An academic says Japan and New Zealand must listen to Pacific voices and not just react to competition from China and uncertainty from the United States in the region.
This week Japan's Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, visited New Zealand for talks with the prime minister and foreign minister.
He has said Japan is worried about Pacific Island debts and wants to work more closely with New Zealand to address this as well as ocean security and greater connectivity.
Senior Lecturer in Strategic Studies from Massey University, Dr Anna Powles, said increasing efficiency in Pacific development is positive for the region.
But Dr Powles says the growing partnership between Japan and New Zealand needs to be seen in context.
"Again the backdrop of this is the geo-strategic competition with China but also the uncertainty about the US's role in the region too. So what we are seeing here is a positive development," Anna Powles said.
"And certainly from a development co-ordination perspective what we're seeing here is a positive move towards greater coordination in the development space between New Zealand and Japan, and broadening that out."
Dr Powles said Japan and New Zealand must listen to Pacific voices and leadership.