China and Japan Moving Forward with the Co-responsibility for Regional Order

In the past 40 years, Japan and China have been playing important roles in the stable and vibrant development of East and Southeast Asia. Today, with the readjustment of advanced economies around the globe, particularly, in North America and Europe, intra-regional economic interdependence and integration becomes a strategic basis for maintaining growth. This is a strategy that is important for an area that accounts for much of the world’s population and emerging markets. It is no doubt that Japan and China, two of Asia’s largest economies, will play key roles in strengthening and broadening the region’s interdependence, as Asia rises as a whole.

While both countries will undoubtedly continue to play a positive role in the region, recent relations have been anything but calm. Even more alarming, are emerging signs that may indicate a trend towards ‘cold economic relations’. Given the surge in China’s economic, military, and political power and Japan’s push to revive its national economy and achieve greater presence in world politics, it becomes crucial to enlarge a common base of strategic trust between the government and people of the two neighbouring countries. The task of trust building holds significance not only for Japan and China but also among the countries in the region and the world.

With this in mind, the Centre on Asia and Globalisation in Singapore and the Fujitsu Research Institute in Japan co-hosted successful Forums in 2013 and 2014 with young leaders (under 42 years old age) selected from major think tanks, academic institutions, NGOs, public press, and private sectors in both countries. The inaugural forum in Singapore produced a rare joint-statement voicing the consensual opinion of future generation leaders on contentious issues such as territorial dispute and historical memory. The forum took a practical prognostic approach to trust-building. It was aimed at promoting cooperation and policy solutions to address tough questions in bilateral relations by promoting understanding on the underlying motivations of policy makers and societal actors in their contexts, hence generating confidence among the participants that cooperation is possible between the two countries. It further provides as a platform for generating new and realistic ideas of cooperation in the area of security, trade, media, business, non-profit and public goods sectors of both countries.

Principal investigators

  • Jing Huang
  • Tomoo Kikuchi
  • Chen Huaiyuan
  • Takehiro Masutomo