One of the most noticeable developments in Japan's diplomacy in recent years is its active engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indeed, Japan's new activism in ASEAN is part of its diplomatic efforts to sustain or even reinforce the existing regional order in East Asia. Japan's new involvement with ASEAN since the beginning of the 2010s has been prompted by various factors pertaining to its economic, political and security interests. Although Japanese policymakers had begun to stress the importance of universal values for the advancement of regional cooperation as early as the mid-2000s, its relevance to Japan's ASEAN diplomacy was not fully apparent until the beginning of the 2010s. One of the major challenges for Japan's ASEAN diplomacy is China's growing political clout over Southeast Asia and ASEAN's strong tendency to seek its neutrality between the major powers. Another challenge for Japan's ASEAN diplomacy is the lack of ASEAN's collective commitment to the promotion of "universal values".