Chairman's Message Tokyo Conference 2024

March 14, 2024

Tokyo Conference 2024 was held on March 13 and 14. Attendees included the heads of think tanks from the G7 countries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, as well as think tanks from Brazil, India, and Singapore. It also welcomed officials from ten international organizations and other distinguished figures from around the world ? a total of 38 individuals, all of whom are working on the front lines of addressing the challenges our world faces today.

The Tokyo Conference was launched eight years ago as a collaboration with the representatives from the above-mentioned think tanks from countries who share the same liberal democratic values. The fact that this year's conference was attended by so many guests from around the world should surprise no one; we all share a powerful sense of the crises our world faces.

Numerous conflicts continue unabated around the world. The war in Ukraine began with Russia's invasion two years ago and there is no end in sight, while any attempt to stop the Israel-Hamas war has so far failed. The world is acutely aware of these tragedies, and yet world leaders have been unable to stop them and find a path to restoring a sustainable peace.

All this has had a powerful impact, dramatically escalating the risks faced by the global economy, causing growing uncertainty worldwide, and deepening the climate change crisis, which has directly affected many developing countries and even stolen away the livelihoods of some of their peoples.

International cooperation is essential in this challenging situation. However, cooperation is falling by the wayside as the countries of the world shun the concept of unity and move rather towards greater conflict and division. If these conditions continue, the conflict dynamics we face may become impossible to bring under control.

We chose the theme of "restoring international cooperation" for this year's Tokyo Conference because we believe that we now stand at a crossroads. The largest difference between this year and previous years is that Tokyo Conference 2024 focused not only on the cooperation needed to end the above-mentioned wars and resolve a number of other issues, but also on the responsibilities that democratic countries have.

We believe that the gap between the developed countries and the rest of the world has grown and could lead to a situation that is both dangerous and potentially destabilizing. Around the world, we are hearing louder and louder criticism about the double-standards of the developed democracies in handling the Israel-Hamas war compared with their responses to the Ukraine War. In addition, many of the countries of the Global South are increasingly frustrated at the West's half-hearted effort to tackle major international issues.

This gulf could be a major factor in determining the direction our world takes in the future. We must prevent it growing any further as it could become an insurmountable obstacle to handling the enormous global threats we face.

Over the past two days, these think tank representatives from ten of the world's democracies participated in six sessions of discussions that primarily revolved around what the democracies of the world need to do to foster international cooperation and address the ongoing conflicts. Through these discussions, we reached an understanding on the following two points.

Firstly, we believe that our objective must be to build a world based on a rules-based international order, and that principle must be implemented, followed, and protected in every region, every country, and every situation. The protection of territorial integrity and sovereignty is an integral part of that, and also fundamental to this is the protection of human life and fundamental rights, regardless of the circumstances. In particular, flagrant violations of human rights principles and other such behavior cannot be tolerated under international humanitarian law.

Secondly, we believe that democracies should continue to take the lead in resolving global issues and restoring peace and order. In order to protect the legitimacy of democracy, the democratic countries must earn the trust and support of the international community and the world's citizens.

There are concerns that the elections to be held in a number of democratic countries this year could result in deeper social divisions and the retreat of democracy itself. It is imperative that each country works to repair their democratic systems. Democratic countries must not look inward as they work to adapt their systems to the globalized world; they must instead work strategically to improve their economic competitiveness, distribute the fruits of that labor equitably among their citizens, and increase the utility of democracy itself.

With these issues in mind, we focused on the following four areas of action.


  • 1. The top priorities of the international community are to end the war in Ukraine sparked off by Russia's invasion, and to end the Israel-Hamas war. This can be done only by promoting just and sustainable solutions and new peaceful forms of governance. To stop the war in Gaza and deal with the terrorist threats emanating from there, the G7 should take the lead in finding a two-state solution that ensures that both Israel and an independent Palestine can co-exist peacefully.

    It is essential that the international community supports ceasefires and post-ceasefire governance, and consideration should be given to installing transitional authorities, implementing autonomous governmental reform, and even dispatching UN peacekeeping forces.

  • 2. Rules, institutions, and the rule of law are all essential elements of a stable international community. With this in mind, democratic countries cannot exempt themselves from working on reforming the United Nations institutions that have been ineffective at resolving conflict across the globe.

    As the UN Security Council continues to be paralyzed, there is the need to introduce restrictions on the rights of permanent members acting in clear violation of international law. However, it is also imperative to strengthen the role of the General Assembly, and a system must be built to enable it to act in line with the will of the international community as expressed through General Assembly resolutions. The G7 must take the lead in re-building the United Nations, and must be resolute in its defense of the various institutions and communities that uphold the rule of law.

    We intend to conduct deeper discussions about the reform of United Nations functions and international governance at next year's Tokyo Conference, and we will publish a summary of our ideas.

  • 3. The world's democracies have shown remarkable unity in their response to the Ukraine War, but they now must deal with the rift that has formed between them and the rest of the world. The problem lies both in the apparent double-standard shown by their different responses to wars in different regions, and in their insufficient and often inconsistent efforts to build a more sustainable world. This has eroded the trust of the many countries suffering from economic disparity and extreme poverty. The world is in dire need of humanitarian aid as an overwhelming number of people are fleeing their homes due to wars and other disasters caused by the protracted conflicts, debt crises, and climate change.

    Democratic countries can demonstrate their solidarity with the rest of the world by taking the lead in tackling these complex crises. The increasingly serious impact of climate change makes it particularly necessary to provide support for decarbonization and lower the costs of adaptation to the climate crisis, particularly in the least developed countries.

    A change of administration in the United States may have an impact on the prospects of international cooperation. If the countries of the world begin to turn more towards nationalism and protectionism, there is a real risk that the rift between them and the rest of the world will become irreparable.

  • 4. There is a growing trend to think of everything in terms of security, and we are beginning to see signs that the global economy is moving towards bloc-based economies.

    However, this means neither the end of globalization nor the end of our expectations for free trade. In order to ensure a better future for the world, we need to re-design its rules in a more flexible way. It is entirely possible to transition to decentralized and diversified global value chains that prevent excessive dependence on specific countries.

    It is true that the great powers are currently engaged in strategic competition, but without strategic cooperation, the world will be unable to overcome the current crisis and it will become difficult to attain the sustainable, inclusive world we have already agreed to move toward. That is why we must insist on moving past conflict.

    To that end, the G7 must aim to build a rules-based international order founded upon cooperation, including with countries with different political systems and institutional settings. Restoring international cooperation is our only defense against the crises our world faces, and our only path to a better future.
The Tokyo Conference
March 14, 2024

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