HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 7 no. 1 (2007)

Japan and South Asia: Toward a Strengthened Economic Cooperation

Monir Hossain Moni

Discipline: Economics, Social Science



While in the whole scenario of contemporary Asia-Pacific's economic prosperity, Japan's catalytic role is continuing to evolve, ironically in this region's sprawling vibrant landscape, the only backward sub-region that has not yet kept pace with this changing trend is South Asia. Despite the magnitude of Japanese development aid to all South Asian nations, the region's share in Japan's global trade and investment is too small to merit much attention. Moreover, in Tokyo's strategic-diplomatic agenda, South Asia has in fact figured little for a long time, because it has been relevant neither to Japan's security necessities nor the needs for a global economic governance framework. Nonetheless, Japan has very recently shown a heightened interest in expanding its cooperation with South Asia (particularly India). Under this backdrop, this article strives to explore the reasons why South Asia has today risen strategically in significance to the breadth of Japanese foreign policy initiatives. The study argues that for mutual values and benefits, the economic and geo-strategic partnership between Japan and South Asia needs to be nourished more effectively and constructively. This comprehensive policy-relevant scholarly piece concludes with a reasonable expectation that Tokyo's policy towards South Asia will embrace a comprehensive review process with an action-oriented roadmap in a strongly competitive and dynamically changing Asia.