2021 Indo-Pacific Series



The Indo-Pacific region is the economic engine of global growth, home to critical sea lanes of communication (SLOCs), development needs including infrastructure and connectivity, and challenges to the current rules-based order.

On the occasion of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Canada in 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conveyed Canada’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Despite this declaration, Canada is still conceptualizing the substance of its own Indo-Pacific vision and the manner in which it will engage in this region.

As a self-declared middle power, Canada has a longstanding commitment to rules-based behaviour, open and free maritime environments, economies and the cyber-domain. These are the concepts of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) as articulated by Japan and other countries, such as Germany, France and the Netherlands, that have recently adopted Indo-Pacific guidelines. The same is true for the support of development, infrastructure and connectivity, and enhancing good governance.

Developing an Indo-Pacific vision of its own would contribute to Canada’s longstanding strategic goals of deepening its political, economic and security footprint in the region.

To contribute to this vision formulation, the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) held an open webinar with Canadian and Japanese foreign policy experts who research the Indo-Pacific region to examine Canadian and Japanese FOIP visions through the lens of purpose, form and practice. Purpose refers to why such a vision is important. Form refers to the manner in which Canada and Japan conceptualize the region and the core pillars of their visions. Last, practice refers to practical, sustainable and meaningful ways to pro-actively engage and contribute to free and open Indo-Pacific visions that are informed by each country’s shared and individual national strategic interests.

To achieve these objectives, Canadian and Japanese speakers were asked to speak on each country’s perspectives on the Indo-Pacific through the following lines of inquiry: 1) Why develop the vision?,  2) Core pillars of Canada’s and Japan’s FOIP vision and 3) Practical activities that fall under the FOIP umbrella in the areas of infrastructure, connectivity and supply chain diversification, and security co-operation in the maritime domain, good governance, etc.

This collection of policy briefs is organized into five briefs. In brief one, Professor Akiko Fukushima of Aoyama University discusses the rationale for Japan’s shift from an Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific framing of the region. Her brief discusses the factors behind the shift, aims and practice from Japan’s perspective. Professor Fukushima will focus on the relationship between a free and open Indo-Pacific vision and Japan’s interest in promoting peace and stability in the region in her brief entitled “From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific.”

Shifting from broader strategic framing of the region to supply change diversification and trade, Professor Shujiro Urata, formerly of Waseda University, highlighted the relationship between Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision and the investment in supply change diversification and deepening regional integration along the littoral states of the Indo-Pacific region in his brief “Economics of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) Vision: The Objectives, Challenges and Japan’s Role.”

Pivoting from Japanese perspectives on the Indo-Pacific, the final three policy briefs focus on Canadian interests in the region. Stephen Nagy, a professor at the International Christian University in Tokyo and CGAI Fellow, focuses his brief’s discussion on Canada’s interests in the Indo-Pacific region from the vantage point of development and contributing to resilience through international co-operation in supply chain resilience, diplomacy and the promotion of good governance. His brief is entitled “Indo-Pacific Resilience, Prosperity and Stability: Canada’s Capabilities-led Approach.”

Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow with Chatham House, London and Non-Resident Senior Fellow for the Indo-Pacific with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, then segues into examining the Pacific Islands in the Indo-Pacific region. She investigates Canada’s interests in the region and how Canada can contribute to strengthening the region’s strategic autonomy to enhance its development and ability and better integrate it into the broader Indo-Pacific region. The title of her brief is “Oceania and Canada: Building Bridges in the Indo-Pacific.”

The last brief in this series is by Jonathan Berkshire Miller, Director and Senior Fellow of the Indo-Pacific program at the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute and Senior Fellow with the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). His brief examines Canada’s interests and public diplomacy in the region with a focus on Canada’s security interests, and is entitled “Canada and the Indo-Pacific: A Need for a Strategic Course.”

While these briefs are meant to shed light on Canadian and Japanese views of the Indo-Pacific, they are not meant to be exhaustive. They do not represent the official views of the Canadian and Japanese governments. They represent the informed views of each contributor.

Last, I would be remiss not to stress that this policy brief series was designed to highlight that a free and open Indo-Pacific concept is inclusive with central pillars focusing on prosperity and stability, infrastructure and connectivity, and trade and rules-based promotion in the maritime and continental domains. Conveying this to a broad audience is critical to avoid conflating the concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific vision with a containment strategy or primarily security-focused vision, an approach that could alienate important stakeholders in realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific region.



From the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific: Drivers and Hurdles
by Akiko Fukushima

The Economics of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision: The Objectives, Challenges and Japan’s Role
by Shujiro Urata

Indo-Pacific Resilience, Prosperity and Stability: Canada’s Capabilities-led Approach to Strategic Free and Open Indo-Pacific Engagement
by Stephen Nagy

Oceania and Canada: Building Bridges in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific
by Cleo Paskal

Canada and the Indo-Pacific: A Need for a Strategic Course
by Jonathan Berkshire Miller


Translated Papers

A Word of Thanks

I would like to convey my gratitude to the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) for their support in hosting this event on Canadian and Japanese FOIP Visions: Purpose, Form and Practice. This includes CGAI president Kelly Ogle for recruiting me as a CGAI Fellow, and vice-presidents Colin Robertson and David Perry for their support in realizing this collaborative event. Special thanks to Charlotte Duval-Lantoine for all her behind-the-scenes efforts in co-ordinating this event as well as Adam Frost for his editorial work in putting this policy brief series together.

The policy briefs themselves would not have been possible without the contributions of Akiko Fukushima, Shujiro Urata, Cleo Pascal and Jonathan Berkshire Miller. I owe a great deal of gratitude to each of them for sharing their insights and keeping to my tight schedule.

I would like to also extend my gratitude to Claude Demers, Canadian ambassador to the Côte d’Ivoire (former counsellor and head of the Political and Economic Section in Tokyo) and Ambra Dickie, first secretary (Political Section) at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo for their support in organizing Indo-Pacific-related events at the embassy. These events have provided an enormous wealth of regional context to how Canada fits into the Indo-Pacific region and how regional stakeholders view Canada and concepts like an Indo-Pacific vision. The views of experts and practitioners in the region have been instrumental in crafting these briefs but also in building a sustained network of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers who share the convergences and divergences in their thinking on the region.

Last, I would like to convey my support to the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA), the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APFC), the East Asia Security Centre (EASC) and my colleagues throughout the region for their support, guidance and encouragement.  

Stephen R. Nagy
Senior Associate Professor
International Christian University (ICU), Tokyo, Japan

Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Visiting Fellow, Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA)
2018 AIF Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Distinguished Fellow (2017-2020) Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

March 1, 2021


About the Authors

Akiko.jpg   Professor Akiko FUKUSHIMA, Aoyama University

Akiko FUKUSHIMA is a Senior Fellow at the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. She holds a doctoral degree from Osaka University and an MA from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. Her career includes terms as a professor at the School of Global Studies and Collaboration, Aoyama Gakuin University and director of policy studies at the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA). Dr. Fukushima is a Visiting Fellow of the Lowy Institute in Australia and has served on Japanese government committees. Her publications include Japanese Foreign Policy: The Emerging Logic of Multilateralism (1999) published by Macmillan, and “Multilateralism Recalibrated,” in Postwar Japan (CSIS 2017). She has contributed articles to journals, including “Reshaping the United Nations with a Concept of Human Security Version 2.0,” Strategic Analysis (October 2020) and “COVID-19 is a Human Security Crisis,” in  East Asia Forum (April 16, 2020).

  Shujiro URATA, former professor, Waseda University

Shujiro URATA is a former professor of economics at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University. He is currently Faculty Fellow at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI), Specially Appointed Fellow at the Japanese Centre for Economic Research (JCER), Senior Research Advisor, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and Visiting Researcher, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). Professor Urata received his BA in economics from Keio University, and his MA and PhD in Economics from Stanford University. He is a former research associate at the Brookings Institute and an economist at the World Bank. He specializes in international economics and has published a number of books and articles on international economic issues. His recent co-edited books include East Asian Integration: Goods, Services and Investment, published by Routledge in 2019.

Nagy.jpg   Stephen R. NAGY, Senior Associate Professor, International Christian University, CGAI Research  Fellow, JIIA Visiting Fellow

Stephen has been a Senior Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the International Christian University since September 2014.

He is a Research Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) and a Visiting Fellow with the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA). Previously, he was selected as a Distinguished Fellow for the Asia Pacific Foundation from 2017-2020.

Prior to returning to Tokyo, he was an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from December 2009 to January 2014. He obtained his PhD in international relations from Waseda University, Japan, in December 2008 and worked as a research associate at the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies at Waseda University from October 2007 to November 2009.

His recent funded research project is Sino-Japanese Relations in the Wake of the 2012 Territorial Disputes: Investigating Changes in Japanese Business’ Trade and Investment Strategy in China.” Currently, he is conducting a research project entitled Perceptions and Drivers of the Chinese View on Japanese and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Region.” He has also done extensive work on how middle powers are engaging in the Indo-Pacific.

His recent publications include:

Nagy, S. R. 2021. “Sino-Japanese Reactive Diplomacy as seen through the Interplay of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision (FOIP).” China Report: 1–15. DOI: 10.1177/0009445520984735.

Nagy, S. R. 2020. “Quad-Plus? Carving out Canada’s Middle Power Role.” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs. Special Issue. Quad Plus: Form versus Substance, vol. 3, no. 5: 179–195. ISSN 2576-5361 (Print); ISSN 2576-537X (Online).

Nagy, S. R. 2020. “Pivoting Towards Neo-Middle-Power Diplomacy: Securing Agency in an Era of Great Power Rivalry.” Policy Perspectives, Canadian Global Affairs Institute. (November 26).

Nagy, S. R., and J. Berkshire Miller. 2020. “Why Canada Must Embrace a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Policy Brief. Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA). (November).

Nagy, S. R. 2020. “Accommodation versus Alliance: Japan’s Prospective Grand Strategy in the Sino-US Competition.” Frameworks from Asia’s Northern Tier on the Post-Pandemic Sino-US Rivalry. Asan Forum, vol.8, no. 5: 1–18. ISSN 2288-5757 (October).

Nagy, S. R. 2020. “Middle Power Alignment in the Indo-Pacific: Securing Agency through Neo-middle Power Diplomacy.” East Asia Security Centre, vol. 1: 1–14. (August) .

Pascal.jpg   Cleo Pascal

Cleo Pascal is an Associate Fellow with Chatham House, London, U.K. (aka Royal Institute of International Affairs) and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow for the Indo-Pacific with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Washington, D.C. She serves on the International Board of Advisors, Kalinga Institute of Indo-Pacific Studies (India) and the International Board of Advisors, Global Counter Terrorism Council, India. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM) where, as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Visiting Fellow, she led a multi-year research project on Canada and strategic shifts in the Indo-Pacific. She has lectured at, among many others, the U.S. Army War College, Center for Homeland Defense & Security (Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey), Inter-American Defense Board (D.C.), the Royal College of Defence Studies (U.K.), the National Defence College (India), the Centre for National Security Studies (Canadian Forces College) and the National Defence College (Oman). She is currently completing a Chatham House research project on perceptions of strategic shifts in the Indo-Pacific from the points of view of the U.S., Japan, India, Oceania, the U.K. and France.

Miller.jpg   Jonathan Berkshire Miller

Jonathan is an international affairs professional with expertise on security, defence, intelligence and geo-economic issues in the Indo-Pacific.  He has held a variety of positions in the private and public sector. Currently, he is a senior fellow with the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). He is also a director and senior fellow of the Indo-Pacific program at the Ottawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a senior fellow on East Asia for the Tokyo-based Asian Forum Japan and  the director and co-founder of the Council on International Policy.

Previously, he was an international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, based in Tokyo. Jonathan also held a fellowship on Japan with the Pacific Forum CSIS from 2013-16. At the Pacific Forum CSIS, he chaired a 10-member group focused on Japan-Korea relations, in the context of the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia. Other former appointments and roles include terms as a distinguished fellow with the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, and senior fellow on East Asia for the New York-based EastWest Institute.

Jonathan has held a number of other visiting fellowships on Asian security matters, including at JIIA and the National Institute of Defense Studies (Ministry of Defense, Japan). In addition, he spent nearly a decade in the public sector in Canada working on geopolitical and security issues pertaining to the Asia-Pacific.

He regularly attends track 1.5 and track 2 dialogues across the Asia-Pacific region on security and intelligence issues, and is one of Canada's representatives on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Eminent and Expert Persons Group. He also regularly provides advice and presents to universities, corporations, multilateral organizations and government on regional geopolitics.


Conference Videos

From the Asia Pacific to the Indo Pacific: Drivers and Hurdles

The Economics of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific: The Objectives, Challenges and Japan’s Role

Indo-Pacific Resilience, Prosperity and Stability: Canada’s Capabilities-led Approach to Strategic Indo-Pacific Engagement

Oceania and Canada: Building Bridges in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific

Canada and the Indo-Pacific: A Need for a Strategic Course


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