Before China began courting Southeast Asia with infrastructure investments through its Belt and Road Initiative, Japan was the region's top development financier. As the two powerhouses now compete for economic and commercial influence, some are saying that Beijing may be winning the battle but losing the war.
That is, Tokyo may be unable to match the sheer volume of Beijing's investments, but it ranks ahead in terms of reputation and local impact, according to experts.
Japanese ventures within emerging Asia, which first began in the late 1970s through multinational companies before the government spearheaded its infrastructure connectivity blueprint in the 1990s, are seen as the poster child for what the G-7 and OECD call "quality infrastructure." Such projects boast high safety, environmental, reliability and inclusion standards in addition to improving overall logistics in a developing area.