Japan is beginning to confront whether it wants to assert itself as a regional leader and carry on the values that have long been the foundation of American policy, The New York Times reports.
“In the long term, Japan has to think about how to preserve liberal order and free trade,” said Takako Hikotani, an associate professor of modern Japanese politics and foreign policy at Columbia University. “That’s not just in the interest of Japan, but the region as a whole.”
The liberal democratic order has always been critical to Japan’s success, but it now faces many neighbors that are undemocratic and increasingly hostile, Hikotani writes for Foreign Affairs:
Going forward, Tokyo will have to step up and do more to preserve the liberal democratic order, which now lacks leadership from Washington. This will mean a role reversal for Japan: rather than being the beneficiary of a liberal order led by the United States, it now must do everything it can to save that order—and keep the United States from withdrawing from it altogether.