A Wine Tasting and Discussion about Japan Meeting was held on April 6, 2016 as always at the representative’s home. The guests included Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama, a Member of the House of Representatives who also serves as the Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Osaka; Mr. Freddy Svane, a second time Ambassador of Denmark; Ms. Ruth Kahanoff, the Ambassador of Israel who has been active in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs specializing in Asia, and Mr. Israel Strolov, Counsellor in Political Department of the embassy; and Mr. Yujin Oki, the Representative Director of Style Act Co., Ltd. that is expanding operations in real estate investment consulting based on analysis of real estate big data. They discussed the turbulent world situation surrounding Japan.
It is necessary to carry out geopolitical verification in addition to looking at world affairs when performing diplomacy. The thing that must be first recognized for Japanese diplomacy is that there is no sea as deep as the waters near Japan when looked at globally. This means that there is always a possibility that submarines from around the world are active in the waters near Japan. This point also needs looking at from a geopolitical outlook in the analysis of China’s activities. The problems in the South China Sea and East China Sea are now the greatest concern among the activities of China, as touched upon in the statement on maritime security in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on April 11. First, it is important that Japanese people further increase their awareness of crisis management in relation to securing these sea lanes that are the lifeline of the Japanese economy. However, that is not all. It has been pointed out on the Internet recently, but it has been confirmed that several giant buildings have been constructed right in the middle of the Gobi Desert in China from satellite photographs that can be seen in Google Maps and Google Earth. It is natural to think that these are Chinese military facilities. Nevertheless, there has been almost no media reporting on these in Japan. This shows there is a lack of crisis awareness for the guarantee of security among Japanese people.
Analysis of the images of these buildings in the Gobi Desert reveals that there is a strong possibility they are a missile exercise field of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. It is likely that these are the type of missile for which the warhead spreads out in a cluster when it explodes. The building walls are concentric, but this is believed to be so that it is possible to measure the penetration force of these cluster bombs. Furthermore, expanding these images shows that there are MiG-21s – the old fighter aircraft. This is thought to be so that it is possible to verify the extent of damage the missiles have on aircraft on the ground. Moreover, there are even runways and houses in the surrounding area. This is so it is possible to verify the extent of destruction and the spread of fire these facilities would suffer from damage by these missiles. In addition, with further verification, we see that these facilities in the Gobi Desert are similar to Misawa Base or the facilities in Yokosuka. There is analysis from a think tank in the United States that says these four facilities were built to be like specific facilities in Japan. China is carrying out exercises with these specific targets. This is a clear threat.
Okinawa is in an important place for the maintenance of peace in Northeast Asia when looked at geopolitically. If we rotate the Japanese archipelago 180 degrees, the Northern Territories come to the position of Okinawa. In other words, the Northern Territories hold the same significance to Russia as Okinawa has to the United States. As long as there are U.S. troops in Okinawa, Russia will not withdraw from the Northern Territories. This maintains the balance between the United States and Russia. If the U.S. troops were to leave Okinawa, it is clear that this balance would collapse and that problems would arise in guaranteeing security in Northeast Asia. The importance of the U.S. troops in Okinawa lies here. There is no other alliance as strong as that of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Nowadays, when the doctrine of hegemony of the seas in China is obvious, it is difficult for only Japan to protect the peace in Japan and the significance of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty is growing. The remarks of Mr. Trump, a presidential candidate in the Republican Party, have been much talked about recently, but matters are unclear at the present moment in time. It is essential that the foundations of the relationship between Japan and the United States are not shaken for our nation.
The “hope” that political leaders will visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki was stated in the Hiroshima Declaration of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima. The foreign ministers of the countries in attendance visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and laid flowers. Of course, it was the first time that the Secretary of State of the United States, the country that dropped the atomic bombs, visited this park. This has laid the preparatory steps for President Obama to visit Hiroshima. This is because it is thought that President Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize with a speech calling for a world without nuclear weapons in Prague, wants to be the first U.S. President to visit Hiroshima in order to leave behind a record toward nuclear abolition at the end of his term in office. However, the original cause of the disturbances in the current world order is because of President Obama’s declaration that the United States is not the world’s police officer. This led to the collapse of the world’s monopole system of government by the United States that had continued since the end of the last great war. President Obama, who was not able to demonstrate leadership to solve the problems in the Middle East (e.g. the civil war in Syria), has already become a lame duck. The prominent American military strategy expert Mr. Edward Luttwak has said that a strong president will follow a weak president. It is now Mr. Trump who is riding on this momentum.
There are forces that seek a weak Japan and forces that seek a strong Japan in the United States. The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was signed by the Democratic Party – those seeking a weak Japan. Therefore, this treaty is a yoke to prevent Japan becoming a military strong nation and to continue its role as a vassal state of the United States – a semi-colony. On the other hand, although the Republican Party’s Mr. Trump has not completely said that he his is part of the faction that wishes to see a strong Japan, he has criticized the unilateral aspects of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and asserted the right of Japan and South Korea to have nuclear weapons from an isolationist perspective. If he becomes president, it may be an opportunity for Japan to become an independent country. Both Mr. Trump and the Democratic Party’s Mrs. Clinton have expressed opposition to the TPP. It is expected that the TPP will be approved by Congress in the United States after the presidential election, but there has been a great deal of disagreement in Japan over this treaty. The essence of this problem is whether to side with the United States or China, but there is unease that the current thinking in the United States is generally unclear.
Japan, which lies between the expanding China and the shrinking United States, is surrounded by nuclear powers, so it is in an extremely dangerous position. Regardless of the result of the U.S. presidential election, it is necessary for Japan to contribute to the maintenance of peace in East Asia by strengthening its bilateral relations with the United States and by strengthening its deterrence capabilities with the introduction of nuclear sharing. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the balance of power in the countries around Japan through cutting edge weapons coming from an aspiration to be an advanced science and technology-orientated nation. Research into rail guns and laser cannons will protect Japan. Nevertheless, Japanese politicians mostly lack military knowledge. Politicians have to know about the military and the economy.
The Japanese economy looks to be in a favorable state when considering the rest of the world. There are also good business conditions in the United States where interest rates have been raised. The problem is the impact of the collapse of the bubble in China. The global economic damage after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008 had been covered by official demand through a huge national budget in China, but the influence of the 2008 recession is now arriving in the country. The problem is how this will unfold in the future. Over the past three years, Danish companies advancing into Japan have achieved extremely good results. Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals), Lego (toys), Royal Copenhagen (porcelain), Georg Jensen (silverware) and others are Danish companies that have established their brands in Japan. Moreover, shops selling low-cost Scandinavian designed goods (e.g. Flying Tiger and Søstrene Grene) have become popular in Japan. Furthermore, Japan imports pork amounting to approximately 700 million dollars a year from Denmark as agricultural and livestock products.
The population of Denmark is approximately 5.6 million people. This is like the population of Hyogo Prefecture living in an area roughly the same size as that of Kyushu. The capital of Copenhagen, where one quarter of the population lives, is a popular city for tourists. The symbolic presence of this city is found in the bronze statue of the Little Mermaid known from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. This statue has overcome various hardships, such as bring painted and cut, since it was unveiled in 1913. It still now welcomes many tourists. There are other popular spots in Denmark. These include the port town of Nyhavn where it is possible to view a beautiful skyline, Rosenborg Palace, Amalienborg Palace, and the amusement park Tivoli Gardens. In addition, Denmark is an agricultural country so there is plenty of food to be eaten here. It is possible to taste Danish cuisine also beautiful on the eyes that advocates a new Nordic cuisine in Michelin star restaurants in Copenhagen.
Israel is a country that is home to approximately 8.34 million people in a land about the size of Japan’s Shikoku. Not many people visit Israel for tourism from Japan. However, this is a country with many tourist spots where you can soak up the old history. These include Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Masada, where the representative has also visited, are historic ruins meaning “fortress” in Hebrew. Approximately 1,000 Jews were confined to this fortress at the end of the war between the Jewish people and the Roman Empire that was fought in the first century with 1,500 soldiers of the Roman Army surrounding them. When the Roman Army entered this fortress after a two-year siege, they found that the Jews inside had committed mass suicide. The whereabouts of Masada were unknown for many years. However, German archaeologists discovered the fortress in 1838. This has now been listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site and has become a holy place for the Jewish people. The Israeli army holds an enlistment oath ceremony at Masada. Graduates of the military academy swear that they will never again “let Masada fall” or allow such ethnic destruction.
Israel was founded in 1948 and is surrounded on all sites by their Arab enemies. The nation has fought four Arab-Israeli wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Furthermore, the country has experienced conflict with Lebanon in 1982 and 2006. The Jewish people have protected their country to the end just as they swear at Masada. Israel is regarded by the world as being a nuclear power. Nevertheless, the nation has never officially stated that it holds such weapons. This is an extremely clever response and this has led to their deterrence capabilities. There is a conscription system in Israel. After three years in the military, there is an obligation to serve for one month every year in peacetime until they turn 45 years old. This shows that Israel is a country with a desire to protect all the peoples in its nation. The way of thinking ingrained there is that it is people – not weapons – that kill people. Japan should also emulate this way of thinking. Security legislation and weapon exports will not lead to Japan going to war. The thinking of every Japanese person should properly recognize that Japan is in a state of peace and war.