The ICAS Lectures

No. 2002-1011-NYA

Japan's Role for Peace and Security in the East Asia:
Issues and Prospects

Naoyuki Agawa

ICAS Fall Symposium &
Humanity, Peace and Security
October 11, 2002 12:00 PM - 5:50 PM.
U.S. Senate Russell Office Building Room 418
Capitol Hill
Washington, D. C.

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Biographic Sketch & Links: Naoyuki Agawa

Japan's Role for Peace and Security in the East Asia:
Issues and Prospects

Hon. Naoyuki Agawa
Minister for Public Affairs
Embassy of Japan

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. I'm honored to speak to you today. I didn't realize that I was the first speaker to be here. I was asked to talk about Japan's role for peace and security in the East Asia: Issues and prospects. It's a very, very heavy subject matter and I don't know how to handle that in a very effective way. I think there are two ways to do this task. One is to talk about some specific issues that we are faced with, but because, for instance, the issue of our Prime Minister's visit to North Korea is such a current and hot issue and, to a certain extent, sensitive issue, and perhaps some of you may have some questions later on on that topic, and to the extent that I can answer these questions, I'll be happy to. But today I wanted to sort of give you a big picture and sort of possibly a rather conceptual picture so that we can all think about the future of East Asia, and particularly the security aspects of East Asia together. And do this exercise of, sort of, imagination and that kind of thing. This speech that I'm giving you in a very informal way is roughly the same as some of the lectures that I gave back in Japan when I was a university professor at Kao (?) until two or three months ago. So bear with me and if you have any questions or comments during the course of my presentation, please let me know.

East Asia clearly is presenting a very interesting picture today. As I said, our Prime Minister visited P'yongyang and came back with mixed reactions, both domestically and internationally. Japan, at the same time, despite this sort of very highlighted event in international relations, continues to go on some very difficult economic times. Some magazines call Japan's current affairs as .... safe but irrelevant. And that may be very appropriate.

Looking at some other areas of East Asia, North Korea seems to go through - is going through some kind of transition and we are not sure if it's the beginning of the beginning or the beginning of the end. Obviously, in South Korea we are coming to the end of one dynasty or President Kim's era, and I think our friends in South Korea are wondering whether the sunshine policy has finally worked or it's not just an illusion.

China also continues to grow and there again, we may be beginning to see the transition period with the possible end of the ...... Min's dynasty. Taiwan is being a little more aggressive about their policy and stance toward China, and Russia seems to be, according to some of my colleagues at the foreign ministry, renewing their interest in East Asia for various reasons.

And I guess lastly, and most importantly, the United States of America has been going through some very dramatic changes - 9/11 and aftermath. And until, I think, 9/11 we had been talking about America's increasing interest in East Asia. I think that continues to be the case, despite the changed focus on New York and everything else. North Korea has been dubbed by President Bush as one of the Axis of Evil, concerned about China and resultant missile defense program being developed at the time.

In a nutshell it seems that East Asia as a whole is going through some kind of a transition and years later we might talk about the year 2000 - 2002 and on, about this time, the first sort of decade of the 21st Century, as a great transition period for the whole Northeast and East Asia region. Where are we going? Is there going to be a major turmoil in the area in the future? Are we going to have a prosperous and peaceful region eventually? Is there going to be a common interest being developed, common values being developed in this region? Is there going to be a diverse East Asia or a rather unified East Asia? Those are the questions that we are faced with today in our area of the world.

My feeling, I think, is that overall we are gradually shifting toward a more stable and probably a more prosperous East Asia, with some caveats, and with some big question marks. And here, rather than talking about specific cases of our issues in East Asia, I'd like to - because I'm an academician and because I'm not a day-to-day analyst of this situation - I'd like to think about the sort of historical and bigger picture of what we are doing in East Asia.

If you look up the history of international relations in East Asia, looking back possibly 1000 or 1500 years, I think there are some conditions for peace and prosperity in East Asia - or, to put it differently, war and turmoil in East Asia. For instance, there have been a lot of, sort of, interactions among Korean people and Japanese people and Chinese people, and what are the conditions, for instance, for turmoil or war? What lessons can we learn from these? Lessons from the past - well, it seems to me that turmoil in this area resulted when certain things happened. Turmoil resulted when China was weak and divided. Turmoil resulted when the Korean peninsula was unstable and weak. Turmoil resulted when Japan was aggressive and interventionist. Turmoil resulted when the United States in recent years, over the past 150 years, stayed out of the region. And turmoil resulted also when the United States market was closed for exports as well as for movement of people, immigration. And turmoil resulted when the arms race heated. And turmoil resulted when we were lacking in common interests and values in the region.

Conversely, I think, peace and prosperity tend to, and it will be predicted, it would result and stabilize - the following conditions tend to perhaps stabilize the area: when China is unified, restrained, and open to the world; when Japan remains non-aggressive and stays out of the Continent; when the Korean peninsula and prosperous; when the United States stays in the region; when the United States and the Japanese markets remain open to various countries around and in the area; and when we see increasing common interests. And this is a question mark. Common interests, and possibly common values in the region.

So I would say that, given the situation today in East Asia, that conditions for peace and prosperity are gradually being met. But again, as I said, there are all sorts of unknown factors.

In this context, in this very big picture, being a Japanese diplomat, I have to think about two things: 1) what kind of role is Japan going to play in connection with peace and security and prosperity in East Asia? And 2) before that, what kind of country do we Japanese want to be in this region for the years to come? What role are we going to play in the international sense, and in order to play that role, what type of country, what type of nation do we want to be? The questions are: Are we going to play a very positive or negative role in the region? Are we going to be aggressive or rather passive? Are we going to be a great power or a small power? Are we going to be internationally cooperative or selfish? Are we going to be somewhat outside-ish, if there is such a word, or inside-ish? Are we going to be a great power or a small power? Are we going to be sort of a spicey, Expresso kind of country? Or just a Café Latte kind of country? Just to use the metaphor. Are we going to be centering upon hardware, hard power, or soft power, as people tend to talk about the powers that we are talking about. In the end, are we going to be just another ordinary country? Or a small unique, still yet shining country?

The last point was a debate that happened about ten years ago among Japanese. Do we want to be another good big, chunky power, ordinary (?) power, with full size (?) military options? Or do we want to continue to be a sort of rather peculiar limited power country with some pacifist limitation on it?

Well, obviously, there are thousands of answers to these questions, and I don't want to be very precise. I can't be very precise on that. But let's think about this issue in the following manner, and this is just sort of an effort to think about what role Japan is going to play and what kind of country we want to be.

Arbitrarily, I have chosen three models for the Japanese - for Japan in East Asia. One is England in the East. Let's try to see Japan in the future in East Asia as somewhat like England today and perhaps over the past 100 years. Another model is Germany in the East. And the last one - and this may sound sort of funny - but Albania before they opened up the doors in the East.

Obviously we have to be careful in making this kind of analogy because we are in a different area, different era. We have a different culture, we have different environments, we have different history. But let's play with these three ideas.

When I say England in the East, it means that Japan is a sea power. Japan is an island country outside the Asian continent, the Eurasian continent. Japan is a bridge to Asia for other sea powers such as England and the United States. Japan is a credible naval power, and Japan perceives common grounds and interests with other sea powers away from the continent. Japan is a buffer against threats from the continent, and Japan will not intervene in the continental affairs as once it tried to and failed. Japan maintains alliance with the United States and possibly with some other sea powers. Japan has a vital interest in protecting her sea lanes to the Middle East and elsewhere. And Japan will continue to invest on the continent but again, as I said, will never intervene in continental affairs.

You may note that the Armitage (?) report two years ago envisioned Japan playing a role somewhat similar to what England is playing, vis a vis the United States in the context of global security. And obviously, Japan being an England of the East has that connotation as well.

What about Japan as Germany of the East? Japan perceives herself as part of the Asian continent and Asia, whatever that means. Japan is a buffer against threats from the outside, rather than from the continent. Japan is a gate to the seas for other continental powers. Japan cooperates, identifies with and works with other continental powers, notably and most significantly China. Japan will be a member of the future continental federation, if there is any such thing. If there is any such thing, Japan will be a vital member of that, will be active in continental affairs. Japan will eventually sever her alliance with the United States. Japan will be increasingly dominated possibly by China.

It's interesting that this Japan as Germany idea came from our Chinese friends. About a year and a half ago I had a series of meetings with Chinese people and Chinese scholars and they all maintained that Japan should be Germany of the East, and I just wondered - what did they mean by that? I think part of it is that they want us to continue apologizing for whatever we did in the past - like Germany. But at the same time I think they would like to sort of let Japan take some distance from the United States and be "more like us" as part of the continent, and part of the Chinese influence - sphere of influence. And there is a lot of temptation on the part of some Japanese to identify ourselves not with the United States as a sea power, but rather with China. And there is a certain sort of temptation to identify ourselves with all the Asian countries, continental countries, and see that we are going to be all together in the same boat.

What about Albania of the East? Well, I'm not talking about Albania today, but I'm talking about Albania or somebody like that before the Cold War where they were all standalone and self-sustaining. Japan will be a standalone and isolated island country. No more dependence on the United States, no more dependence on China. Japan will try, if not completely successful, but will try to be self-sufficient. Japan will built and equip herself with a full set of ...... capabilities so that nobody can penetrate us. It's almost like Sweden of Europe. Japan is to distance herself both from the continent and from the sea powers - from the United States and from China. And Japan will probably be less active in world organizations. That's going to be a major shift from the United Nations- centered policy of Japan.

Well, which model is Japan likely to pursue in the future? I don't know. The last option probably is not viable because Japan is so dependent upon world resources and will not be able to - unless we're ready to cut our GNP to half or less than half. I don't think that sensible Japanese policymakers would choose that option.

In my view, it is best and natural if Japan continues to play the role of a sea power in the region, and more like England. Why? Because Japan has a geopolitical advantage of an island, and that - if you look at the history of Japan over the past 1500 years in the context of our being close to China and Korea, we have always been enjoying our geopolitical advantage by being an island country. Japan also has been always a credible sea power. We have never been defeated, save by the United States fleets - we have never been defeated by any other sea power. Even the Mongols came over to invade Japan and we, fortunately, half lucky, we were okay. Why? Because we were separated by the sea from this continent.

As a sea power, I think - and some of my friends from Korea and China might disagree - as a sea power, Japan has always been or generally been a non-aggressive power. Sea power doesn't have the capability of going into the continent and doing all sorts of bad things. And sea power tends to be pacific, other than Captain Drake or someone. And the Japan-U.S. alliance has been and is and will continue to be a sea power alliance if you think about it. It's mainly a maritime alliance. And if you think about it, the Japan-U.K. alliance was also a maritime alliance. It was not a continental alliance. It had nothing to do with going deep into the continent, although to a certain extent, we did briefly.

And Japan has a credible and capable maritime force today, compared to other forces of the Japanese self-defense force. Her army is a very regional one. We don't have the capability of doing anything beyond our homeland. Our air force is basically a homeland defense air force, but the maritime force has a certain global reach as well.

So I think that Japan is destined to be and destined to continue to be a sea power, rather like England, and I think this has certain implications that I would like your comments on. And not only in our interest, but also in the interest of others in the region, for Japan to continue to be a credible sea power and well ready to continue to play that role would be in everybody's interest in the area. By the way, this sea power, continental power sort of debate applies not only to Japan, I think, but also to South Korea to a certain extent. The Japanese don't have any problem perceiving ourselves as a power in the periphery of the continent and continue to play a sea power role in conjunction with the alliance with the United States. That's probably easy. Somehow, naturally and instinctively, that sounds right. But for our South Korean friends, they, I think, for the next 50 years or so will have to choose whether you are an island country or a continental power. If you think about it, South Korea has been a de facto island country. Why? Because to the north you have a ......., and you can't do anything about them. You are surrounded by the seas as well as the north part of the peninsula. Your interest now flows to the south. But at the same time I think Korean people have this tendency to look back at the history and to be proud of your role on the continent, being close to China, and the distance - mental distance between China and your country seems to be closer than the distance - the mental distance that we have vis a vis the Japanese vis a vis China.

Interestingly, one of the things that has been developing over the past five to ten years is the closer and closer relationship between the Korean Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. We have a lot in common. We have a lot of interests in common. But again, your country has a tradition of having a very strong army and the navy has been rather weak. So we'll see how our friends in Korea will continue to perceive yourselves as a part of the continent or becoming more a sea power.

Well, in conclusion, I would like to say that Japan is likely to contribute to peace in East Asia and beyond if she plays a role - the role of England in the East, if she maintains a credible maritime force - that is, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force - and if she uplifts (?) current random collective self-defense, and without - and yet without becoming an offensive force. And we have a lot to talk about - all these details, but I will just stop here and elicit questions. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: You mentioned three models. ..... I'm wondering whether young people - what do you think?

AGAWA: Well, the short answer is I know that younger people don't think about this kind of thing. Well, let me tell you this. I often think that the United States is an island country. People here don't perceive themselves as an island country, but if you do try to think of the United States as an island country, there are a lot of similarities among Japan, U.K., the U.S. The Japanese people, although Japan occupies an area probably smaller than California and certainly smaller than Texas, yet our islands are big enough, our islands are fortunately in many ways so far from other islands, we have the tendency to think ourselves on sort of a different world. The Japan Continent. We tend not to think about - perceive ourselves as an island country. But I always urge my students back in Japan to think of us in terms of island country. And that makes a lot of sense. And I think increasingly we are made - and younger people also are forced - to think and perceive ourselves as an island country. Why? Because we suddenly realized about four years ago that missiles could fly over our territory. We also realized that some of the coasts of Japan are so vulnerable to unidentified ships, penetration - the whole issue of abduction (?) by North Korea and Asia reveal that in a way we are safe because we're an island country, but we have openness to all sorts of sea powers along the coast, and we now, for the first time, younger people, younger generation Japanese perhaps see the need to protect our coast and protect our seas.

We also are reminded over and over again that we are so dependent upon overseas resources, particularly oil in the Middle East, and perhaps for the first time in our history, we are slowly and yet gradually beginning to deal with that issue by sending a fleet of ..... people to the Indian Ocean - well, obviously in the context of an anti-terrorist move, but also because we see some interest in maintaining peaceful seas - linking ourselves to various parts of the world which have great resources for our country.

I think it's in this context that I say that sea powers have a common interest, because if you think about it - if you think of China in the context of continental struggle or dominance, we don't have any common interests with them. But if you think about China needing to have resources elsewhere, and a need to have export markets elsewhere, we have similar interests in keeping the seas safe, open. South Korea - the same way. Taiwan is the way. We need tranquil sea lanes to link ourselves to various markets of the world, and also places where we can get resources.

So, in short, I think - I don't see very much awareness about our being a sea power among younger people, but at the same time, we may be gradually beginning to perceive ourselves as a sea power. There have been, I think in my view, increased writings by scholars about this sea power thing.

Another thing to add, as I said briefly, is the fact that because - and I think I see the same thing among Korean youngsters - because we are so close to the United States and because we are so dependent upon the United States, and because we follow its foreign policy more or less, there is not a majority but a small and very strong minority of the people, particularly younger people, who are very anti-American, and they tend to perceive Japan as a country destined to be closer to Asia. There is this Asia thing. I hope that I answered your question.

QUESTION: I'm just wondering - as a natural extension of this naval or sea power, I'm kind of curious ...... globalize ..... in the image of a sea power ........... which type is more important to Japan ........... You've emphasize sea power. ....... Or is that the globalized world where you have to import and export ......... I'm just curious where ........ sea power ........ or economic?

AGAWA: Well, there's of course a great impact of Mahan's (?) theory of the dominance over the sea, and in a way I think Mahan's theory, although I don't claim to know everything about the theory - Professor Asada (?) of D...... has done a great deal of study on this Mahan's impact upon the future course of the Asia-Pacific security issues over the past 100 years. Mahan tends to perceive that the dominance or the balance of power in the Pacific has had zero sum (??) gain and it's basically a military thing. And perhaps possibly that was the cause of the great conflict between the United States sea power and the Japanese sea power up until 1945. However, the post-war idea of Japan being a sea power and best at being a sea power probably comes from the English sort of mercantile idea. And the one person who advocated this view more eloquently than anybody else is the late Prime Minister Yoshida (?). S..... Yoshida. Those of you who knew him will recall that he was very much against the Japanese policy leading to the war and into the war, and he was arrested by the military police for being too close - too pro-Anglo-Saxon. His view was that every nation has to trade, and particularly those countries who are by the sea or in the sea or on the sea have to trade, and in order for those countries, you have to have a safe passage through the international waters. He also had this idea that every nation has to accumulate - and a very sort of mercantile idea - accumulate credit, vis a vis others, and the only way to accumulate credit was to show to the world that we are pacific - we're not interventionists - and that's how English people did over the course of the 19th century. And after the war, when Japan was defeated, without any significant arms and without any significant power, Yoshida said the only course of action that we could take is to be back again a trader in the world, and trade with every possible country in the world.

And other people have voiced that view, particularly N......nata who was once - basically Speaker of the House in Japan, and I was doing some research on his writings and he said that the way you should have another look at Japan's sort of recent history, over the past 150 years is that the years 1921 - the ....... - through 1941-45 was aggravation (?). That they tried to be a continental power and they failed - for a good reason. We are not a continental power. And that the normalcy is when Japan distances itself from the continent and to continue to try to have trade and transactions with all sorts of powers and countries in the world, particularly with the United States and particularly with the United Kingdom in their tradition so that we are perceived as a safe, non- aggressive country. But at the same time, we maintain credible sea forces so that we could maintain to a certain extent security and stability on the seas. And I see that to be Japan's role in East Asia. I don't - could not possibly think about Japan sending battalions of forces to Central Asia to fight. I mean, that's not our forte. We are not good at it.

QUESTION: (inaudible for transcription)

AGAWA: If I could lay down that kind of design, I think I would be sitting somewhere else. Well, this is off the cuff, sort of an intuitive remark and this doesn't represent the government's view. I have always felt that should we find ourselves in a position to help build North Korean economy and social and cultural and every other infrastructure, first of all - first and foremost, I don't think we can do that alone. We have to help but we have to consult with our neighbors intensively and sincerely, particularly with our friends in South Korea. Japan, I think, on the peninsula is still suspect to a certain extent. Whatever we do is suspect. Whatever we don't do is suspect. So we have to be very careful in how to cooperate. And I think the test case was this KADO thing that Japan was not sticking up, but was ready and willing to help. But we were not the leading powers in designing the KADO framework and that kind of thing. I do not know how Russia and China will come into this picture. This is a classic case of everybody has her self-interest in doing this or not doing this. China may find it somewhat disturbing that Japan and South Korea and the United States will cooperate to build North Korean infrastructure in our way. Russia may have a certain different attitude. I don't have any ballpark figures about how much it will take. You seem to have a much better idea.

I think, if I may dare say, when we are in a position to begin to think about what to do about North Korea, the issue is going to be China. The big issue is going to be how this new structure in North will face with its border - its border being next to China, and how China is going to take it. And beyond that, I don't have any concrete idea, but China is - North Korea is a big issue. North Korea is definitely a big issue. And we have to be very careful in terms of what issues we have to solve before we extend - Japan extends any economic aid to that country. But clearly, I think that everybody has to see what comes after North Korea, more than what we have to do in North Korea, particularly in the context of our relationship with China. That's my view.

QUESTION: (inaudible for transcription)

AGAWA: Well, we don't have money to further develop our military capability to a certain significant way. If you look at the increase of the Japanese defense budget over the past 40 years or so, the period during which we enormously increased our spending on defense was in the 1980s. Why? Because you remember that the Reagan Administration was working hard to deter the Soviet Union and Japan decided to help, both for the sake of its own self-defense, but also in conjunction with the United States' global strategy to deter the Soviet Union. It's not a long time ago that another president called somebody else an evil power, and it was the Soviet Union at that time. And together with NATO countries, we built our state-of-the-art navy fleet, much more sophisticated grounds forces, and so forth and so on. If you think about it, the fact that we have a hundred P3s flying today, it's a reflection that at the time, we needed that many P3s to launch Soviet submarines.

Now, compared to that period of time, I don't think that we are in the need to build a massive scale build-up further of military capability. Yes, we are going to modernize our forces, fleets. Yes, we may add a couple more Aegis (?) destroyers and cruisers, but I don't see any reason why we have to substantially change our composition of forces for the years to come. China is still - although I think China is increasing its military power, but it's nowhere near the level of the 7th Fleet or the level of the Soviet Navy in the 1980s - nowhere near what the threats were in 1980s.

And I don't think that even if we should have that kind of budget that would enable us to build a completely different sort of force structure, for instance having offensive projection capability and that type of thing - I don't think that would be helpful vis a vis China. I think what we need is to maintain our current capability and stick together with the 7th Fleet so that we have a meaningful deterrent, watching carefully what the future trend of the Chinese Navy and Chinese forces will be.

One thing that we are trying to do and we're not particularly successful at the moment is so-called confidence building efforts. We do that with South Korean friends of ours. The 7th Fleet does that, too, although we are not the best of buddies, but we will continue to visit each other, and show our capabilities and try to make ourselves and themselves transparent in terms of what they have and what they don't have. China, I think, is a country where we will continue to be engaged, not only in economic terms but also politically, and at the same time, China is the country that we have to monitor very carefully as to what they will amount to in the future.

QUESTION: You mentioned that one of the problems in the past was the United States stayed out of East Asia and consequently closed our market and closed our immigration at one time and that caused a lot of turmoil, which it did. At the same time, you were almost in the same situation in the past 12 years regarding your economic turmoil, whereby you shut out people from immigration into Japan and therefore ..... markets are closing. And at the same time, ....... changed some of the open market policies. Are you going to welcome massive immigration like England is welcoming it, and in order to survive in this new global economy, are you going to also welcome the changes in cultural problems that that would bring?

AGAWA: Right, right. You're talking about the openness of the Japanese market - both immigration and products.

QUESTION: Yes, by bringing in mass amounts of ......... because England, I think, had to do it in order to take of our elderly population ....... So they were almost forced to do it. They were bringing Muslims in to England ........ working the jobs that English people can't work ....... don't have them.

AGAWA: Right. I understand the question. I said that the East Asian situation was better when major markets, particularly of the United States, were open, both in terms of the immigration as well as products. And when the markets shut up in the 1930s because of the depression, that that had a great impact upon Japan's policy, vis a vis continent, and that had a great impact upon East Asian security as a whole. I think Asian countries, Southeast Asia as well as East Asia and Northeast Asian countries, still today continue to rely heavily upon the openness of the American market. If you think about the enormous success of the Korean immigration to this country, to the United States, somehow the United States was successful in absorbing the best and brightest of the Korean people to this country, and I see signs of Korean people, Korean youngsters being very active in very many areas everywhere. That's a remarkable thing. I thought that they were usually, particularly, grocers in New York, but now they are doctors and lawyers and I have too many Korean lawyer friends around to compete with!

How about Japan? Japan also has gone through a significant change over the past 20 years, particularly over 10 years. I think people tend to think that Japan doesn't take any immigrants from Southeast Asia or elsewhere in Asia. That may be true still in terms of just the sheer number, but 20 years ago, no Japanese would have dreamed that if you go to a construction site, that you'd have Indonesians and Iranians working together. There are places in Tokyo where you go dine, traditional Japanese noodle shop, where an Iranian wearing Japanese kimono comes out and serves you ..... soup and noodles. The demography dictates that we need some immigrants from abroad. We are aging, and we are probably the fastest aging society in the world, and the elderly are still healthy and have enormous power, but they don't have the means to continue things. So there is a need.

There is a great debate going on as to what we are going to do about that void - about the young physical workers. And I am of the view that we have to change our immigration policy to further relax - and this is my personal view; again, this is not the government's view - relax and solicit talent. In fact, about two years ago, Prime Minister Muri (?) went to India and went in to sign some kind of an agreement by which all the talented Indian IT technologists could come and work in Japan without any restrictions for a certain period of time. That's immigration. So I think you're going to see some changes and we are really beginning to see some changes. Compared to the United States, compared to the U.K., it's still small scale and some people may criticize Japan sort of taking the policy that "we're not ready yet," but I think it's changing. I think it's happening.

With respect to the product market, it's a done deal. My wife goes out to do shopping and everything is made in China. And it's difficult these days to find "Made in Japan" clothes or "Made in Japan" ..... Obviously, from time to time we hear about tainted, drugged mushrooms and those kinds of things, but - so in that aspect, I think it's becoming a reality that we are being beaten just by the sheer size of the market. I think for other Asian countries, Japan is an attractive and profitable export market. And it would be very bad if we take any significant massive protectionist policy in that respect.

Another change of circumstance which you didn't touch upon is the fact that Japan is now increasingly dependent upon China as an investment market, and some people worry that we are too dependent upon China as a market investing our factories and sort of causing that so-called vacuum phenomenon in the homeland, because all the technologies have sort of swept over to China and we have nobody to sort of continue that very hi tech, very labor intensive - and yet very labor intensive Japanese technologies and skills ...... Some people say, for instance, my friend ....... Ito, says that it's an exaggeration - that we are not that very dependent upon the Chinese market, both in terms of investment target as well as our being their export market. I don't know. I'm not an economist. But I think the message is that we are going through a major change, and if you have any - I'm not saying you have the image, but if you perceive Japan to be a closed market, it's completely different.

QUESTION: I'm not saying that. I know it's opened up greatly. I'm just looking at your cultural problem coming up. You're going to have to have mass immigration coming in and you should be looking at the Egyptian model. They were once isolated ...... but as long as - when Alexander came, when the Romans came, they welcomed them as long as they said - "You honor our culture; you honor our gods, and we won't fight you." They welcomed the Jews at one time. They prospered because of this multiculturalism, but they still stayed Egyptian, and that's - I find Japan, after the war - Germany was on borders. They had to apologize; they had to along with Russia; had to get along with France because of past deeds. Because you were an island nation, you didn't have to. And yet now, because of the global economy you have to, and bringing in all these immigrants which you have to do is going to cause a lot of cultural ...... unless you can work it out where they will honor the Japanese culture and customs, but at the same time, be themselves so that you can take advantage of this. If you would have a great Korean community in Japan, you would have great trade with Korea. If Korea had great trade with, say, Mexico, then Japan would have great trade through Korea to Mexico. And this is one of the great advantages that England and the United States have by this massive immigration but at the same time, they've had many problems, too. A lot of budgetary problems. But in the long run, it helps with trade and business. I know you've opened up your markets greatly.

AGAWA: Thank you.

QUESTION: I think that the ........ are likely to have some inclination to make them be humble, .......... But I think that Japan has been ...... the power ......... and you have the kind of power and nobody denies that you are the leading country in ....... So I think that one of these days ........... receive the Nobel Prize ....... So I think that you must be proud of them. So I think that you don't have to make some countries as your model. It is time for you to speak out ......... ......... I think you don't have to take some matters or experiences from other countries. .......

AGAWA: I think you're absolutely right - that we shouldn't try to wonder whether we are like England or Germany in the East. I used these analogies just to sort of stimulate the thinking on the part of myself and yourselves. And I think you're absolutely right - that Japan, no matter how some Japanese tend to think that we are just a small country with a peculiar sort of pacifist arrangement, we are a big country, and that's going to affect neighboring countries as well as other areas of the world. And why not - we might as well use our forces and use our economic powers for the constructive future - in a constructive way to facilitate the development of other areas of the world, not only in East Asia but some other areas such Palestine or East Africa or whatever. I think there is a tendency on the part of the Japanese to be somewhat aggressive at a time, and then all of a sudden you get burned, and you sort of retract, and then try not to do anything. We got burned on the continent once, and I think, in my view, we did some pretty bad things there! And for what? And because of that, Prime Minister B...... had that statement, as you recall. This is a Japanese government standard (?). You have to be aware. And I fully agree.

But at the same time, I would like my friends, particularly in East Asia in our area to understand that we Japanese have some very healthy nationalist feelings and that we are proud of our history and that we're proud of our culture, heritage, and we would like to, in the future, play a significant role in East Asia. The Constitution of Japan after the war - and people tend to focus on Article 9, binding ourselves not to use forces - but in the ...... days, this passage, which is sort of spiritual kind of thing, and no teeth to it - we'd like to occupy an honorable place in the world. And I think there are ways for Japan to do that, and we'd like to continue trying to do it.

With respect to the history question, I think in many of those we disagree to a certain extent with what our South Korean friends and Korean friends of ours have perceived. And that's all right. I think we can debate as to whether it as a Japanese colony in the 7th Century in M....., or whether it was a sort of Korean entity there. We have all sorts of history questions, leading up to 1945. I'd be happy to debate in a constructive and friendly fashion with my Korean friends. And the meaning of our colonization of Korea, as well as Taiwan and part of Manchuria as well. But I think my attitude is that if we agree that there were some bad things that we did on the continent, we will certainly perceive and concede that and accept that fact. But try to go beyond that for Japan never again to do the same mistake and try to contribute. I think there is a tendency, particularly on the part of some leftist Japanese to say, "We did so many bad things. We couldn't do anything in terms of security or anything." My view is that we did good things and we did bad things over the past 150 years. If necessary, we'll apologize. If right, we acknowledge the fact. But let's work together for the future. And I think that's your President's view. That we will go on and time goes on, and obviously, like the American people who still today talk about the aggressive north in the context of the Civil War, we will continue to have feelings about all sorts of things, but we will go beyond that. We will continue to work together. And after all, I think Korean people and Japanese people are lonely in that small part of the world, and together we could do all sorts of things.

This page last updated 8/15/2003 jdb

ICAS Fellow
ICAS Speakers
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Fall 2002