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Cooperation crucial to Asian prosperity and stability

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

15:55, April 25, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Japan has stepped up Asian diplomacy since last year in a bid to enhance its influence over the political, economic, and security landscape on the continent. Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba has repeatedly called for a "prosperous and stable regional order" based on democratic values.

Over the years, the struggle between pro-American and pro-Asia Japanese officials has never stopped. Japan has recently stepped up Asian diplomacy due to the growing power of Asian countries as a whole, and certain major changes on the continent.

First, China's influence has kept growing in Asia. The country is surpassing Japan in terms of cooperation with other Asian countries, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in both width and depth. Japan had been ASEAN’s largest trading partner until 2008, when its position was replaced by China.

Second, Japan is becoming increasingly dependent on Asia for the growth of its gross foreign product (GFP). Asia now accounts for nearly half of the country's GFP, and this percentage will continue to increase over the next few years.

Read the Chinese version at

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