Rising Geopolitical Competition in the Indo-Pacific

Common Interests and Approaches by Japan and Germany
08 December 2021
Event location


Rising Geopolitical Competition in the Indo-Pacific Visual


The Consulate General of Japan in Frankfurt, the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and DGAP Regionalforum Frankfurt invited to this online discussion.

The growing geopolitical tension in the Indo-Pacific has caused not only regional players, such as Japan, but also the United States and major European countries, such as the UK, France, and Germany, to focus their attention on developments there. On September 1, 2020, Germany adopted its first Indo-Pacific strategy. On September 16, 2021, the European Union followed with its own “EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” which underlines strong economic interaction and mutually beneficial relationships. Moreover, the German Navy frigate “Bayern” has recently embarked on a mission in the Indo-Pacific and conducted joint exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force in November – a first in 20 years.

As export-oriented nations that depend on a rules-based international environment and unimpeded global shipping routes, Japan and Germany share many vital interests for regional stability in the Indo-Pacific. Despite the high degree of economic interconnectedness of all parties involved, it has become clear that the region will be shaped by strategic rivalries for some time to come. In this light, the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS security pact agreed upon by Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States on September 15, 2021, underscores the growing willingness of Western powers to confront China’s use of economic, political, and military power to unilaterally change the status quo in the East and South China Seas. The historic meeting of the leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States in the so-called QUAD format on September 24, which outlined closer cooperation on a wide range of issues from pandemic preparedness to climate change, cyber security and combating terrorism further highlighted the growing importance of the Indo Pacific as a bedrock of shared security and prosperity based on an open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion.

At this event, we will discuss key questions such as the following:

In the aftermath of the recent announcement of AUKUS that caused divisions among NATO partners, especially its nuclear submarine component, what can be done to better coordinate Western approaches in the Indo-Pacific?

What are Japan’s expectations toward German and European positioning on the political challenges and military presence in the region? Which political formats could be used for stabilizing a region of growing geopolitical contention? How can Japan engage with the West as a whole to confront the challenge set by China?

What are scenarios and preconditions for a serious escalation in the Taiwan Strait?

Opening Remarks:

Shinichi Asazuma

Consul General of Japan in Frankfurt


Professor Yuichi Hosoya

Professor of International Politics at Keio University; Managing Director and Research Director at the Asia-Pacific Initiative, Tokyo; Visiting Fellow, The University of Cambridge

Reinhard Bütikofer MEP

Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (Greens/European Free Alliance)

Dr. Elli-Katharina Pohlkamp

Fellow for Japan, Asia Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations


Rolf Nikel

Vice-President of the DGAP

Core Expertise region