No.64 - Discuss Japan

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No.64
No.64, Discussions, Culture  Aug. 11, 2021

Anthem Project: Connecting the World Through National Anthems

Yamada Kazuki, Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  Interviewed by Katayama Morihide, Professor of Keio University and Sakura Osamu, Professor of the University of Tokyo   The Yamada Kazuki Anthem Project, Road to 2020 (hereinafter Anthem Project) is a plan to record 206 national anthems onto CD in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project was devised and brought together by conductor Yamada Kazuki, who was the winner of the first prize at the 51st International Competition for Young Conductors and the public prize in Besançon (2009). It came to fruition in November 2020 with a CD set, “Sekai no kokka–Utau chikyugi (National Anthems of the World–Song Globe)” (sold by King Records Co. Ltd.), which was created through cooperation and performances involving Yamada, ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Discussions, Science
Aug. 2, 2021

The Perfect Return that Sent the Hayabusa2 Control Room into a Frenzy: The secret to scoring “10,000 points out of a perfect 100” is to predict the difficulties and to be prepared with three options

Tsuda Yuichi, Professor at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Interview and text by Yamane Kazuma, nonfiction writer     On a visit to the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture on December 18, 2020, Hagiuda Koichi, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, announced some good news at the press conference. “The capsule brought back by Hayabusa2 contains approximately 5.4 grams of soil samples collected from the asteroid Ryugu. This world-class technology has collected an amount that is fifty times above the target of 0.1 gram.” The first-generation Hayabusa was the first time since the moon landings for humanity to achieve the spectacular feat of bringing back a sample from a celestial body, but that sample was no more than three ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Society
Aug. 1, 2021

The Road to a Difficult Olympics: One way or another, the Games will have to address gender equality themes

Raita Kyoko, Professor of Chukyo University   Editorial team of Chuokoron speak with Professor Raita Kyoko about gender and the Olympics. Professor Raita is a new appointee to the executive board after the resignation of Mori Yoshiro, (former) President of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (hereinafter, the Organising Committee), following his remark that “board meetings involving many women take a long time.” Backlash against Mori’s Remarks —How do you view the remarks made on February 3?   One of the problematic remarks was “Someone was saying that if we increase the number of women on the board, we need to also make sure that speaking time is restricted to some extent, or a meeting will drag on and it becomes a problem.” It is my understanding that President Mori was referring to hearsay when he made this remark. If ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Diplomacy
Jul. 26, 2021

SDGs Strategy in the Era of COVID-19: A Grand Vision to Overcome the “Crisis of Sustainability” Is Needed

The progress of SDGs has stalled or regressed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet if we compare COVID-19 to each of the SDGs, the SDGS become a “compass in times of crisis.” From health to governance, the SDGs are a “mindset” in a world living with COVID-19.   Inaba Masaki, Chair, Japan Civil Society Organization Network on Global Health   In September 2019, the “Sustainable Development Goals Summit” was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Concern was expressed that the progress of the SDGs was lagging behind and that if the situation continued, many of the goals would not be achieved by the deadline. The Summit resulted in the adoption of a “political declaration,” setting the next ten years as the “decade of action” to achieving the SDGs. At that time, we still did not know what was to come. We did ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Diplomacy
Jul. 19, 2021

A Turning Point for the Revolution Four Months after the Myanmar Coup: The International Community and Political Turmoil in Myanmar

Nakanishi Yoshihiro, Associate Professor, Kyoto University   The Myanmar military (known as the Tatmadaw) has turned its guns on citizens who oppose the coup d’état. The National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG), which includes ethnic minorities, has been formed and claims legitimacy over the military, which is expanding its effective rule. The solution is not a choice between two options. It is high time to rethink Japan’s Myanmar policy amid moves to mediate.   Four months have passed since the coup d’état in Myanmar on February 1. The Myanmar military staged the coup to depose the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi (hereinafter Suu Kyi). Their tactics were almost perfectly executed to the point of arresting senior government officials, including State Counsellor Suu Kyi, and proclaiming the transfer of sovereign power to the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services based ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Discussions, Diplomacy
Jul. 15, 2021

China’s Robust Ambitions: Conversation on Xi Jinping’s Logic of Expanding Hegemony—Decoding China’s Maritime Strategy and Human Rights Issues

Kawashima Shin, Professor at University of Tokyo and Masuo Chisako T., Associate Professor at Kyushu University COVID-19 Has Changed Chinese Politics Kawashima Shin: Let’s first take a look at the circumstances and challenges that China is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. China was slow with the first response to COVID-19 infections, but successfully contained them in March and April 2020. Moreover, in parallel with the pandemic response, efforts were also made to thoroughly promote economic recovery and enforce the rule of the Communist Party of China (CPC). With regard to the economy, reforms of the GDP structure are underway centering on domestic demand alongside efforts to build domestic supply chains for state-of-the-art industries through the “dual-circulation strategy” and the Export Control Law, all the while dealing with the decoupling between the United States and China. Moreover, they secured 2.3% economic growth in 2020 and ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Politics
Jul. 8, 2021

Is it the Left Wing that Opposes Gender Discrimination?

The government of old-fashioned Japan is dominated by old men. The only way forward is to add more female representatives through constitutional revision.   Inada Tomomi, Member of the House of Representatives, former Minister of Defense   If you advocate for active roles for women, you are criticized as being part of the liberal left wing. When did Japan become such an intolerant society? I formed the Josei Giin Hiyaku no Kai (JGHK), a group of female Diet members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), two years ago along with my colleagues upon success in the elections, and we called for a change in awareness, saying that we would take down the old male politicians in the LDP. We have proposed policies to the party headquarters and to the government, from the realization of tax deductions for single, unwed parents to the issue of ... ... [Read more]

Abe Shinzo on Japan’s diplomacy during the seven years and eight months he was in office (Part IV): The structures, people and language that supported prime ministerial diplomacy.

How the National Security Council functioned as a command tower for diplomacy and defense, crossing silos between ministries and government offices. Revising speeches again and again to deliver Japan’s messages to the hearts of people in partner countries. Abe Shinzo talks about the essentials of diplomacy in a democratic nation, i.e., flexible structures and the public opinion to support them.   Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) Recovering national consciousness via politics Tanaka Akihiko: This will be the last in our series of interviews. To begin with, from your first administration you spoke about a “departure from post-war regimes”; so, looking back now, how far do you think you managed to achieve that objective?   Abe Shinzo: The most significant point in question for post-war regimes is the constitution. From the start of my first administration, I wanted ... ... [Read more]

Abe Shinzo on Japan’s diplomacy during the seven years and eight months he was in office (Part III): direct talks that drew President Trump into international cooperation

On the fierce head-to-heads at G7 that test the character and ability of a leader, consolidating intricate discussions and leading debate towards agreement at G20, and a thorough account of the thrills of multilateral diplomacy associated with a long-term administration, as well as issues facing Japan, such as Futenma, the Revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and COVID-19.   Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   Tanaka Akihiko: For the third article in our series, I would like to start by asking about the G7 Summit. Including during your first administration, you attended eight G7 summits. How did you approach them?   Abe Shinzo: There are many multilateral summits but the G7 has a special feel. In addition to the G7, there are, for example, the G20, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), East Asia Summit (EAS), Nuclear ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Economy
Jul. 2, 2021

The World Beyond Corona—The World and Japan in Shock from Corona: Accelerating Structural Change and Amplified Uncertainty

Kojima Akira, Member, Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China at the end of December 2019. In January 2020, cases of infections were confirmed in Japan, and the pandemic intensified as the infection spread rapidly around the world. The subsequent Great Lockdown, to quote the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has plunged the global economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, creating disparities between countries, types of industry, and social classes. In 2020, the growth rate for the global economy slumped to negative 3.3%. The widening disparity has also drawn attention to how economies and societies have started to develop in the shape of a K, i.e., polarizing into areas of growth and expansion, and areas of downturn and decline. The coronavirus ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Economy
Jun. 25, 2021

Super Monetary Easing and the Asset Bubble: Limited disconnect from the real economy

Ito Takatoshi, Professor at Columbia University, Adjunct Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   Key points As the economy recovers, the United States moves toward a rise in long-term interest rates Stock price gaps between types of industry suggest market rationality Central bank to communicate carefully with stock markets   One year has passed since the start of restrictions on economic activities in Japan, the United States, and Europe to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy has sustained major damage as a result of the declarations of a state of emergency and lockdowns, the unemployment rates have risen and consumption in some sectors remains weak. GDP in both Japan and the United States has dropped by nearly 10% from the most recent peak in the second quarter of 2020. In the near term, the trend is toward a recovery but ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Diplomacy
Jun. 22, 2021

China’s Robust Ambitions: The Defense of Senkaku Is an Urgent Issue—The Successes of Globalization and Gaps in Domestic Defense

Watanabe Tsuneo, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation   In addition to the intense intrusion of public vessels into the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands and the pursuit of Japanese fishing vessels around these waters through China’s Coast Guard Law, the implementation of this law (February 2021) has further increased concerns towards China among Japan, the United States, and the international community. This is because this law recognizes China’s right to the use of weapons with Coast Guard vessels in the areas considered to be under Chinese jurisdiction (China claims ownership of the Senkaku Islands). These concerns were reflected in a joint statement at the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”), held in Tokyo on March 16 by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense in Japan and the State Department and Defense Department in the United States. This statement expressed a ... ... [Read more]