We must formulate in-depth discussion
and present the choices to the public

February 10, 2016

Yuji Miyamoto
Chairman, Miyamoto Institute of Asian Research, former Ambassador to the People's Republic of China

The global community, along with Japan, is changing and 2016 will likely turn out to be a very important year. Most significant is the issue of global governance. As the United States loses its relative dominance in global politics, how will the international community maintain and realize global peace, development and harmony? Japan needs to reflect upon its responsibilities in the international community and think of what it needs to do to create a better world 30 to 50 years from now.

For that, the world needs to see a healthy economy. Without a healthy economy, the world could spiral down toward major chaos with country after country being forced to go through changes in their political administration, which in turn will create further instability. To avoid such a turn of events, Japan should first make sure its economy is on a steady recovery path. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in mind, the government will need to show that there is some confidence left in the domestic economy in the coming year or two, and make the Japanese people feel that "there may be a better future awaiting us." The agricultural sector in particular needs to see such positive change.

Regarding Japan's national security issues, various attempts are being made to reinforce the security setup, but there is not enough discussion on the concepts behind the security system. We have been engaged in crisis management to avoid an imminent threat, but at some point we will have to face a "real threat." Hence it becomes increasingly important to bring people together to consider how to avoid a real threat by reviewing the basic concept behind national security.

A major diplomatic agenda for Japan would include not only U.S.-Japan relations, which need to be dealt with carefully, but also relations with China and South Korea. While I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping hug each other, a strong handshake in public would show the citizens of both nations at least a willingness to cooperate, as we have entered an era where the two nations need to work together to realize peace and prosperity in the East Asia and Asia-Pacific regions. While I understand the two leaders have their own beliefs, it's time to end the squabbling and move toward improving diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

⇒ Yasushi Akashi
Chairman, International House of Japan, former United Nations Undersecretary-General

⇒ Yasuchika Hasegawa
Chairman of the Board, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.

⇒ Hiroya Masuda
Advisor, Nomura Research Institute, former Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications

⇒ Yuji Miyamoto
Chairman, Miyamoto Institute of Asian Research, former Ambassador to the People's Republic of China

⇒ Akihiko Tanaka
Professor of International Politics at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo

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