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No.52, Diplomacy  Jul. 1, 2019

Japan-US-China Relations in the Indo-Pacific Region

  An interview with Sasae Kenichiro, President and Director General of the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) Conflict between the United States and China is becoming a contest regarding the international order. What should Japan, the US, and China do in order to engage in regional confidence building? In short, strenuous efforts based on Japan’s diplomatic principles are needed.   ―― What does “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” mean for Japanese diplomacy?   Sasae Kenichiro: Different people in different positions and with different views will think of it in different ways: as an initiative, a design or a strategy. But I am of the opinion that it is the principle of Japanese diplomacy, a standing to which Japanese diplomacy should always return. Needless to say, “Free and Open” is the value that constituted the basis that enabled Japan to restart from its defeat ... ... [Read more]

No.51, Diplomacy  Mar. 31, 2019

Can Japanese Diplomacy Talk about Universality?—Rebuilding public diplomacy strategy

Amidst the flux of the liberal international order, Japan’s public diplomacy, which relies solely on its cultural uniqueness, is inadequate. The author proposes new principles for an age where the diplomatic sphere is expanding from negotiation tactics to agenda setting and norm setting. In the fall of 2017 when there was a succession of major events—the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and US President Donald Trump’s visit to China—I visited Peking University and had an opportunity to exchange opinions with many experts and specialists. What impressed me in particular was that the Chinese side emphasized the negative aspect of democracy and used it in justification of the Communist Party’s monopoly on power. The Chinese experts and specialists said the following: Democracy could just consider short-term profits like companies operating under a capitalist system. The only interest of politicians and political ... ... [Read more]

No.51, Diplomacy  Feb. 6, 2019

China’s Forty Years of Reform and Opening: Governance Model Lacking Consistency

  Key Points The search for specific reform methods after Deng Xiaoping A top-down approach cannot sustain one-party rule Issues in the East China Sea reflect China’s views of the public order Roughly forty years have passed since the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted the policy of reform and opening up. During this period, the international community has wavered between two different perspectives towards China. The first is based on expectations, while the second is grounded in concern. The international community has consistently placed hope in the Chinese economy, which has assumed the responsibility of leading global economic growth. With its national strength supported by economic growth, China has reached a position where it affects the distribution of power in the community of nations. It has gradually taken an active role in the reform of global governance and displayed a desire to lead ... ... [Read more]

No.51, Diplomacy  Feb. 5, 2019

China’s Forty years of Reform and Opening: Japan should discuss China’s originality beyond the argument that it is a country of a completely different nature

  Key Points The argument that China is a country of a completely different nature is rising in the United States, and the US has changed its policy toward China Coexisting with dispersive private economy and authoritarian systems Japan should place priority on pursuing mutual economic benefits Amid the growing mood of celebrating the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening within the country, there is pessimism that the rivalry between the United States and China could become increasingly serious and prolonged beyond being solely a trade issue. This pessimism is based on a speech delivered by US Vice President Mike Pence at a conservative think tank on October 4. The reason why the speech shocked many people was not only that it comprehensively included the Trump administration’s tough stance against China on political, military and human rights issues as well as trade issues, ... ... [Read more]

No.51, Diplomacy  Jan. 14, 2019

Changes to the international system due to the rise of China. From trade wars to a “new Cold War.”

  Four characteristics of the Trump administration compared to the 1980s Is this the beginning of a new Cold War? It has now become usual to characterize US-China relations using the term “trade war.” But is the conflict affecting that relationship really limited to trade alone? During the 1980s and 1990s, the United States turned Japan’s trade surplus with the United States into a problem, and trade friction between the two nations intensified. But can we really describe the ongoing US-China trade war as a contemporary version of Japan-US trade friction? Rather, if the current clash between the United States and China is not simply a trade war, and if we were to seek a similar phenomenon, could we not compare it to the Cold War between the Soviet Union and United States? In other words, shouldn’t it be considered the ongoing evolution of ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.50  Oct. 30, 2018

The new Japonisme: From international cultural exchange to cultural diplomacy — Evaluating the influence of cultural activities on diplomacy

In my previous article I discussed the Japonisme 2018 event, but how should we evaluate this from the perspective of diplomacy? Certainly, it is true that a large-scale showcase of Japanese culture and cultural exchange in France, one of the world’s centers of culture, is a significant result among our cultural PR activities. More people will become interested in Japan through the series of events, and it will definitely be a chance for Japanese culture to permeate even deeper among French people than it has so far. But to what extent can such international cultural exchange activities as these contribute to diplomacy? We commonly speak of “cultural diplomacy,” but just how cultural activities and diplomacy are connected is not actually clear. Joseph Nye coined the phrase “soft power” following the end of the Cold War. He emphasized using attractive culture as a type of ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.50  Oct. 26, 2018

Asian regional integration and the One Belt One Road Initiative: China and its neighboring economies from the perspective of the global economy[1]

In today’s report, I will speak about not regarding the growth of China as the growth of just a country, but about regarding China as an East Asian emerging economy in the global economy, and about how China’s One Belt One Road Initiative is viewed from that perspective and what issues it entails. I will present my arguments with a focus on three main points. Firstly, I will think about Asian regional integration in the global economy and the mechanisms of its growth in reference to China. Next, I will consider the concepts behind the One Belt One Road Initiative and its relationship with the related countries. Lastly, I will think about the issues facing neighboring countries. This last part appears to lack freshness, but please allow me to mention it.   The growth and regional integration of the East Asian economic bloc First ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.49  Oct. 9, 2018

On the Birth of XiangXiang

  The birth this summer of a giant panda cub at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo has sparked a frenzy of public interest and promises a multi-billion-yen cash injection for the capital city.   On 12 June 2017, Japan was delighted by the birth of a giant panda cub at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo (Ueno Zoological Gardens). The moment media outlets reported this first birth in five years, local shops launched panda-themed sales campaigns and many messages of celebration could be seen on social media. The mother panda, ShinShin (11 years old at the time), had been removed from public display on May 25, and Japan — along with the father panda, RiRi (11 years old at the time) — eagerly awaited the birth of the cub. The first body measurement, conducted on June 14, revealed that the cub was 14.3 centimeters tall and weighed 147 grams. ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.49  Oct. 8, 2018

The United States and China, Superpowers and Japan: China Emphasizes Its Asymmetrical Worldview

Key Points: l It is possible to link the setback of the United States to China’s advance l China’s advantage lies in its economic power rather than its military might l Japan should take the lead in modifying world standards and norms on a realistic basis It is said that the postwar world order is shaky. The order of the liberal camp is based on the liberal economy derived from the Bretton Woods system, the value of liberal democracy, including freedom and democracy, and the security system led by the United States. But the United States, which should have led the order, is waging trade wars and implementing a policy that does not always place importance on allies in terms of security. Advanced countries excluding the United States are attempting to maintain the existing order by concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP 11) involving ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.49  Sept. 26, 2018

The 160th Anniversary of Franco-Japanese Diplomatic Relations: How France Discovered Japonisme  

  The age of cultural diplomacy On July 14 this year (Bastille Day, or France’s national day) Foreign Minister Kono Taro traveled to France in place of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who had canceled his French trip due to damage from heavy rain in the Chubu region of Japan. The Foreign Ministers of both countries took part in the opening ceremony of “Japonismes 2018,” the start of eight months of events to mark the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and France. At the beginning of September in Paris there was a gagaku performance by the Gagaku Department of the Imperial Household Agency, which has protected its historic traditions for a thousand and several hundred years. This first overseas performance by the department in a quarter of a century was a huge success. That same month, the Crown Prince visited France and an ... ... [Read more]