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No.68, Discussions, Diplomacy  Nov. 25, 2021

Witnessing a Turning Point for Japanese Diplomacy: The War Against Terror and Japan-US Relations as Seen from the Heart of Political Power

Fukuda Yasuo, former Prime Minister of Japan Interviewed by Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)   Tanaka Akihiko: On September 11, 2001, a series of terror attacks occurred in the United States. Subsequently, the world entered the age of “fight against terrors.” It was six months after the Koizumi Administration had been launched. As the then Chief Cabinet Secretary, you were at the heart of that administration, so how did you interpret these events at the time?   Fukuda Yasuo: It was around ten at night when the first report of the terror attacks reached me, amidst a meeting with media representatives. The report was that a plane had hit one of the New York World Trade Center buildings. At first, I thought it was an accident, but just as I left for home, I received news that ... ... [Read more]

No.67, Discussions, Diplomacy  Nov. 15, 2021

100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party: The Xi Jinping administration in history

General Secretary Xi Jinping has been concentrating power on his own person. However, the policy is deeply engraved with decades of efforts for reform and opening up as well as “intra-party democracy.” Using Xi’s speech at the commemorative ceremony of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, we decipher its historical continuity and transformation.   Miyamoto Yuji (former Ambassador of Japan to the People’s Republic of China, Chairman of the Miyamoto Institute of Asian Research) Okazaki Kumiko (Research Director, the Canon Institute for Global Studies) Kawashima Shin (Professor, University of Tokyo)     —On July 1, 2021, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) held a grand ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. From a historical point of view, how do you see the current government of the Xi Jinping administration? ... ... [Read more]

No.67, Discussions, Diplomacy  Oct. 13, 2021

The Urgent Need to Establish “Strategic Autonomy” and “Strategic Indispensability”—economic security strategy for a digital transformation society

Amari Akira, Member of the House of Representatives Interviewed by Tanaka Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)     Tanaka Akihiko: As Chairperson of the Strategic Headquarters on the Creation of a New International Order, Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party you put together two proposals: “Towards ‘Formulating Economic Security Strategy’” (December 2020) and “Interim report: Basic Policy for Economic and Fiscal Management and Structural Reform 2021” (May 2021).   Amari Akira: Economic statecraft, to put it bluntly, is forcing the other party to accept one’s demands using economic means… and such a thing has been used repeatedly throughout history all over the world. For example, following a 2010 incident in the sea off the Senkaku Islands, China effectively halted exports of rare earth materials to Japan. There are also people who criticize the United States for ... ... [Read more]

No.66, Discussions, Politics  Oct. 6, 2021

Continuing to Say to the Government What Needs to be Said

Ever since the novel coronavirus COVID-19 first appeared in Japan, Dr. Omi Shigeru has been leading the battle against this infectious disease. At times he has received criticism such as, “scientists are too forward-leaning with their comments,” and he’s given advice to the government that is painful to hear. We asked Dr. Omi about tribulations so far and prospects for the future. (Interview 20 February with subsequent revision.)   Omi Shigeru, Chairman of the New Coronavirus Infectious Diseases Control Subcommittee Interviewed by Makihara Izuru, Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), University of Tokyo   Pressing on with a forward-leaning attitude Professor Makihara Izuru: It is now about one year since the first state of emergency declaration was issued (April 7, 2020). Looking back over this period, what are your thoughts?   Dr. Omi Shigeru: When the first state of emergency was ... ... [Read more]

No.66, Discussions, Diplomacy  Sept. 14, 2021

Roundtable talk: How to Face the “Invisible Threat”: Thinking about the International Order of Norms, Technology, and Institutions

Parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is facing a variety of challenges. Will the Biden administration be able to regain the “normative power” of the United States? What is the problem with the emergence of Chinese companies in telecommunications space? Of importance here should be that we calmly interpret the actuality of these “threats” as well as the revival and restoration of liberal society itself.   Oba Mie (Professor at Kanagawa University), Kohno Kenji (Chief Commentator at NHK), Suzuki Kazuto (Professor at University of Tokyo), moderated by Hosoya Yuichi (Professor at Keio University)     Hosoya Yuichi: This is a roundtable talk to get an outlook on 2021, but we have to start with a dark topic. Right at the beginning of the year on January 6, Trump supporters invaded the United States Capitol and occupied it temporarily, leading to five deaths.   ... ... [Read more]

No.66, Discussions, Diplomacy  Sept. 11, 2021

The Quad: Effectiveness of “Cooperation in Peacetime Situations”

The Quad—officially the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a forum joining Japan, Australia, India and the United States—has recently attracted attention, but how much does it actually affect order building in reality. The four countries will need to rid themselves of overestimation, advance functional cooperation, and gradually accumulate steady outcomes.   Ito Toru (Professor of National Defense Academy), Satake Tomohiko (Senior research fellow of Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies) and Mori Satoru (Professor of Hosei University FOIP for Japanese diplomacy ――The “Free and Open Indo‐Pacific” (FOIP) has become a foreign relations concept shared by Japan and many other countries. In particular, the cooperative relationship of Japan, Australia, India and the United States, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), is drawing attention.   Satake Tomohiko: The concept of a “free and open international order” that FOIP touts is not necessarily new. Since the Cold War era, ... ... [Read more]

No.65, Discussions, Diplomacy  Sept. 7, 2021

“Free and Open Indo-Pacific” under the US-China Conflict: For coexistence of strategic competition and economic cooperation

The Suga Yoshihide Cabinet is the successor to the Abe Administration. Even though the US-Japan axis remains unchanged, the diplomatic and security environment around Japan is becoming increasingly severe against a background of structured conflict between the United States and China. The following discussion is a general overview of the diplomatic issues confronting the Suga Cabinet and the possible paths to take. (The discussion was held on November 3, 2020, the date of the US presidential election, and the transcript was finalized on November 17.)   Three-way conversation by Takahara Akio (Professor, University of Tokyo), Nakanishi Hiroshi (Professor, Kyoto University) and Yoshioka Keiko (senior staff writer, Asahi Shimbun)   ― The Suga Cabinet is the successor to the Abe administration, but first, how would you evaluate Abe diplomacy?   Takahara Akio: I think Abe diplomacy is a good example of the significance of a ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Discussions, Culture  Aug. 11, 2021

Anthem Project: Connecting the World Through National Anthems

Yamada Kazuki, Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  Interviewed by Katayama Morihide, Professor of Keio University and Sakura Osamu, Professor of the University of Tokyo   The Yamada Kazuki Anthem Project, Road to 2020 (hereinafter Anthem Project) is a plan to record 206 national anthems onto CD in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project was devised and brought together by conductor Yamada Kazuki, who was the winner of the first prize at the 51st International Competition for Young Conductors and the public prize in Besançon (2009). It came to fruition in November 2020 with a CD set, “Sekai no kokka–Utau chikyugi (National Anthems of the World–Song Globe)” (sold by King Records Co. Ltd.), which was created through cooperation and performances involving Yamada, ... ... [Read more]

No.64, Discussions, Science  Aug. 2, 2021

The Perfect Return that Sent the Hayabusa2 Control Room into a Frenzy: The secret to scoring “10,000 points out of a perfect 100” is to predict the difficulties and to be prepared with three options

Tsuda Yuichi, Professor at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Interview and text by Yamane Kazuma, nonfiction writer     On a visit to the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture on December 18, 2020, Hagiuda Koichi, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, announced some good news at the press conference. “The capsule brought back by Hayabusa2 contains approximately 5.4 grams of soil samples collected from the asteroid Ryugu. This world-class technology has collected an amount that is fifty times above the target of 0.1 gram.” The first-generation Hayabusa was the first time since the moon landings for humanity to achieve the spectacular feat of bringing back a sample from a celestial body, but that sample was no more than three ... ... [Read more]

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]