Free trade agreements in Japan and East Asian regionalism : Sino-Japanese rivalry and beyond
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] At the beginning of the 21st century, a number of multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), known as regional FTAs, have emerged throughout the world. However, East Asian nations have instead pursued bilateral FTAs. Realist studies argue that this situation is partly due to Japan's FTAs being viewed as political tools to compete with China over regional leadership. As such, this research redefines Japan's FTAs as a broader political-economic strategy, serving interests of both political and economic actors at home. Japan's bilateral FTA policy is more than a mere outcome of the so-called Sino-Japanese rivalry. To support the proposition, one of the main chapters highlights Japanese corporate interest in promoting a particular business model and domestic political support for the model, as key factors that explain the rise of Japan's bilateral FTAs with Southeast Asian nations. Another chapter demonstrates the selection of Japan's bilateral FTA partners to significantly depend on economic factors rather than international politics.