March 08, 2019

_DZB1369.jpgJames Lindsay
Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations in the U.S

I am always delighted to attend the Tokyo Conference. I thought we had a stimulating set of discussions, focused on the big issue of the future evolution of the world order, and particularly on the issue of the confrontation between the United States and China on trade issues. It is a compliment to your leadership that you were able to assemble such a great group of outside experts and also such an impressive list of senior Japanese officials. I think we were all enriched by the insights they shared.

-What did you think about the content of this conference? Do you have any suggestions or advice for future conferences?

Well, there are two things. In terms of my take away from the conversation we had here, I think there is generalized concern about the evolution of the world order, where it is headed. This is a world order that has been fraying for some time. Even if people realize that something needs to be done to fix and reinvigorate the world order, that it doesn't mean it is necessarily will be fixed or reinvigorated. Obviously there are many different perspectives on how to fix the order. I think one of the big questions we need to focus on is what the largest beneficiaries of this order should be doing to reinvigorate it to address its problems. I am talking not just about the United States, but also about the role that Japan should be playing, the role that major European countries should be playing. But also the role of countries such as India, Brazil, and Singapore. There is a real question about who is going to stand up and do what it needs to be done to provide stability to a fraying order.

- I think it is now time to upgrade the world order. This does not mean we are going to depend on the U.S.'s power, but the responsibilities of the advanced democracies needs to be discussed. The world is undergoing a transformation and that is what this conference is based on..

I actually owe a compliment to Prime Minister Abe. It seems to me at least, that he realized long before many other leaders did, that is was necessary for Japan and others to step up and do more. Obviously, as prime minister, he has his domestic politics, as all leaders do. But I think he has tried to find ways to work with President Trump. In Japan more broadly, he has played a major role in trying to reach out to other countries in East Asia, South East Asia, and South Asia to find common cause to collaborate and cooperate, in order to address these very big problems. Obviously, as is the prime minister of any country, it is just one of the many things that he has on his plate.

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