CONNECTIVITY CONVERSATIONS #4: Multi-layered Connectivity in Practice: Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific in Southeast Asia

Webinar · 10.05.2023 14:30 - 15:30

Wednesday 10 May, 2023 at 14:30 – 15:30 EEST / 13:30 – 14:30 CEST

In Japan’s newly revised version of its Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) (March 2023), multi-layered connectivity is introduced as one of four major pillars in its approach to fostering a prosperous, inclusive and law-abiding space. Understood to incorporate both hard and soft connectivity elements, multi-layered connectivity concerns not only the construction of Japan’s “quality infrastructure building” in the form of roads, bridges, railways and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), but also human, knowledge-related, and digital connectivity. How does multi-layered connectivity compare to other types of connectivity and how does it play out in practice?

In answering these questions, this webinar explores the concept of multi-layered connectivity and considers recent developments in ongoing projects in the context of Southeast Asia, a central region for Japan’s FOIP as well as for a number of other competing and complementary approaches to connectivity. It also considers the role of multi-layered connectivity in the new generation of Japanese security policy documents and the forthcoming revision of Japan’s Development Cooperation Charter.



Wrenn Yennie Lindgren

Senior Research Fellow, Head of Center for Asian Research, NUPI / Associate Research Fellow, UI

Wrenn Yennie Lindgren is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Center for Asian Research at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), as well as an Associate Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI). Her main research interests are: foreign policy legitimation, international relations in East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the politics and foreign policy of Japan, and Arctic diplomacy. Her recent projects have focused on Japan’s foreign and security policy legitimation; infrastructure power and responses to China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI); evolving Japan-NATO relations; Japan-Russia energy cooperation; identity politics in Sino-Japanese relations; Japan’s engagement in Myanmar; and alternative alignments in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, since joining NUPI in 2013, Wrenn has worked on issues related to Asia-Arctic diplomacy. She currently leads the multi-year project ‘Roads to Power? The political effects of infrastructure projects in Asia (ROADS)’, funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Wrenn’s work has been published in: The Pacific Review, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Asian Perspective, Asian Politics & Policy, Polar Geography, and Journal of Eurasian Studies, among others. She co-edited the volume China and Nordic Diplomacy (Routledge, 2018) and contributed chapters on Japan to Kinship in International Relations (Routledge, 2018) and The Routledge Handbook of Arctic Security (Routledge, 2020).


Bart Gaens

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Bart Gaens is a Leading Researcher in the Global Security Research Programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. From May 2021 to April 2023, he leads a project on connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region. He also holds the title of Docent at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki.

In the past he has worked as Project Director for the Center on US Politics and Power (CUSPP), as Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Helsinki, and as Specially Appointed Associate Professor at Osaka University, Japan.

He has published widely on Europe-Asia inter-regionalism and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process, Japan’s foreign policy and regional role, India’s foreign policy and relations with the EU, domestic politics in Myanmar, and security-related issues in the Indo-Pacific region. He has also (co)edited volumes and reports on connectivity, EU-Asia relations, the US-China rivalry, transatlantic relations, and Japan’s search for strategic partnerships.


Ville Sinkkonen

Postdoctoral Fellow, FIIA

Ville Sinkkonen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Center on US Politics and Power. His research focuses on US foreign policy, great-power politics, normative power, and the politics of trust in international relations.

Sinkkonen is the author of A Comparative Appraisal of Normative Power: The European Union, the United States and the January 25th, 2011 Revolution in Egypt (Brill, 2015), and his work has been published in the Journal of Transatlantic Studies, European Review of International Studies and European Foreign Affairs Review, among others. He holds an LL.D. (International Law) from the University of Turku, where he defended his doctoral dissertation Failing hegemony? Four essays on the global engagement of the United States of America in the 21st Century in December 2020. Sinkkonen is the chairperson of the Finnish International Studies Association (FISA) and co-editor of the Nordic Review of International Studies (NRIS).