Japan’s Competitive Cooperation toward China’s Belt and Road Initiatives

On 25 November 2020 Prof. Chisako T. Masuo from Kyushu University will give an online lecture on “Japan’s Competitive Cooperation toward China’s Belt and Road Initiatives”.

Time: 25 November 2020, 9:00-10:30 Helsinki time


Speaker: Professor Chisako T. Masuo, Kyushu University
Discussant: Dr. Bart Gaens, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

The lecture is open to public. Zoom link will be sent to registered participants only. Register here.

This talk questions why Japan has taken a neutral position in the Sino-American trade tensions since 2018, despite its political rivalry with Beijing. It claims that the Japanese strategy towards China between 2012 and 2018 has moved from confrontational competition to competitive cooperation over third-country markets; this is because of their shared beliefs and methodology regarding regional development. Firstly, the talk compares Chinese and Japanese academic discussions regarding East Asia. It finds that the realistic Chinese tend to consider the politico-economic divide in the regional system as a problem to be solved through power, whereas the more liberal Japanese expect it to provide a coordinating function for the regional order as a whole. Secondly, it reviews the shifts in the Japanese government’s behaviours toward China in recent years. It argues that Japan has moved for collaboration with China to maintain the liberal rule-based order in the region. Finally, founded on the estimate of China’s economic leverage over its neighbours, it claims that Japan will expand its responsibility in order formation in East Asia in future, seeking for the third path between Xi Jinping’s China and Donald Trump’s United States.

Chisako T. MASUO (益尾知佐子) is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 2008. Her research topics include Chinese foreign policy, domestic politics in China and the international relations. Chisa was a visiting scholar at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and China Foreign Affairs University in 2019, and a coordinate research scholar at Harvard-Yenching Institute in 2014-2015. She is the single-author of China’s Behavioral Principles: International Relations Determined by the Domestic Currents (Tokyo: Chuko Publishing, 2019) as well as China Looks Back: Mao’s Legacy in the Open-Door Era (University of Tokyo Press, 2010), and a co-author of A Diplomatic History of China (University of Tokyo Press, 2017) all in Japanese. Her columns appear regularly on Shukan Toyo Keizai (East Asian Economic Weekly) and Kosusai Boeki (International Trade), Japanese business magazine and newspaper both with long and unique history. She has published many articles and book chapters in English, Chinese and Russian. She is known by Chinese name, Su Qi (蘇琪) among her friends in China.