Japan is hosting world leaders but is it still a key global player?
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At the 21-nation summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (Apec) in Japan this weekend, US President Barack Obama will meet Chinese and other regional leaders to discuss how to keep rising economic and security tensions in check. For Japan, the cost of failure could be high, as William Horsley reports.
Japan faces a decisive fork in the road as it prepares to host the Yokohama summit.
One route would result in an abrupt end to Japan's half century as Asia's most successful nation, and signal a long decline in the shadow of China, the rising regional power.
The much brighter path for Japan would lead to a secure regional order based on agreed international rules and a "concert" of Asian nations.
The Asia-Pacific countries, which together account for more than half the world's total economic output, will explore ways of reaching agreement on a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, as well as closer economic integration across the hugely diverse region.
This agenda aims to build a sense of inter-dependence and shared interests through the common benefits of open trade, investment and what is called "human security".
But as this week's G20 summit in Seoul showed, core issues like adjusting international currency values and dropping protective trade barriers multilaterally, are fraught with difficulties.
Increasingly, economic and security problems have become intertwined and barely distinguishable from each other – especially in Asia where the interests of the US, China, Russia and Japan converge.
Japan has much to lose if a peaceful new order cannot be established in its own neighbourhood. So does it have the ingenuity and strength to help bring it about?