Diplomatic Strategies: The Pacific Islands and Japan
Japan is a leading distant water fishing nation, aid donor and trading partner in the Pacific island region. The question that this paper addresses is how do, or how might, Pacific island countries maximise their interests in dealing with Japan. The paper explores various regional strategies that Pacific island countries have utilised, especially in the area of fisheries diplomacy. The purpose of the analysis is to identify where regional cooperation has worked or could work, and to thus establish a clearer basis for regional or collective diplomacy. It argues that extreme disparities between Japan and the Pacific island states may be balanced to some extent by regional strategies. States may enhance their leverage through a combination of collective diplomacy, building ‘alliances’ with other external powers and exploiting opportunities provided by new international regimes. They may even gain advantage from bureaucratic divisions and rivalry within Japan’s foreign policy and fisheries administrations.
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