Why Japan still leads in Southeast Asian infrastructure investment

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Although China’s overseas investments draw considerable attention, when it comes to infrastructure investments in Southeast Asia, Japan remains the undisputed leader — a position that allows Tokyo to not only counter Beijing’s growing clout in the region but also promote key economic and foreign policy objectives.

From the Nhat Tan Bridge in Vietnam to the New Bohol International Airport in the Philippines and the Patimban Deep Sea Port in Indonesia, Japan has been a major contributor to the development of Southeast Asia’s infrastructure since the Cold War era.

Tokyo is by far the largest investor in the rapidly developing region, with Japanese financiers currently involved in infrastructure projects, including big-ticket works in Indonesia and Vietnam, worth almost $330 billion (¥45 trillion), according to recent data by Fitch Solutions. That compares with projects valued at $100 billion involving Chinese financiers.

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