Skip to content Skip to footer

Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific Region: Current Status and Prospects of Comptetition between Major Powers

Author: Yoichi Kato

Source: Global Perspectives on Japan (GPJ), No.5 (2022), pp.150-167
Publisher: Forum Tauri Press
Keywords: Indo-Pacific, FOIP, BRI, geopolitics, geoeconomics


The geopolitical and geoeconomic conditions in the Indo-Pacifi c region have been undergoing a variety of changes at a rapid pace. In this paper, the changes are examined from the perspectives of the four major powers in the region: China’s overreach and revision of the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), United States’ hardening stance toward China, India’s sense of caution toward China, and Japan’s changes in strategy toward China brought about by the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) strategy. Currently, projects of the BRI are being implemented across a wide geographical range including the Indo-Pacifi c region, despite criticisms regarding ‘debt traps’ and ‘new colonialism’ from many countries. As China’s influence grows, small and medium-sized countries of the region are playing a role in the struggle between United States and Japan’s FOIP and China’s BRI. China’s aim to expand its own national power challenges the previously U.S.-dominated order, while Japan is in a position to advocate maintenance of the existing order and while India sees a multipolar order as more desirable. Although China’s growing power in Asia is appearing sooner than expected, it is also evident that the US will not concede its leadership position in the Indo-Pacific. The fundamental question is whether the dominance of the United States that has prevailed since the end of Cold War can be sustained, and if it cannot, how the new order will be formed.