2005-12-14

Speech of the day: 'Asian Strategy As I See It:Japan as the "Thought Leader" of Asia'

Speech of the day, by Taro Ars-0, at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Asian Strategy As I See It:Japan as the "Thought Leader" of Asia
  • "Asian" as Another Word for "Optimist"...You might call it old-fashioned if I would say the following, but it is that exact outlook on life that is held by the main character in the TV drama Oshin, which has been so enormously popular even in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq.
  • If Japan is seen as having some strengths, then first and foremost Japan itself needs to be conscious of that strength, that power, as everything starts from there. Then, the crucial point becomes utilizing it well in order for it to impact meaningfully upon yourself and others.
  • Japan is, for the countries of Asia, a "thought leader," and, indeed, it must be one.
  • Modern Japanese history also teaches us the fact that the intense emotion of democracy is quite capable of shifting into nationalistic furor. Young democracies-or rather, indeed, young hearts that aspire towards democracy-are, we know, quick to become passionate and intense...From the end of 1950's into the 1960's, Japan was experiencing exactly that kind of situation. I must say that I see in several countries of Asia, both politically and economically, a current situation very similar to what Japan had experienced at that time. How Japan was able to weather this very dangerous period-that is what we need to be explaining to our neighbors [What is he talking about? I though nobody thought Japan in 1950s or 1960s was dangerous. It was the true leader of Asia then.]...However, nationalism, beyond being a troubling annoyance, also carries with it the problem that it can easily spiral among neighboring nations.
  • Defining Japan: Japan as a Stabilizer...Japan's role as a stabilizer in the area of security clearly stems from the weight that the Japan-US military alliance holds.
  • Welcoming the Rise of China...Competition is almost always a good thing for socioeconomics...What would be even more beneficial is the expansion of this competition into the political and social fields in the years to come [compete politically with your neighbor? how?]
  • I can also state that I hope that China sheds its stance as a "veto power", who tends to say "no" at almost every turn and shifts towards more constructive means of leverage. In this regard as well, with Japan as a "thought leader" in Asia, I think that Japan and China can find many opportunities for cooperation.
  • Sixty years ago, we could count only seven independent countries in all of Asia. [are you listening ASEAN? you owe your independence to the Imperial Army.]
Read the full text for yourself here. Long babbling, but largely well intended. However, I really think he needs to hire a speech writer and a P.R. specialist. I know the target audiences is probably American, but ASEAN leaders are also listening.

IMO Asia's owes its industrialization to Japan's modernization in the 1950-70s. It was the spill-over effect from Japan that in part led to the emergence of the 4 NIC (small dragons), and later 4 small tigers and China. However, Japan did not lead Asia, nor ever shared its experience or technology with its Asian neighbor. It is also unlikely it would in the coming years.

Japanese/English quiz: Taro = yam, Ars-o = ?
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1 comment:

Momo said...

One of Dr Mahathir's fond wishes in his 1980s Look East policy to Japan was for transfer of technology.
The contract to build the then-massive Dayabumi complex was awarded to Kumagai in that hope, which must spring eternal.
Anyway, Aso's speech can be likened to a Disney cartoon, say, Lady & The Tramp.
Lady gets bloodied in a fight with an old neighbourhood dog and is rescued. Her new Daddy beats her up badly, too, but kindly nurses her back to health.
One day Lady decides to explore the 'hood. Blink, blink. Everything's changed!
Lady bats eyes to make friends with Miss K, a neighbour she bit badly before.
Skip, skip. She hands out candy to other little dogs hit by rocks thrown by bad boys (currency rogues?)
Then she comes up against...that old sick dog! Not sick! Now a 800-lb heavy!
Lady freezes. Snarls. Then turns her nose up in disdain.
Because right, holding her leash, is ...Daddy.
Fade out to - My Heart Belongs To Daddy