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No.64
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
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
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
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
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]

No.64
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]

No.63
No.63, Discussions, Diplomacy  Mar. 31, 2021

Abe Shinzo on Japan’s diplomacy during the seven years and eight months he was in office (Part II): Strategic Thinking within the Free and Open Indo-Pacific

One of the key features of Abe Diplomacy is that it always perceived bilateral issues within their strategic constructs. China, South Korea, Russia and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific—surely this is putting into practice ideas that establish the reality of a diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map.   Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)     Tanaka Akihiko: In the previous issue (Gaiko Vol. 64), we spoke in detail about the creation of the National Security Council (NSC), enacting the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets and the Legislation for Peace and Security, and dealing with a series of important issues following the inauguration of your second administration, the underlying Japan-US and Japan-China relationships, as well as the issue of historical perceptions. This time, I would first of all like to ask ... ... [Read more]

No.63
No.63, Discussions, Diplomacy  Mar. 31, 2021

Abe Shinzo talks about Japan’s diplomacy during the seven years and eight months he was in office: Reinforcing the Japan-US alliance, the foundation of Japan’s revitalization

The second Abe administration was the longest in modern Japan and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s track record on foreign and security policy has earned high marks. What were his thoughts and decisions as he faced an increasingly severe situation in Northeast Asia as Prime Minister? We listen to the former prime minister’s thoughts, with a focus on Japan-US relations and the issue regarding perceptions of history.   Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   Tanaka Akihiko: You were in charge of the longest running government in Japan’s modern history and negotiated with world leaders. What events left a big impression on you?   Abe Shinzo: There have been many… In June 2013, six months after the second administration was inaugurated, the G8 Summit was held in Lough Erne, in the United Kingdom. This was before the 2014 Crimean ... ... [Read more]

No.63
No.63, Diplomacy  Mar. 11, 2021

Perspectives of Japan on the World and East Asia in the Time of Corona

Kawashima Shin, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo The Problem of Infectious Disease at a Turning Point in the World Order COVID-19, which spread from Wuhan in China, has once again reminded us that human society has long been confronted with infectious disease. Even in modern times, infectious disease remains a challenge to be overcome. Nations and the international community have dealt with the challenge, but by the latter half of the twentieth century, such “memories” may have gradually faded in many developed countries. However, since the start of globalization in the 1990s, emerging nations, which are already dealing with in-country sanitation vulnerabilities, have had outbreaks of unknown disease that have quickly spread outside the country. COVID-19 has raised significant issues for human society. Firstly, international cooperation functioned in case of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) and other diseases, but ... ... [Read more]

No.62
No.62, Diplomacy  Dec. 22, 2020

From the Frontlines of Defense to Aegis Ashore: Japan’s changing security environment and Japan-U.S. Alliance

Serving as Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, the highest ranking officer of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), for five years, Mr. Kawano enjoyed the confidence of then Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and was thoroughly informed about all aspects from the frontlines to the center of command. Now that he has retired from office, he speaks about the security arrangements from his own experience.   Kawano Katsutoshi, Former Admiral, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff   ―― Mr. Kawano, your career coincided with major changes in Japan’s security arrangements after the end of the Cold War. How has the role of the JSDF changed over time? Kawano Katsutoshi: The turning point was the Gulf Crisis in August 1990 followed by the start of the Gulf War in January 1991. It was the first global military crisis to occur after the end of the Cold War, and ... ... [Read more]