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Japan’s EPA Strategy for East Asia Region and Implications

CHEOLGU KANG 1

1고려대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

In the course of active development of an EPA(Economic Partnership Agreement), Japan announced the ‘East Asian EPA’ including sixteen countries such as ASENAN, Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, India (ASEAN+6) in early 2006. The Japan’s EPA strategy aims at enhancing its political and economical voice by building up an international environment beneficial to Japan as well as maintaining its control over the East Asian region which is now emerging as a gigantic economic zone. However, taking into account such matters as Japan’s excessive awareness of its close relationship with the U.S., the general thinking of Japanese elites that they are not Asian, but they want to get into the culture of Western, historical issues, its competitive relationship with China and the nuclear issue of North Korea, it is dominant that Japan does not have the control over East Asian region as a leader country. On the other hand, in the case that the ‘East Asian EPA’ strategy achieves great success, a gigantic economic zone, which encompasses almost half of the world’s population and amounts to a quarter of the world GDP equivalent to nine trillion dollars, will be born. Korea geopolitically located midway between Japan and China should carefully cope with how the ‘East Asian EPA’ strategy develops and changes. That is, the negative recognition that an EPA or a FTA can cause deindustrialization, the agricultural devastation and social evils should be eliminated, and the national sympathy should be simultaneously formed to get rid of the feeling of unrest by making people focus on the positive effects generated from the long-term perspective. In addition, Korea should suggest specific alternatives in the perspective of an arbitrator or a conciliator without being fettered by interests with Japan and China at the point of time when Korea and the U.S. concluded a free trade agreement. In particular, since Korea and Japan have similarities in the economic and social situation, it is desirable for Korea to build its own governance in accordance with the economic integration in the East Asian region in the long-term perspective at the point of time when Korea has suspended free trade talks with Japan.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.