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No.57
No.57, Diplomacy  Mar. 31, 2020

International Politics and Japanese Diplomacy as Seen from Eurasia: An Approach to “Geopolitical Economics” and “Global Governance”

Introduction: A Multipolarizing World and Flexible Thinking I would like to examine the content of international politics in Eurasia and discuss how Japan should conduct its diplomacy in that context. The structure of the international community has begun to change this century, even before the start of the coronavirus crisis. It differs from both the Cold War Era and the world ten years after the end of the Cold War. First, the world is headed toward “mulipolarization.” I consider the rise of China and the return of Russia as “multipolarization” or, more precisely, as a “unipolar–multipolar concurrent system” (“unipolar” signifies the military prominence of the United States). This is the worldview of “G2” (= United States–China bipolar) and “G0” that was frequently talked about some time ago. It can also be seen as a “power transition” or “power shift.” This has been widely discussed ... ... [Read more]

No.57
No.57, Diplomacy  Mar. 17, 2020

A report on having accompanied the Pope during his stay in Japan—The voice of the voiceless

    Pope Francis visited Japan from November 23 to 26, 2019, staying in Japan for four days. This seems a short stay. But for the Pope, this was a long stay in one particular country. I had heard long before that the Pope might visit Japan. 2019 marked a turning point in the relationship between Japan and the Catholic Church in several ways. Beyond that, however, the author also has the feeling that the Pope intended to transform various political tensions across Asia into harmonious relationships. In fact, the Pope stated in a regular press conference held in flight that he hoped to visit China. The Pope’s visit to Japan was the first one in thirty-eight years, the second after Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1981. Only considering that the Pope’s visit to Japan was an event in the context of the ... ... [Read more]

No.56
No.56, Diplomacy  Feb. 22, 2020

Research on Water by His Majesty the Emperor and International Society

  His vision and action have advanced from researching “water transportation systems during the Middle Ages” to globally addressing “water for happiness, peace, and prosperity.” What are the thoughts of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, who has served as honorary president of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, on water?     It was the first summer vacation period of the Reiwa era and the Emperor had navigated a busy schedule before attending to his research. Three months after his enthronement, he had restarted his study of water. I was invited to the Imperial Palace in order to present an academic lecture to the Emperor. And as usual, I was greeted with a gentle smile. The topics of discussion that day were varied: water supply, hygiene, climate change, water and food, energy, even culture and belief. It took well ... ... [Read more]

No.55
No.55, Discussions, Diplomacy  Feb. 19, 2020

Future Prospects for a New “Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” Can Be Seen From the Viewpoint of Demographics

Prediction for demographics and the course of direction of hegemons Jimbo Ken: Long-term prediction of the future beyond thirty years often fails because the reality encounters too many unknowns. Demographics is believed to be the exception, as its predictability has been relatively high. Let’s begin with this premise. Currently, the global population is about 7.7 billion. According to population projections by the United Nations, the global population is projected to rise sharply to 9.7 billion by 2050. The increase curve will become gentle and gradual beyond 2050, with the global population projected to hit 10.9 billion in 2100. In addition, increased populations are unevenly distributed in South Asia and the Sub-Saharan African region. Conversely, most developed countries will not see their populations increase, but will enter a rapidly aging society. Based on these projections, our long-term strategy often suggests Africa is the “last frontier,” ... ... [Read more]

No.55
No.55, Diplomacy  Feb. 18, 2020

Europe Is at a Crossroads Thirty Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

  President Macron has decided to rapidly move closer to Russia amidst heightening concerns over “America First” Policies. His decision is based on the “great game” being played out, namely US-China competition and increased cooperation between China and Russia.     At the commemoration ceremony of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 19, 2019, German Chancellor Minister Angela Merkel and other prime ministers of former Eastern European states gathered and laid flowers by the remains of the Wall. Thirty years have passed since the end of the Cold War, so has the world truly overcome the “Cold War” and entered a new age? It is true that that ideological conflict is no longer so pronounced, but we have not overcome the framework of great power antagonism. In the beginning of the twenty-first century, I argued that a schema ... ... [Read more]

No.55
No.55, Discussions, Diplomacy  Dec. 26, 2019

Japan and the Republic of Korea Should Return to the 1965 and 1998 Agreements

Sasae Kenichiro, President and Director General of the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) Interviewer: Tawara Soichiro Looking Back at the Past Agreement and Declaration Tawara Soichiro: Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are currently in serious conflict with each other. I therefore wish to direct this question to Mr. Sasae, who served as Director-General of the Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). What do you think of the current Japan-ROK relations and the relationship between Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and President Moon Jae-in? Sasae Kenichiro: As you are aware, there have been a number of twists and turns in Japan-ROK relations. In particular, you need to understand that in the ROK, domestic affairs have an impact on the diplomacy between the two countries. The left-leaning governments of the ROK began ... ... [Read more]

No.54
No.54, Discussions, Diplomacy  Nov. 12, 2019

The United Nations and the Constitution of Japan: How Will Japan Support International Peace Cooperation?

Akashi Yasushi, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations vs. Hosoya Yuichi, Professor, Keio University Akashi entered the field of power politics after studying at an American university Hosoya Yuichi: I would like to ask Akashi-san [Mr. Akashi], who served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia and SRSG of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), about the UN and the Constitution of Japan. I think that you’ve made only a few definite remarks about the Constitution in the past, and I suppose that you’ve avoided making such remarks because of your previous positions in public service. Akashi Yasushi: You may be right. I think that when it comes to the preamble of the Constitution and Article 9, up to now, many Japanese have treated them as if they were something that must not be touched or have spoken ... ... [Read more]

No.53
No.53, Diplomacy  Sept. 30, 2019

Development cooperation that respects ownership

Japan is a non-Western country, which has modernized earliest among others, and Japan’s own experiences of modernization serve as a good model of development for developing countries. “Japanese style” development cooperation implemented in Africa can propose a new idea of development. —— In August, the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) will be held in Yokohama for the first time in three years. Kitaoka Shinichi: The previous TICAD VI (2016) in Nairobi, Kenya, was significant to have it for the first time in Africa. It was also my first time participating in the conference. When I look back on the three years’ progress since then, I feel that more business-minded leaders are advancing their ambitious reforms for the sake of their countries’ development without relying on natural resources and single products. Today, we can find more countries are doing their best, regardless ... ... [Read more]

No.53
No.53, Diplomacy  Aug. 26, 2019

G20 Osaka Summit: Progress in “Digital Economy” and “Society 5.0”

Japan hosted the G20 Summit for the first time from 28 to 29 June. Leaders of nineteen countries and the EU along with other invited leaders and heads of international organizations convened in Osaka to discuss a wide range of issues. As the host, Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo put a special emphasis on the Digital Economy and Society 5.0, leading to outcomes which will contribute to economic growth and sustainable development.   In June 1997 the Group of 7 (G7) major industrial democracies met in Denver to discuss the challenges faced in economic, financial and other areas at a time when international financial markets were becoming increasingly global and complex. In July that same year, the Asian Financial Crisis struck, prompting the engagement at the ministerial level of major emerging economies including China, Russia and India. In 1999, at the Finance Ministers ... ... [Read more]

No.53
No.53, Diplomacy  Aug. 26, 2019

Yokohama: The “Closest City to Africa” in Japan

The City of Yokohama is putting the finishing touches on preparations to host TICAD7. The white-finned roof of Pacifico Yokohama, the main venue for the conference, has been scrubbed clean and now the surrounding greenery is getting a trim. Festive TICAD bunting is fluttering along the Grand Mall promenade as the city looks forward to celebrating its exceptionally close ties with Africa. Yokohama hosted the last two TICAD conferences to be held in Japan, TICADs IV and V, in 2008 and 2013, respectively. (TICAD VI was held in Nairobi, Kenya). TICAD V attracted more than 4,500 participants, making it the largest international conference in Japan and, as such, no small organizational feat. As TICAD host, however, Yokohama has not merely provided the venue and hospitality for the conference. More significantly, the City has worked to engage with African countries year-round using the opportunities TICAD ... ... [Read more]