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No.66, Discussions, Diplomacy  Sept. 14, 2021

Roundtable talk: How to Face the “Invisible Threat”: Thinking about the International Order of Norms, Technology, and Institutions

Parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is facing a variety of challenges. Will the Biden administration be able to regain the “normative power” of the United States? What is the problem with the emergence of Chinese companies in telecommunications space? Of importance here should be that we calmly interpret the actuality of these “threats” as well as the revival and restoration of liberal society itself.   Oba Mie (Professor at Kanagawa University), Kohno Kenji (Chief Commentator at NHK), Suzuki Kazuto (Professor at University of Tokyo), moderated by Hosoya Yuichi (Professor at Keio University)     Hosoya Yuichi: This is a roundtable talk to get an outlook on 2021, but we have to start with a dark topic. Right at the beginning of the year on January 6, Trump supporters invaded the United States Capitol and occupied it temporarily, leading to five deaths.   ... ... [Read more]

No.66, Discussions, Diplomacy  Sept. 11, 2021

The Quad: Effectiveness of “Cooperation in Peacetime Situations”

The Quad—officially the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a forum joining Japan, Australia, India and the United States—has recently attracted attention, but how much does it actually affect order building in reality. The four countries will need to rid themselves of overestimation, advance functional cooperation, and gradually accumulate steady outcomes.   Ito Toru (Professor of National Defense Academy), Satake Tomohiko (Senior research fellow of Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies) and Mori Satoru (Professor of Hosei University FOIP for Japanese diplomacy ――The “Free and Open Indo‐Pacific” (FOIP) has become a foreign relations concept shared by Japan and many other countries. In particular, the cooperative relationship of Japan, Australia, India and the United States, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), is drawing attention.   Satake Tomohiko: The concept of a “free and open international order” that FOIP touts is not necessarily new. Since the Cold War era, ... ... [Read more]

No.65, Diplomacy  Sept. 8, 2021

The world and Japan after COVID-19—Japan should lead the free world with ODA

KITAOKA Shinichi, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)   Key points The post-COVID-19 world will inevitably face a further rise of China Japan should contribute to the world through health care and medical support and human resource development Japan should aim to achieve the ODA target in terms of GNI as set in the United Nations   The 2021 Group of Seven (G7) summit took place at Cornwall, England, on June 11-13. High on the G7 agenda were responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and China. It was natural for the leaders of the world’s leading democracies to prioritize discussion on those issues. The novel coronavirus has been inflicting huge damage to the world that is exceeded only by the two world wars and the Great Depression. History shows world-scale crises often bring major structural changes to the world. World War I resulted in the ... ... [Read more]

No.65, Discussions, Diplomacy  Sept. 7, 2021

“Free and Open Indo-Pacific” under the US-China Conflict: For coexistence of strategic competition and economic cooperation

The Suga Yoshihide Cabinet is the successor to the Abe Administration. Even though the US-Japan axis remains unchanged, the diplomatic and security environment around Japan is becoming increasingly severe against a background of structured conflict between the United States and China. The following discussion is a general overview of the diplomatic issues confronting the Suga Cabinet and the possible paths to take. (The discussion was held on November 3, 2020, the date of the US presidential election, and the transcript was finalized on November 17.)   Three-way conversation by Takahara Akio (Professor, University of Tokyo), Nakanishi Hiroshi (Professor, Kyoto University) and Yoshioka Keiko (senior staff writer, Asahi Shimbun)   ― The Suga Cabinet is the successor to the Abe administration, but first, how would you evaluate Abe diplomacy?   Takahara Akio: I think Abe diplomacy is a good example of the significance of a ... ... [Read more]

No.65, Diplomacy  Aug. 31, 2021

Japan’s Arctic Policy and the Northern Sea Route: Conflict between “Energy Security” and “Freedom of Navigation”

  The Northern Sea Route has had appeal for the international community in recent years. Japan is working with Russia to promote participation in the development of LNG, and hopes are high for its future role as a new international route. At the same time, consensus over navigation regulations is vital to achieve this.   Kaneko Nanae, Researcher, First Research Office of the Special Committees and the Research Committees of House of Councillors   On March 23, 2021, a large container ship ran aground in the Suez Canal, causing a six-day disruption to the international logistics network. While this gave rise around the world to a renewed sense of impending crisis concerning the vulnerability of this choke point, Russia alone spied an opportunity to promote the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as an alternative transportation route. The Arctic Ocean had long been icebound, but global ... ... [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, Discussions, Diplomacy  Jul. 2, 2021

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]

No.64, Discussions, Diplomacy  Jul. 2, 2021

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]