China's gross domestic product is now more than twice that of Japan. Despite this, there is a growing call for Japan to play a greater role in Southeast Asia. Journalists from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expressed this sentiment at the Japan-ASEAN Media Forum hosted by the Japan Foundation on Aug. 27 and 28. Beijing's massive funding and infrastructure investment in Southeast Asia means that China's influence in the region is inevitable, but forum participants appealed to Japan to offer non-Chinese options.

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