55th MUMEI-JUKU(16/03/2021)

Theme: Japan’s Role in the Changing World:

Speaker: Ambassador Shinsuke Sugiyama

(Formar Ambassador to the United States)

<Excerpt from Takeda’s comment>

On March 13, the first Quad Summit was held. Quad means “four” in English, and it is a forum for the leaders of Japan, the United States, Australia, and India, which share common values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, to discuss economic and security issues. I have heard that President Biden has been very enthusiastic in promoting this Summit meeting. However, this idea is not a strategy that originated in the United States. In fact, during the first Abe administration, Prime Minister Abe talked about the need for a strategic dialogue among the four countries, which became the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Initiative,” the basis of the second Abe administration’s Japanese diplomacy. During this period, Ambassador Sugiyama has consistently persuaded the importance of this initiative to the countries concerned, and I have heard that even the Trump administration, which is an America-first administration, has come to say that “the free and open Indo-Pacific initiative is the core of their Asia strategy.  President Biden has taken this one step further, and I believe this is the result of the ambassador’s efforts to explain the importance of the Quad not only to the Republican Party, but also to the Democratic Party leaders.

The world in the 21st century is faced with a struggle between democratic and tyrannical regimes. The Biden administration is developing a new basic policy toward China. This is not to contain or antagonize China, but to prepare for the super marathon on how to build a strategic competitive system with China. We believe that the U.S. is not doing this alone, but is calling on Japan, India, Australia, or even European countries that share the same values.

I believe that Japan needs to restructure its basic strategy for this era. Not only do we need to think about Japan’s relationship with the US and with the Quad and other democratic regimes, but we also need to think about our relationship with China. China has been given a bad reputation in many ways, but it is also true that it has a national strategy and has made great efforts over the past 20 or 30 years. We need to go back to our basic policies to see if there is anything we can learn from China, and if there are problems with Japan’s current system, what kind of national strategy we need to formulate. I believe that we need to reconsider the role of the state and the people.

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