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Assessing Japan’s Arctic Engagement during the ArCS Project (2015–2020)

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
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As Japan is considered a non-regional actor in Arctic governance, this paper begins with analysing how Japan navigates the web of Arctic governance and how it manages to create a coherent Arctic narrative and engages with the Arctic both inside and outside the region. The present research argues that the construction of an Arctic identity is a praxis performed through time that needs to be constantly reaffirmed. To illustrate this point, the paper then uses a lateral rather than linear approach to assess the influence of the Arctic on Japan at present. This paper assesses Japan’s engagement on the main stage where Arctic governance is performed (i.e. The Arctic Council) since the release of Japan’s Arctic Policy and under the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability project, Japan’s flagship program for Arctic research. Looking to the future, countries such as Japan who are willing to be involved in all parts of Arctic governance will have to make a choice about what kind of Arctic relationships they want to create and in which of these relationships Japan could invest more.

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