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No.53, Diplomacy  Aug. 21, 2019

Management of agriculture business in Africa: Model for Growing Together Centering on a Strategy of “Full Trust”

  We sell “Porous Alpha,” which is a foamed glass made from recycled waste glass. By mixing Porous Alpha into soil, the soil’s water retention and aeration are improved for better water conservation and yield. We have been implementing this water-saving agriculture technology in Africa, where droughts are becoming an increasingly serious problem, since 2008. We set up a local subsidiary in Morocco in May 2017, and are now developing markets for local farmers. I will introduce our challenges and strategy for business development in Africa, especially our strategy on human resources, which we see as our top priority. The process of business development in a new market has the steps (1) feasibility study on the local market and technological verification, followed by (2) local market development. As our step 1, we have been engaged in projects supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy  Aug. 21, 2019

Japan’s Science and Technology Strategy for the SDGs

For Japan to achieve the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 it must accelerate Science, Technology and Innovation. Japan should link this to its “Society 5.0” vision for the future of society and be at the fore of the international community’s efforts.   In order to achieve the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the 2015 General Assembly of the United Nations, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as well as social and economic reform, is essential. For this reason, a UN inter-agency task team (IATT) has been launched and STI is being accelerated at a global level in order to achieve the SDGs. The 10-member group to which I have been appointed was set up to provide advice to the IATT. In this article, I would like to examine how STI can contribute to achieving ... ... [Read more]

No.53, Diplomacy  Aug. 21, 2019

System reforms for improving agriculture: A Vision for Digitalizing African Agricultural Infrastructure Based on Farmer Unionization

New Challenges in African Business Starting with Ninomiya Sontoku’s hotoku shiho and Ohara Yugaku’s Senzokabu Association, which revived ruined farm villages at the end of the Edo period, Japan underwent a technological evolution going from the Cooperative Society Law enacted in 1900 (Meiji 33) to the agricultural cooperatives, cooperative associations, credit unions, and shinkin banks of today. The creative foundation of our business is about incorporating those experiences in spreading digitalized agricultural unions and marketplaces in countries in Africa. The cooperative membership rate (to population) in Sub-Saharan Africa is 2.73%, which is extremely low compared to 45.55% in Europe and 38.63% in North America. Looking at pick-up arm types, agricultural development agent types, farmland reform receptacle types, and cooperative sales organization types, the roles played as well as failures and successes recorded by agricultural cooperatives in African countries have varied, and the interconnections between ... ... [Read more]

Discussions, No.52, Diplomacy  Jul. 11, 2019

Dialogue: The lessons from Western politics straying out off course ― Welcoming the storms of the international community with a philosophy of inclusion

European politics in confusion Aida Hirotsugu (Hiro Aida): Three years have passed since the 2016 Brexit referendum, in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU), closely followed by Donald Trump being elected president of the United States. Turmoil persists in the United Kingdom and the United States, populism is rampant in other European countries, and formerly sound governments based on the ideals of parliamentary democracy have struggled to function. In Italy, the leftist Five Star Movement and the far-right Lega formed a coalition government in 2018, which saw the establishment of an anti-EU administration heavily influenced by populism. In France as well, the Yellow Vest movement broke out in November 2018 and still shows no sign of dying down. Initially, the movement started from demonstrations against the Macron administration’s fuel and car tax hikes. But in the confused state of ... ... [Read more]

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]