Recently, I have often heard the phrase like this: Japan will contribute to the international community (or Asia) with Japan’s own experiences or expertise . OK, that is Japan’s credibility or what someone calls soft power. Japan’s shrinking economy (competitiveness, dynamism, population, influence, or whatever) pushes itself to rely more on its past heritage and legacy. Utilizing available resources is a dominant strategy in a competitive world.
But, wait. It would mean Japan remains in its own comfort zone, wouldn’t it?
Japanese might be individuals who prefer status-quo; however, is that what we expect for a leader? If no, why can we say Japan would lead the international community while maintaining status quo? Staying in the comfort zone is not what other countries expect to Japan. In the global security issues, the international community, of course, including the United States paid attention to Japan during the Koizumi Administration. That is because Japan seemed to shift out of its comfort zone and seek what Japan can do more. The international community knew the limitation and restrictions that Japan faced; however, such leadership did matter for them rather than what it could do.
Of course, there is an argument that Japan does not necessarily take initiatives in the global arena (or regional arena). Then, how does it protect its national interest without leading agenda-settings or rule-makings in the world of conflicting interests. The world is gonna change with or without Japan. With its limited population (it is still one of the large countries in the world), how can Japan persuade others that it is still a large stakeholder in the “changing” global community while it tries to remain unchanged.
Unless the current ruling parties remain in power, Japan would struggle with the international community to protect its national interests more than the previous administrations. This ancient regime “2.0” is definitely incapable to envision and plan a grand design/strategy for the more rapidly changing world than what the old ruling parties (the “hybrid” regime) faced.
I am not sure to what extent that the Japan’s bureaucracy should function as quid pro quo of such role (political leadership). Or, the civil society or individuals with outstanding talents would play such roles via networking globally; what we call collective intelligence would substantially substitute global decision making bodies of the governments (if we assume that the chaos in Copenhagen was an apocalypse of transition to a new world).
This is, at least, what is clear: I would like to serve as a catalyst or interface to connect two different worlds (Japan and Asia, Western and Eastern, Developed and Developing, North and South, Connected and Isolated, Integrated and Fragmented, Government and Private, Like-minded and not-like-minded…). And, I am seeking where to place myself these different worlds, which I have not ever belonged to.
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