Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa traveled to Samoa and Fiji to engage with Pacific island partners.

There, she had bilateral meetings with her counterparts from 10 island countries and co-chaired the fifth interim ministerial session of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, or PALM.

Outwardly, these efforts were part of a decadeslong policy of engagement between Japan and its Oceania partners, but underlying it is the increased stakes related to China's efforts to expand its influence in the region.