This article deals with the relationships Japan has built in the Asia-Pacific region in the aftermath of decolonization. In post-war historic studies, the emphasis has been on issues such as paying reparations and providing economic assistance as Japan's means of rising to become a world power, at least from an economic point of view. The article explores, from a historical perspective, Japan's efforts with regard to development aid, but focuses on its transition to taking a more active role in Asia. This became more evident from the mid-1970s, when some crucial events related to the Cold War altered the the balance of power in the world. Hence, it investigates how Japan faced and took advantage of the situation in this area, and how it modified its approach to providing foreign assistance to Southeast Asia. Finally, it meditates upon the meaning of the Fukuda Doctrine as an enhancement of Tokyo's regional policy.