Wine Tasting and Discussion About Japan Vol.165

A Wine Tasting and Discussion about Japan Meeting was held as always on February 2, 2017 in the representative’s home. The guests included Mr. Baudarbek Yerlan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan who undertook a Japanese language training program for diplomats over nine months in Japan; Mr. Taro Kimura, a member of the House of Representatives who is tackling regional creation that will finally get up to full speed from this year; Mr. Seiichi Eto, a member of the House of Representatives who is said to be an ally of Prime Minister Abe; Mr. Ousmane Sankhon, who has studied abroad at Sorbonne University in France and who has served as the Goodwill Ambassador to Japan in the Embassy of Guinea; Mr. Ken Takahi, the Mayor of Kuroishi City in Aomori Prefecture where they specialize in producing rice and apples; and Mr. Yuri Bulakh, the Chairman of the Russian Association of Japan and a man who has Russian nationality, but who has a Ukrainian father and a Polish mother.

Kazakhstan: Growth with the Political Stability of a Long-term Administration

 Kazakhstan, a country with a vast territory second only to Russia in the former Soviet Union, has a population of approximately 18 million people. There are no direct flights to Kazakhstan from Japan; it is necessary to go there via Incheon International Airport in Seoul. It takes approximately six hours to get from Incheon International Airport to Astana International Airport in the capital of Kazakhstan. It may become possible to fly direct from Japan to Kazakhstan in the near future as such negotiations are currently underway. Kazakhstan is attractive as a tourist area. Moreover, Japanese people do not need a visit to travel to the country. Events are frequently held in Kazakhstan. The Asian Winter Games, which will be held in Sapporo and Obihiro this year, took place in Kazakhstan last time in 2011. Furthermore, the Winter Universiade will also be held in the country this year. Moreover, EXPO Astana will take place this year from June to September under the theme of “Future Energy.” The Japan Pavilion is also scheduled to be at this event. The city of the capital Astana was designed by Mr. Kisho Kurokawa. This desert city, which once had a population of 270,000 people, has been reborn over the past 20 years into a city with a population of 1 million people. Kazakhstan is very strong in martial arts (e.g. judo and wrestling). The country fought hard to take twelfth place after Japan in the medal table at the London Olympics in 2012. President Nazarbayev is partial to Japan and has met with Prime Minister Abe seven times (e.g. at the G20). President Nazarbayez will soon have been president for 27 years. However, the political stability from this is the main cause of the growth in Kazakhstan. His slogan is “economics first, politics second.” This is the same slogan as the similarly long-serving President Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore.
 Ukraine, a part of the former Soviet Union like Kazakhstan, is rich in resources. Both agriculture and industry have thrived in the country since the Soviet era. Ukraine produced everything from missiles to aircraft. Nevertheless, the power of the government was weak. This led to political turmoil from 2014. The potential economic power of Ukraine is extremely large and the country had the potential to be at the top of the former Soviet Union. However, Ukraine suffered from weak leadership. On the other hand, President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan cut his teeth serving as the First Secretary of the Communist Party in the former Soviet era. He unified the mixed ethnic groups in Kazakhstan with his charismatic power. There are countries in central Asia with many victims from ethnic issues and narcotics problems. This means that stronger leadership is required. Prime Minister Abe has appeared as a strong leader and created political stability in Japan.

Solving the Northern Territories Problem: A Declaration the Northern Territories Will Not Be Turned into a Military Base Is Needed

 It is said that this is the post-truth era. There is a tendency to think it is OK to lie in a national referendum or election to win. Fake news of dubious origin is being spread around the Internet. It is necessary to make laws to ensure that those who spread false news have to take responsibility. There was even false news to the effect that the Pope backed President Trump during the U.S. presidential election. There are various denominations in Christianity. However, there are also various denominations in Islam. There is an especially fierce antagonism between the Shiites and Sunnis. Kazakhstan is an Islamic country, but most people are Sunnis. Nevertheless, other denominations or religions are not excluded in central Asia.
 President Trump is a rich man because he inherited his father’s assets. However, President Putin has got to where he is today by himself. The situation in Russia would no doubt be even more severe if it were not for President Putin. President Putin, who is also a judo expert, is a genius of diplomacy by pushing, pulling and using his opponents. He also gets on well with Prime Minister Abe. It should be possible to solve the problem of the Northern Territories in the era of Prime Minister Abe and President Putin. The biggest bottleneck is conforming to the US-Japan Security Treaty. The West promised that they would not seek any military influence to the east of Germany if Mr. Gorbachev withdrew his troops from Germany. In fact, however, the Baltic States and Poland even joined NATO. This led to Russia feeling threatened. This has made Russia extremely afraid that the Northern Territories will be turned into a military base if they are returned. Prime Minister Abe must declare that Japan will never turn the Northern Territories into a military base.

Japan Needs Strength Not to Become another Carthage

 As the international political scientist Mr. Morgenthau argued, the relationship between nations is fundamentally a balance of power; when this collapses, it leads to war. Possessing military strength does not invite war; rather war breaks out when the balance of power collapses due to a failure to have an appropriate military strength. Politicians in Japan should learn the history of Carthage. Carthage, which flourished due to commerce in the third to second century BC, waged three Punic Wars with the Roman Empire. Rome was continually victorious, but Carthage continued to threaten Rome by rebounding economically even when it lost. After winning the third Punic war, Rome killed 150,000 Carthaginian men, made another 50,000 people slaves, destroyed the city and then made it impossible for crops to grow in the area by scattering salt on the agricultural land so that Carthage would not be able to rise again. Japanese people must study this history that occurred more than 2,000 years ago. Advocating peace does not bring about peace. President Obama clamored for peace over his eight years in power, but there was a considerable loss in global security during this time (e.g. the rise of ISIS). Mr. Morgenthau’s logic of power remains unchanged. With the birth of President Trump, Japan should also follow a Japan-first principle. We should raise awareness of the need to protect Japan by ourselves and implement constitutional reform. Ukraine relinquished its nuclear weapons only to then be attacked by Russia. Of course, the key to defense is nuclear weapons. Nuclear sharing, in which we would rent nuclear weapons from the United States, should be introduced in Japan like in the other countries defeated in the last war of Italy and Germany. This should be permitted by President Trump because he said that he would have no problem with the nuclear armament of Japan and South Korea.
 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Kazakhstan is also a member, is an opportunity to talk about regional security and economic cooperation; it is not a military alliance. This organization was originally formed to determine the borders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This cooperative body functioned very well. Therefore, the decision was taken to continue economically working together even after the borders had been decided. In fact, Uzbekistan, which does not even have a border with China, also joined this organization. This is reported as an anti-NATO organization in the Western media, but it is not such an entity.

Dispute over Ukraine: Also Important to See This from the Russian Perspective

 Russia has ceased to be a threat to Japan over a span of 100 years. It was Russia that came to Japan before others even in the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Russia was more of a threat to Japan than Britain, France and the United States as it continued its policy of heading southward. Japan fought the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894 and the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 to stand up to pressure from Russia. Britain fully backed up Japan in the Russo-Japanese War. However, this was to prevent Russia advancing into Europe by turning its attention to the Far East. The Treaty of Saint Petersburg in 1875 back before then was also concluded at the proposal of the British. The purpose of this treaty was to stop the southward march of Russia by making Karafuto a part of Russian territory. Sober Japanese people were stirred up by the British in the Russo-Japanese War and fought with all their might against the Soviet Union (Russia). It became clear that the purpose of the Manchurian Incident in 1931 was to prevent the southward expansion of Russia. The Soviet Union then collapsed after the last war followed by the Cold War. This meant that Russia finally stopped being a threat to Japan. However, considering the military strength of Russia, it is still the second largest military power in the world. Russia also possesses the latest military technology and is proceeding with the modernization of its regular and nuclear weaponry. Nevertheless, Russia’s current GDP is about 150 trillion yen – similar to South Korea. This is significantly less than Japan’s GDP of 540 trillion yen. If crude oil prices do not recover, Russia may well divert its military funds toward economic revitalization. This may lead to Russia’s military power declining in the long run.
 The Crimean Peninsula originally belonged to Russia. If the base is lost military, Russia would have no route to advance to the Black Sea or the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, this place can be called a lifeline. This means that there is absolutely no way Russia can let this place go. Ukraine, which was created after the Soviet Union was dismantled, has historically had a close relationship with Russia like that of brothers. The EU approached the Ukraine with words of sweetness, so Russia violently repelled this. You will no doubt misread the situation in the Ukraine if you only look at it from the European side.
 Japan was consistently anti-Russia until the Manchurian Incident. However, the goal of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 is completely unknown: Was there a desire to turn China into a market? Was there a desire to rule the country indirectly? Was there a desire to rule the country directly? There is also a theory that Japan was dragged into a conflict with China by the Comintern. This may be the most logical explanation. In the subsequent US-Japan War, President Roosevelt wanted to join the fighting on the European front using the Tripartite Alliance. However, it is also believed that the United States waged war against Japan to reclaim the country of China that it regarded as their market.
 The exhibition in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center has changed significantly since older times. It was once claimed that this was a surprise cowardly attack. However, commentary is now provided from an extremely calm birds-eye view of history. This states that the attack was carried out in light of the background of the Manchurian Incident, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Tripartite Alliance and the economic blockade of Japan after starting with the world depression and bloc economization in 1929. This kind of stance is very important for both Japan and the United States.
 Mr. Ichiro Nakagawa, who was the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, was once asked about the differences between negotiations with the United States over agriculture produce and negotiations with the Soviet Union over the fishing industry. He replied that the United States thought of Japan as its younger brother and so was constantly making unreasonable requests, while the Soviet Union was much more reasonable. Mr. Nakagawa bluntly stated the following during negotiations with the Soviet Union over the fishing industry: “Pigs are fattened to be eaten. I will get fatter, so it is fine if I eat later. Therefore, you should compromise with me now and give me a gift for my troubles.” Mr. Ishkov, the Minister of the Fishing Industry, said he understood this and this led to the negotiations being concluded successfully. Diplomatic negotiations are not just about intelligence; they also require courage.