No.59 | Discuss Japan-Japan Foreign Policy Forum

Archives : No.59

No.59
No.59, Diplomacy  Jul. 31, 2020

In Memoriam: OGATA Sadako – a giant of humanity and international cooperation whom the world loved and respected

Mrs. OGATA Sadako has passed away. Although she lived to a ripe old age, her passing is truly regrettable. She was one of the world’s great leaders, without the slightest need to qualify it with words like “as a woman” or “as a Japanese”. KITAOKA Shinichi, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) As a student of Professor OKA Yoshitake Mrs. Ogata completed a doctoral thesis at the University of California, Berkeley, but around that time, she was also mentored by Professor OKA Yoshitake (1902–1990), a specialist in Japanese political and diplomatic history at the Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo. Professor Oka was also the mentor of my mentor (MITANI Taichiro, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo), so I am one of the students of Professor Oka. Professor Oka’s students, who are active in a variety of fields, had a tradition of ... ... [Read more]

No.59, Society
Jul. 13, 2020

The President of the Japan Football Association’s battle with the coronavirus, his recovery and the future: I won’t give in to the virus, and neither will football or the Olympics!

Tashima Kohzo, President, Japan Football Association (JFA) and Vice President, Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) A message from someone who has experienced the coronavirus ―During the second half of March, it was announced that you had contracted the new coronavirus, deeply shocking the Japanese public. Tashima Kohzo: Thinking about it now, I probably caught the virus in Europe. During the second half of February, I attended an international meeting in Belfast, UK. That coincided with an important meeting in Amsterdam in the Netherlands to promote our bid for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, in which rival countries would make presentations. We were also given the chance to make a presentation, so canceling was not an option. Looking back, Europe at that time was completely different to the situation now. No one was wearing a mask on the street and people were casually shaking hands ... ... [Read more]

No.59, Society
Jul. 6, 2020

Building Bodies and Minds That Can Overcome COVID-19: Boosting Immune Strength with “Daily Baths” — Strengthening the Body’s “Lifeline” with Improved Blood Flow

Hayasaka Shinya, Professor, Tokyo City University   For some twenty years, I have conducted medical research on bathing as a lifestyle habit. That experience has taught me one thing with certainty. It is that “Bathing is the best health practice that people in general can do.” It is easy and inexpensive, can be done every day without trouble, and it is very effective. We affectionately call bathtub bathing “ofuro” in Japanese. I suspect Japan is the only country in the world where nearly every house across the country is equipped with such an “amazing health promotion tool.” In fact, the great health effects of bathing have been proven medically. Some examples include increasing immune functions, adjusting autonomic nervous responses, improving blood flow, activating basic metabolism and enzymes in the body, and reducing mental stress. It has an astounding variety of effects. Among them, I ... ... [Read more]

No.59, Economy
Jul. 1, 2020

Keidanren Chairman’s strategy for overcoming the global crisis: Executives must perceive “change as opportunity”

Nakanishi Hiroaki, Chairman, Keidanren, Executive Chairman, Hitachi, Ltd. No prospect of much-needed international cooperation ―The Japanese government has acknowledged with regard to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that the global economy is now truly facing the greatest crisis in the postwar period. Nakanishi Hiroaki: The “Keidanren’s Urgent Proposal to counter Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic,” issued by Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) on March 30, also positioned the COVID-19 pandemic as a “dilemma, which is unprecedented in modern times” and then called for action, including “fiscal measures on a scale equal to or greater than the measures taken in the event of the financial crisis of 2007–2008,” saying “the implementation of additional measures, as well as providing focused support to workers and businesses who are truly in need is essential.” The worst part of it all is not knowing when or how the situation will ... ... [Read more]

No.59, Society
Jun. 30, 2020

Hints from the combination of labor economics, Social Sciences of Hope and Social Sciences of Crisis Thinking: Toward ways of working able to respond to abnormality and change

Genda Yuji, Professor, University of Tokyo   Lessons from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis More than anything else, protecting the lives and health of people is necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no room for argument in that regard. Based on this, many people are hoping they can secure employment that brings in the income needed to cover living expenses in the months ahead. In term of employment, the possibility that this new crisis is more serious than the 2008 global financial crisis, defined by the iconic September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, is a concern given the rapid shrinkage of economic activities associated with the spread of COVID-19. During the 2008 global financial crisis, 950,000 jobs were lost in Japan in only a year, and the unemployment rate rose to 5.5% in July of 2009, matching the previous record high. ... ... [Read more]

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, 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, 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]