54th MUMEI-JUKU (14/01/2021)

Theme: How to deal with present China

Speaker: Dr. Chisako Masuo

(Associate Professor, Kyushu University Graduate School)

International politician, Specializes in political diplomacy in China

<Excerpt from Takeda’s comment>

In the United States, a new administration will finally start on January 20, 2021.
In the Biden administration, Antony John Blinken, who knows Japan well, is scheduled to be appointed as Secretary of State, and Wendy Ruth Sherman as Deputy Secretary of State (The wife of Mr. Bruce Stokes).

However, the Biden administration will start the year with many difficult challenges. The Eurasia Group has listed the Biden administration as one of the risks for this year*. The Democratic House of Representatives has impeached Trump, but I fear that if Congress is distracted by Trump, the all-important start of the new administration will not go smoothly.
There are many issues facing the world at present, including pandemics, clean energy, climate change, AI/5G and other digital technology development, and economic recovery. These issues cannot be solved by Japan alone or the US alone. However, it is an illusion to think that Japan and the U.S. can naturally cooperate with each other because of their alliance. We need to create a system in which Japan and the U.S. can cooperate. I hope that the Biden and Kan administrations will build such a system.

Dr. Masuo, who will lecture us today, is an expert on China, which is also important for Japan and the United States. Rather than simply arguing that China is good or bad, we need to understand that China’s way of doing things is completely different and alien to any of the economic, political, or innovation practices that we have become accustomed to in the 20th century. We need to know its heterogeneous content.

For several years now, I have been promoting digital cooperation between US and Japanese universities. Researchers on the US side have taught me the depths of the China problem, and I am in the process of learning these issues. In Japan, however, I have not been able to find any researchers who can tell me about contemporary China, such as the real China issue, what Xi Jinping thinks, and what the CCP’s aims are. It was during this time that I came across Dr. Masuo’s book and thought she was a real person who had undergone rigorous training as an assistant under Ezra Vogel. Dr. Kubo, then President of Kyushu University, introduced me to her.
(Excerpt from Takeda’s comment)