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No.61
No.61, Diplomacy  Sept. 25, 2020

The Notes of a Commanding Officer on Site: A Complete 15-Day Record of the Wuhan “Evacuation of Japanese Citizens”: Operating Throughout the Nights, No Time to Be Afraid

Ueno Atsushi, Director-General / Assistant Minister, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (Former Deputy Chief of Mission of Japanese Embassy in China)   Starting in late January, the Japanese government had a total of five chartered airplanes fly to Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China to bring home 828 Japanese citizens living in Hubei Province as well as their families, including Chinese nationals. I was responsible for the “field team” (known as Team A) that assisted in operating flights 1 through 4. This article is a record of those activities. I had been involved in operations to evacuate Japanese citizens from Beijing during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and responding to SARS in 2003. It is not that I attract emergencies, but the reality is that these kinds of emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. This is why it is ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Diplomacy  Sept. 1, 2020

JICA and COVID-19: Tackling Inequalities in Developing Countries

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is implementing a range of infection control support measures against COVID-19 in developing countries. We take a look at some of these measures, with a focus on the policies being implemented to counter the risks and exacerbated disadvantages that women and girls face as a result of the spread of COVID-19. Sawaji Osamu, The Japan Journal   The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is raging across the world. The number of infected rapidly started increasing globally around February 2020, and according to the calculations of the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, there were about 11 million officially confirmed cases and about 530,000 dead in the world as of July 6.     The spread of COVID-19 is dealing serious blows to countries’ societies and economies. Amid this, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is implementing infection control support ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Diplomacy  Aug. 21, 2020

Promoting Japan–South Korean Cooperation and Broadening Empathy: Taking as a Clue the Question of a Japanese Diplomat

There is a gap between Japan and South Korea that is emotionally difficult to bridge. Sunobe Ryozo (1918–2006), who served as Ambassador to South Korea forty years ago, has said that the state of Japan–South Korea relations is a “litmus paper” for Japanese growth. At present, having common values and social issues really is a step toward overcoming the “emotional gap” over historical perceptions.   Kobayashi Somei, Associate Professor, Nihon University   Forty years ago, there was a Japanese diplomat who asked what South Korea is to Japanese diplomacy. It was the then Ambassador to South Korea Sunobe Ryozo, who later also served as Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. In a declassified confidential telegram  titled “Report and Views on Circumstances within the Ministry’s Jurisdiction as well as Policy Proposal” (hereinafter, the “Sunobe Proposal”) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in January 1981, Sunobe wrote ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Diplomacy  Aug. 21, 2020

Challenges for Strengthening the Japan-US Alliance: Japanese Role Questions through Japan-US “Integration”

Sixty years have passed since the Japan-US Security Treaty entered into force. The Alliance has transformed as the times have changed. With the rise of China, the alliance is again in a new stage.   Onodera Itsunori, Member of the House of Representatives, Chairperson, Research Commission on National Security of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan   ―― Sixty years have passed since the Japan-US Security Treaty entered into force. Onodera Itsunori: As an agreement that would become the foundation for the Japan-US Alliance, the basis for Japan’s national security, there is no mistaking that the Japan-US Security Treaty has greatly contributed to the safety and growth of postwar Japan and peace and prosperity for eastern Asia. However, the fact that China has gained not only economic power, but also political and militaristic power since the dawn of the century greatly impacts Japan’s national ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Diplomacy  Aug. 21, 2020

Maritime Security: Japan’s Plans in a Changing World

China’s activities in the East China Sea have increased steadily since 2008 and have intensified still further since the outbreak of COVID-19. The Councilors’ Meeting of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy in Japan has submitted a new set of recommendations to the Prime Minister in response to these and other challenges facing Japan as a maritime nation. Mizuno Tetsu, freelance writer   Since the appearance of COVID-19, the territorial incursions of Chinese government vessels into the waters around the Senkaku Islands, effectively controlled by Japan, have been almost continuous. Over the course of four days from July 2 to 5 this year, Chinese government vessels intruded into Japanese territorial waters for a total of 39 hours, repeatedly entering and withdrawing.     On July 7, Suga Yoshihide, Chief Cabinet Secretary stated, “I’m in no position to comment on the intention behind the activities of ... ... [Read more]

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
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]