The EU and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy

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The European Union (EU) and Japan have been able to build a longstanding relationship based on cooperation, common values and mutual interests. Enduring protectionist policies have been substituted by a triple partnership on strategic, economic and digital areas. If East Asia is of utmost interest to the EU, an assertive China is raising concern in some European capitals as it was already the case in Tokyo. The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy (FOIP), revealed in 2016, is part of Japan’s attempt to contain Beijing’s ambitions but it has been widely dismissed as a major shift in Tokyo’s security stance and has not received a real attention from its allies and partners. However, this situation has started to change and some European states (including France and Germany) have also presented their own strategies for the region. This paper aims to analyse what does Japan’s FOIP implies for EU’s interests in the Asia-Pacific region and to what extent does it presents a real interest for Brussels and European states in the containment of Chinese assertiveness at both regional and global levels.

Keywords: EU, Japan, China, Asia-Pacific, Indo-Pacific

Daniel Marcelino Rodrigues| OBSERVARE-UAL, Portugal

PhD in International Relations (Universidade de Coimbra), BA in History (Universidade de Coimbra) Integrated researcher at OBSERVARE (Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa)