Power Play

Japan plays guardian and gatekeeper of the CPTPP

China says it wants to join the 11-nation Pacific Rim free trade arrangement, in addition to being part of the RCEP. The US has no role in either grouping, leaving Japan to hold the line.


Power Play is a weekly column that looks at various facets of US-China rivalry and its implications for Asia.

Before former leader Shinzo Abe came along, Japan was seen as a waning global power with a revolving door of prime ministers and an economy that was leapfrogged by China in 2010.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2021, with the headline 'Japan plays guardian and gatekeeper of the CPTPP '. Subscribe