The executive director of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy, Derek Brien, says he believes Japan's relationship with the region is being overshadowed by the increasing engagement of China and the United States in the Pacific.
Leaders of the nations of the Pacific Islands forum will be attending the sixth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Japan this week.
Mr Brien says the triennial PALM meeting is an opportunity to discuss development programmes that Japan is involved with in the region.
He says Japan has been a quiet but significant player in the region.
"Whilst not the biggest donor in the region there is certainly quite a significant investment across the Pacific but we often don't hear about Japan in comparison particularly to the increasing engagement of China and the US, as the two super powers tend to use the Pacific stage in their battle for supremacy and get more of the headlines."
Derek Brien believes Japan will put more emphasis this time on the importance of PALM as a political gathering rather just a platform for making big dollar announcements.