By Kat Nguyen for YCAPS
On 25 October 2023, another Community Conversation event in Yokosuka co-hosted by YCAPS and SPF was a success. This event featured the former Affiliated Research Fellow at the Ocean Policy Research Institute of The Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Associate Professor of the National Defense Academy of Japan, Teruaki Aizawa, who, as a distinguished and pioneering researcher of Japan's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" vision, contributed significantly to deepening the community's understanding of this matter. Following his presentation, Commander Jason W. Schwarzkopf, U.S. Navy, offered insightful comments.
During his presentation, Professor Aizawa pointed out that there is currently no official document providing a detailed explanation of FOIP. Therefore, the vision (formerly referred to as a "strategy") can only be decoded from the diplomatic blue book. FOIP is built upon the foundational principles of the rule of law, freedom of navigation, and free trade. It places a strong emphasis on openness and inclusivity, ensuring that no nation is excluded from partnerships aimed at promoting maritime order, primarily as a means of countering China's influence.
The subsequent Q&A session evolved into a friendly and constructive dialogue between the speaker and the engaged audience. Topics discussed included China's perspective on FOIP and the specific language used within the FOIP framework.
In summary, the seminar concluded on an optimistic note, underscoring FOIP as a lasting legacy of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It also called for the collaborative efforts of all nations to achieve its objectives.
For further insight to this matter, kindly refer to the speaker’s publication available at:
Aizawa , T., & Rossiter, A. (2020). Decoding Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” concept. In Conflict and cooperation in the indo-pacific new geopolitical realities. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Aizawa, T. (2018). The Philosophy and Practice of the“Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP)” decoded from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation. https://www.spf.org/oceans/global-data/20181116181023949.pdf