Japan’s New Leadership in Liberal Economic Governance

Yves Tiberghien

(University of British Columbia)

Date/Time December 13, 2018 6:00 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract Japan has long been seen as a solid but rather stolid pillar of the global liberal order, more inclined to follow the US than take the initiative. This has changed over the last two years. Japan has grown more active in both regional leadership and global governance (IMF, reform of global architecture, G20, WTO, global climate negotiations). In trade, Japan has undergone a revolution from reluctant TPP joiner to the leader of the post-US TPP-11, complementing that feat with a Japan-EU FTA and other ongoing negotiations. At the G20, Japan is taking the helm in 2018-2019. In infrastructure and development, Japan is leading new international initiatives. And at the UN, PM Abe recently spoke boldly about the importance of upholding the global liberal order. What explains this dramatic shift? In this talk, I explain Japan’s behaviour within a larger model of truncated strategic interactions. Drawing upon the cases of trade, G20, climate change, and development governance, I argue specifically that Japan’s new behaviour is driven less by domestic politics than by a reaction to the crisis of the liberal order caused by the election of President Trump and the emerging risk of a China-led order in Asia.
Bio Yves Tiberghien is Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, where he is Executive Director of the UBC China Council and Director Emeritus of the Institute of Asian Research. He specializes in East Asian comparative political economy, international political economy, and global economic and environmental governance. His publications include Entrepreneurial States: Reforming Corporate Governance in France, Japan, and Korea (Cornell 2007), 亚洲与世界未来 [Asia and the Future of the World] (社会科学文献出版社, 2015) and L’Asie et le futur du monde (Science Po Press, 2012). He is currently working on China’s role in global and regional governance (including G20, AIIB, climate change, Belt and Road Initiative) and a book project titled Up for Grabs: Disruption, Competition, and the Remaking of the Global Economic Order. He is coordinating an international team on the Paris Agreement on climate change, and in 2015 founded the Vision 20 group, a new coalition of global scholars and policy-makers aiming at providing a long-term perspective on the challenges of global economic and environmental governance: http://www.thevision20.org ).