Yearbook Japan, 2019, vol. 48, pp. 132–154

DOI: 10.24411/0235-8182-2019-10006

Economic ties between Japan and South-East Asia in the 21st century

Ya.V. Mishchenko

Abstract. The article analyzes the current state of economic relations between Japan and the countries of Southeast Asia — trade as the basic and most traditional form of economic cooperation, mutual investment, official development assistance. The changes that occurred in this area in the period from the turn of the 21st century to the present time are considered. The latest statistical data — the basis of the assessment of the current state of economic relations between Japan and Southeast Asian countries — is given.

The analysis made it possible to conclude that Japan in the early 21st century was more turned in the field of foreign trade to the United States, the major economies of North-East Asia, rather than to the countries of South-East Asia, but at the same time, they have a certain, noticeable niche in trade with Japan. Based on the calculations carried out, the key partners of Japan in each of the three main areas of economic cooperation — trade, mutual investment, official development assistance — are identified from among the countries of South-East Asia. It was revealed that the main foreign trade partners of Japan among Southeast Asian countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia — that is, economically more developed countries. ASEAN countries retain in the 21st century the position of significant suppliers of mineral fuel, raw materials, food, seafood to Japan. Japan, in turn, exports to Southeast Asia industrial goods, primarily engineering products. It is shown that since the middle of 2000-s the volume of FDI from Japan in the most developed countries of Southeast Asia has significantly increased. Japan’s much more modest trade and investment ties with the less developed Southeast Asian countries (Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia) are balanced by official development assistance (ODA).

The analysis of the most relevant and effective in the 21st century formats of multilateral cooperation of Japan and Southeast Asian countries is also conducted.

Keywords: Japan, ASEAN, South East Asia, trade, official development assistance, investment.

Author: Mishchenko Yana V., Ph.D. (Economics), Senior Researcher of the Center for Japanese Studies, Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Senior Lecturer of Lomonosov Moscow state University. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Contents of the issue: Yearbook Japan, 2019, Vol. 48.