Organized Panel Session
At the turn of the century, scholars have been heralding if not debating, the emergence of China as a new global superpower. China's rise posits a disquieting challenge to the hegemony of the US - a perfect manifestation of what Graham Allison has called the Thucydides trap. However, the trap's historical allusion to the 5th century BC conflict between Sparta and Athens oversimplifies the complex multi-polarity of contemporary international politics. Unlike the singular opposition of Sparta to the rise of Athens, the US is not the only actor threatened by China's growing power. Japan, a major economic powerhouse and a historic rival to the Middle-Kingdom, is also wary of China's potential to upset the balance of power, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Despite aggressively taking part in the opportunities presented by the Chinese market, Japan seeks to outdo China even as it increases its foreign investments and development assistance. The constitutional prohibition on the establishment of a military force has led Japan to creatively craft security partnerships with various states. This panel, therefore, aims at a deeper understanding of how Japan has faced the challenges of China's burgeoning economic influence and increasing military capabilities. The panel mainly takes an interest in the key as well as frontier areas of the Indo-Pacific where the Sino-Japanese rivalry is taking place. The implications of Japan's abiding presence in these areas though primarily meant to shadow, mitigate, or even thwart China's rapid ascent have been varied as local actors actively promote their specific interests.