What Happened: The leaders of Japan and five countries in the Mekong River region agreed to adopt a new policy to cooperate on advancing over 150 projects in the region at the Mekong-Japan summit in Tokyo on Oct. 9, Nikkei reported.
Why It Matters: Outreach to countries in the Mekong River region is a key component of Japan's regional strategy to counter China's growing influence there. Beijing has extended significant financing for projects through its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, prompting Japan to expand its own foreign investment strategy.
Background: The Mekong-Japan Summit has been held annually since 2009, with Japan hosting the event every third year. This year, leaders from Cambodia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam signed on to the new policy, dubbed Tokyo Strategy 2018.
- China's Belt and Road Initiative, Five Years In (June 22, 2018)
- The Indo-Pacific: Defining a Region (Nov. 15, 2017)
- Southeast Asia: A Notch in China's Belt and Road Initiative (May 18, 2017)