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Politics and Society > Minohara: "Japan is in a moment of 'to be or not to be'"

Minohara: "Japan is in a moment of 'to be or not to be'"

Dr. Toshihiro Minohara, one of Japan's best foreign policy experts from Kobe University, presented on September 27 a conference organized by Casa Asia to discuss Japan's current geopolitical relations and its development in the new Reiwa era.


Japan is now, according to Dr. Minohara, at a time of  "to be or not to be". The country has to reflect well what kind of nation does it want to be in the future, especially in front of the increasing power fight between the United States and China.

For decades, Japan's strategy was "Kyohei Fukoku," also known as the "Yoshida Doctrine," which means "strengthen the military and enrich the country." This doctrine failed after the defeat in World War II and the power of the Japanese army was notably diminished. However, since the international order is changing today, "Japan's strategy also has to be adjusted" according to Dr. Minohara. "It is no longer about strengthening itself militarily, but about understanding others militarily," he added.

"The inescapable fate of history is that all empires and hegemons cannot escape from eventual decline", thus continued his speech. "The US supremacy will not be able to escape from this destiny either and there will be a transition towards a period of power competition, as we now see with China."

However, in terms of this competition, he explained that he does not agree with the role of China because “it seeks to change the current international order according to his national interests”. For him, democracy, as well as the rule of law, are values that must be defended.

Dr. Minohara explained that the loss of confidence on itself and the willingness to maintain the post-war international order are the two main reasons by which the US is delining. This will not be a rapid process, but with the American hegemony gradually reduced, the world will return to the "primat der nazion", which means, each country pursues its own interest. Minohara estimates that this will become a crisis in the next 20 years.

When talking about the sources of the future global conflict, he gave examples such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Taiwan and so on, but in the end he emphasized: “The rivalry between China and the US will be the most stressful issue, which will not be resolved until one part wins”.

At the end of the conference, Dr. Minohara turned the focus back on Japan, with the title of “maintaining a relevante relevant power’”. “Japan has many advantages such as a stable domestic society, good security, low crime and low income disparities, but to keep moving forward the country needs more innovation to stimulate the economy, as well as more open immigration policies to turn Japan into a more multicultural society”, he explained.

In the political and military fields, Dr. Minohara cited advices such as strengthening cooperation with the US and exercising a more proactive diplomacy, among other issues. "Japan needs a more visionary leader," he concluded.

The event was also attended by Yuji Takeya, consul general of Japan in Barcelona, ​​and Shoji Yoshida, the director of the Japan Foundation in Madrid.

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