Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Japan's Strategic Interests in Africa

 The Center for Strategic and International Studies published in May 2024 a study titled "Japan's Strategic Interests in the Global South: Africa" by Shirato Keiichi, Ritsumeikan University.

The paper reviews the history of Japan's policy toward Africa, summarizes the challenges facing Japan's Africa policy, and proposes ways to make Japan's constructive engagement with Africa sustainable.  It also explores Japan's competition with China and Russia in Africa.

It is in Japan's strategic interest to gain support from as many African countries as possible, to serve as a diplomatic deterrent to dissuade China from furthering unlawful maritime expansion in the Indo-Pacific or invading Taiwan. To gain the support of African countries, Japan needs to contribute to their peace and prosperity through development aid, investment, and military cooperation.  

It will be virtually impossible for Japan to increase development assistance to African countries given its declining birth rate and aging population.  Rather than pursue an increase in development aid to Africa, the Japanese government is faced with redesigning its African diplomacy amid the relative decline of Japan's national strength.