Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, unveiled a new strategy to advance an open and free Indo-Pacific on Monday. He pledged billions of dollars in investments to support businesses in the region in areas ranging from industry to disaster mitigation.
The strategy he unveiled in New Delhi is seen as Tokyo’s attempt to build closer connections with nations in South and Southeast Asia in order to offset China’s increasing aggressiveness there.
Kishida also said Japan wanted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to end as soon as possible and called on the “Global South”, a broad term referring to countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America, to “show solidarity” after his talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kishida said there were four “pillars” to Japan’s new Indo-Pacific plan: maintaining peace, dealing with new global issues in cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries, achieving global connectivity through various platforms, and ensuring the safety of the open seas and skies.
Japan pledged $75 billion to the region by 2030 via private investment and yen loans and by ramping up aid through official governmental assistance and grants.
“We plan to expand the cooperation of the free and open Indo-Pacific framework,” Kishida told the Indian Council of World Affairs.
He emphasized the increasing connectivity among countries and promoting freedom of navigation, with an eye on increasing maritime defense and security among like-minded countries.
China has ramped up its military presence in the Indo-Pacific and rapidly modernized its navy while promoting its Belt and Road Initiative.
“The kind of connectivity where you only rely on one country breeds political vulnerability,” Kishida said.
“We aim to increase the number of options each country has so that they can overcome these vulnerabilities and achieve further economic growth through connectivity,” he added.