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No.59
No.59, Discussions, Diplomacy  Jun. 29, 2020

Three Experts Discuss: Will the China Model Conquer the World? What Will Happen? The Xi Jinping System After COVID-19

Miyamoto Yuji (former Ambassador of Japan to the People’s Republic of China, Chairman of the Miyamoto Institute of Asian Research), Kawashima Shin (Professor, University of Tokyo), and Ako Tomoko (Professor, University of Tokyo) What COVID-19 Has Brought to Light Miyamoto Yuji: COVID-19 has shaken many of the world’s fundamentals, revealing things that hadn’t been visible before. One is US–China relations. For example, the US’s strictest policy against China is decoupling, but COVID-19 has stopped the movement of people, severed supply chains, and had a major negative impact on the US economy, so is it really possible to establish a decoupling relationship with China? Also, until now, the Xi Jinping administration has talked about the “China Dream” to build a country peerless in the world by the mid-century, but isn’t that a dream founded on extremely optimistic predictions? I hope that China can make this experience ... ... [Read more]

No.59
No.59, Diplomacy  Jun. 24, 2020

Rapid infectious disease response is needed: Challenges seen from the frontlines of politics

Various challenges such as political leadership, preparation of medical systems, the relationship between the central and local governments, and the requirements of an emergency law on infectious diseases have become apparent as we respond to the unprecedented infectious disease (COVID-19). An expert on global health administration lays out a comprehensive set of issues for the current and future public health emergencies.   Takemi Keizo, member of the House of Councillors   At the time of writing this article, the world was facing the biggest global-health crisis of the twenty-first century due to COVID-19. From the end of 2019 and into 2020, COVID-19 had spread not just within China from Wuhan City in Hubei Province, but also to Japan and the rest of the world, owing to the fact that its initial spread coincided with the Chinese New Year holiday. As Chairperson of the Special ... ... [Read more]

No.59
No.59, Diplomacy  Jun. 23, 2020

A Preeminent Japanese Former International Civil Servant Reveals: Why the Pro-China Bias? – The WHO’s True Identity

Akasaka Kiyotaka, President, Foreign Press Center Japan (FPCJ)   From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Akasaka worked in the secretariat of the World Health Organization (WHO) supporting Mr. Nakajima Hiroshi, the Director-General at that time, and the first Japanese head of an international organization under the United Nations. Before and after that Mr. Akasaka has worked a total of seventeen years as an international civil servant at GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), the predecessor of the WTO (World Trade Organization), the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, among others. Currently, Mr. Akasaka conveys information about Japan’s position to overseas media as the President for the Foreign Press Center Japan (FPCJ) and verifies their news coverage of Japan. China’s Presence   ― China has been investing in African nations through its Belt and Road ... ... [Read more]

No.58
No.58, Discussions, Diplomacy  Jun. 12, 2020

Special Roundtable: Japanese Foreign Policy in 2020—Let us be a bond for a multilateral international order

How can we make the United States and China, countries with immense national power that at times opt for unilateralism, commit to the international order? Foreign Minister Motegi answers questions on how he intends to guide Japan’s foreign policy in 2020.   Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs vs Tanaka Akihiko, President, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   Tanaka Akihiko: You have served in many important ministerial roles before now, but could you share your thoughts on your time so far as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu: It has already been almost four months since September 11, 2019 when I took up my role as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Immediately after becoming Foreign Minister I visited New York to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations, where I attended multi-party meetings on topics such as reforming the UN ... ... [Read more]

No.58
No.58, Diplomacy  Jun. 8, 2020

Between the “China Dream” and the “Pacific Alliance”: Japanese Strategy in an Age of US–China Rivalry

Shiraishi Takashi, Chancellor, Prefectural University of Kumamoto   US–China rivalry, the “new” Cold War, strategic competition… people have given it many names. Yet it is evident that the intensification of US–China rivalry is bringing considerable changes to the international relations of Asia and the world. How did it turn out like this? What is happening? How is it different from the Cold War? What does it mean for Japan? The Larger Context of World History Let us start by checking a few aspects of the larger context of world history. The first is the rise of emerging countries. Entering the twenty-first century, emerging countries’ share of the world economy has grown while that of developed countries has contracted. Globalization has facilitated significant growth of emerging countries and these emerging countries see the twenty-first century as their time. However, their income per capita is no ... ... [Read more]

No.58
No.58, Diplomacy  Jun. 5, 2020

Infectious Disease Response — to see the forest, not just the trees: What differentiated Japan from the Western countries?

Oshitani Hitoshi, Professor, Department of Virology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine   ―― COVID-19 (virus is SARS-CoV2) has spread globally and countries around the world are still working to suppress transmissions and treat patients.   Dr. Oshitani Hitoshi: The first report of COVID-19 by the Chinese government was at the end of last year, but it is likely that by late November, there were transmissions spreading in Wuhan City and surround areas of Hubei Province. Spread of COVID-19 in Japan had two major waves so far. The first wave was originated by people with travel history to Wuhan and other places in China. From January to early February, the number of cases from China found in Japan was 11. Of course, there were considered to be more imported cases from China in reality, but it was likely somewhere around several tens to about a ... ... [Read more]

No.58
No.58, Diplomacy  May. 20, 2020

Interview: Grand challenges posed to humanity by a viral disease

  Omi Shigeru, Vice Chair, Novel Coronavirus Expert Meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, interviewed by Takase Fumihito, editor, Gaiko (Diplomacy)   ―― Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first confirmed in China toward the end of January 2020, the disease has been confirmed in many regions across the world. COVID-19 is significantly affecting not only people’s health but also the world economy.   Dr. Omi Shigeru: Health matters were dealt with by highly specialized government offices worldwide, for example, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan. Since the SARS outbreak, however, health matters have become an important subject that requires the involvement of offices outside that specialized field, including the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and the United Nations Secretary-General.   ―― Dr. Omi served as Regional Director of the Western Pacific Regional Office for the World Health Organization (WHO) for ten years ... ... [Read more]

No.57
No.57, Diplomacy  Mar. 31, 2020

The Path that Dr. Nakamura Left to the Afghans: The Water that Saved 600,000 People   

  Dr. Nakamura Tetsu passed away at the age of 73.   On the morning of December 4th, he lost his life in an attack by an armed militant group while he was on his way to an irrigation work site.   Dr. Nakamura was born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1946, the year after the end of World War II. From 1984 onwards, he gave his life towards providing medical support to refugees in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was not only a doctor, however; he also strove to support the people of Afghanistan by digging wells and helping construct irrigation canals, based on his belief that “one irrigation canal will do more good than 100 doctors.” His many years of service were recognized in 2003, when he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award, a commendation known as “Asia’s Nobel Prize.” Ms. Sawachi had long supported ... ... [Read more]

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]