKI Takehiro (Chapter 11, Timor-Leste): associate professor at Tokai University

KAWASHIMA Shin (Chapter 12): professor in Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo

HIRATA Hitoshi (Bangladesh): served as chief representative at JICA’s Bangladesh Office, director general of JICA’s Treasury, Finance and Accounting Department

OI Ayako (Africa): served as director of Africa Division 3 in the Africa Department, senior representative of Afghanistan Office in JICA

OBA Mie (Conclusion): professor in Faculty of Law, Kanagawa University


Political Science

Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture

¥5,500 + tax
ISBN 97848665812436
210 mm x 148 mm / 512 pp. / February 2023

ISBN 9784866582443 (ePub)

Preface to the English Edition / Preface to the Japanese Edition / Introduction: Envisioning a Western Pacific Union / Part I: Members of ASEAN / 1. Indonesia and the Concept of a Western Pacific Union / 2. The Regional Diplomacy of the Philippines and the Western Pacific Union / 3. Vietnam's "Management of Asymmetry" in Foreign Relations / 4. Thailand's Foreign Policy and Survival Strategy: The Pursuit of Balance and National Interest / 5. Post-Junta Myanmar: "Democratization," Economic Growth, Coup d'État / 6. Foreign and Security Policy of Malaysia: Its Logic, Narrative, and Domestic Factors / 7. Internal Politics in Cambodia and the CCP Government's Tilt toward China / 8. Unlocking a Landlocked Nation: The Geopolitics of Laos and the Western Pacific Union / 9. Singapore's Foreign Policy Strategy: Vulnerability and Pragmatsim / Brunei Darussalam: Monarchical Rule, Energy, and Omnidirectional Diplomacy / Part II: Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands / 10. Japan and Australia: From Wartime Enemies to Strategic Partners / New Zealand: A Small Country with a Big Presence / 11. The Pacific Island Countries / Timor-Leste: Japan's Role as Timor-Leste Moves from Conflict to Prosperity / Part III: Other Related Countries and Regions / 12. Taiwan and International Relations in the Western Pacific / Bangladesh: Strongly Growing Partner Linking Southeast and South Asia / Africa: Potential of the Western Pacific Union from the Perspective of Relations with Africa / Conclusion: The Western Pacific Union in the Development of Asian Regionalism / Bibliography / Index / Author Profiles / Translator Profiles

"Edited by a former JICA president, the expert-infused book offers a thought-provoking recommendation for Japan and the world: a Western Pacific Union."

Robert D. Eldridge
Japan Forward



Original Japanese Edition

西太平洋連合のすすめ: 日本の「新しい地政学」

北岡伸一 監修



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