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Indonesia: Japan
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Foreign Policy > Relations with East Asia > Japan


The quality of Indonesia-Japan relations in 1992 was best measured by statistics on trade, investment, and the flow of assistance. Japan was the destination of more than 50 percent of Indonesia's exports, the single largest foreign investor, and by far the most important donor of development assistance In return, as the dominant foreign economic presence in Indonesia, Japan was subject to all the expectations and resentments attendant on that status. For example, Indonesia sought greater technology transfer as part of investment. The association of Japanese firms with politically well-connected Indonesians led to charges of exploitation. With their memories of World War II and the antiJapanese demonstrations during Tanaka Kakuei's 1974 visit, the Indonesian leadership was keenly sensitive to the possibility of a disruptive anti-Japanese backlash.

In the long term, the critical issue for Indonesia in the early 1990s was access to Japan's markets for manufactured goods and the debt owed to Japanese lenders. Yet, Indonesia shared the ASEAN-wide concern about the implications for Southeast Asia of Japanese remilitarization and was ambivalent about Japanese military participation in UN peacekeeping operations in Cambodia. From Tokyo's point of view, there was only indirect linkage between Japan's economic presence and the political relationship between the two countries, but Japan was aware of Indonesia's geostrategic straddling of the main commercial routes to the Middle East and Europe. Possibly, this concern explained why Japan seemed the least concerned of Indonesia's major economic partners about the human rights issue in general and East Timor in particular and explicitly rejected the linking of human rights with economic assistance.

Data as of November 1992

Last Updated: November 1992

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Indonesia was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Indonesia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 176 of 210


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