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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]

Diplomacy, No.49  Aug. 20, 2018

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China

Introduction To commemorate the year 2018, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, I am tasked with reviewing the last four decades of Japan-China relations. As my field of study is the history of Japanese politics and diplomacy, I am not familiar enough with Chinese affairs or the present situations between the two countries to evaluate them. Nor am I entitled to make comments on the future of Japan-China relations. All I can do is to finish the assigned task. Having said that, I will turn my thoughts toward the future in this essay, giving a general picture of the last four decades and drawing some lessons out of it. I would like to do so in this anniversary year with two specific aims. Firstly, I would like to underline how ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.48  Aug. 6, 2018

Multilayered Security Cooperation Through the New Type of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance

Half a century has passed since the United Kingdom withdrew from the area east of Suez. The UK, which stands at the major turning point of leaving the European Union, is returning to the east. Japan is developing partnerships with the UK. The new Anglo-Japanese Alliance will make a significant contribution to the stability of the Pacific region. Many British historians say that the modern world is strikingly similar to the time of World War I. In a situation where the great powers have begun to decline, other countries are rising and chaos and uncertainty are spreading all over the world. In Europe, the United Kingdom, which had led the unification of Europe, has decided to leave the European Union (EU). Russia has virtually annexed Crimea, which was part of Ukraine, launched a military intervention into the Middle East for the first time since ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.48  Aug. 6, 2018

Two years have passed since the Permanent Court of Arbitration released its ruling on the South China Sea: The current conditions in China

On July 12 two years ago, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) released its ruling on a claim brought by the Philippines against China on the South China Sea disputes between those two countries. The court rejected China’s claims on all thirteen issues taken up by the Philippines. But China refused to recognize the ruling, claiming “non-reception,” “non-participation,” “non-approval” and “non-execution” and maintains that position today, claiming that the ruling is not legally binding. The active maritime policy and oppressive maritime advances of China, which ignore international norms, became particularly noticeable in the 2001 Hainan Island incident, in which a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft operating above the waters of the South China Sea collided with a Chinese People’s Liberation Army F-8 fighter. After several skirmishes, in 2009, an unidentified Chinese ship interfered with the USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23), an Impeccable-class ocean surveillance ship, which ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.48  Jul. 29, 2018

The Confucius Institute in the One Belt, One Road Region

What Kind of Organization is the Confucius Institute? The Confucius Institute is an organization set up in foreign countries by China with the principal aims of teaching Chinese, propaganda, and fostering friendly relations. It was launched in 2004 during the administration of Hu Jintao and managed by the Hanban (Office of Chinese Language Council International), a section of the Ministry of Education (http://www.hanban.edu.cn). This Hanban is a national-level organization; in other words, it became the “National Hanban” at the outset of the Hu Jintao administration in 2002. That this organization bears the name “Confucius” has no essential connection with any propagation of the teachings of Confucius or Confucianism. Initially, a perception arose that the then rapidly developing China was being misunderstood by the world, so the institute aimed to promote both Chinese language learning and the training of Chinese language teachers overseas, and through ... ... [Read more]

Diplomacy, No.47  May. 29, 2018

Interview: Foreign Minister KONO Taro Japan’s Diplomatic Landscape in 2018 Pushing North Korea toward Denuclearization by Applying Continued Pressure

―― Since you became Foreign Minister, your highly motivated strategic communications in Japan and abroad, as well as your active visits to foreign countries, have attracted attention. Kono Taro: Since assuming office in August 2017, I have visited numerous locations around the world, taking 13 foreign trips and visiting 25 countries (30 countries if revisits are included), as well as going to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa in Japan. I have held more than 70 Foreign Ministers’ meetings in Japan and abroad, and have held more than 160 meetings in total, including other multilateral meetings, etc. In the process of meeting with the Foreign Ministers of other countries, I have strongly recognized that building personal relationships is very important in diplomacy. I will continue to make efforts to achieve concrete diplomatic results by solidifying personal relationships of trust and networks. ―― What kinds of diplomatic ... ... [Read more]