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2009年8月 4日 (火)

問われるもの:’09衆院選・選択を前に/2 東大大学院教授・藤原帰一氏

(Mainichi Japan) August 4, 2009
Election provides chance for Japan to change diplomatic stereotypes
問われるもの:’09衆院選・選択を前に/2 東大大学院教授・藤原帰一氏

As Japan approaches the House of Representatives election, the possibility of the government administration changing hands has arisen. In an interview with the Mainichi, Kiichi Fujiwara, a postgraduate professor at the University of Tokyo, discusses the possibility of the opposition taking power and the implications for Japan's foreign policy.

"In this House of Representatives election there is a possibility of a transfer of power in the administration, something very rare in Japan. But normally, administration changes are a natural part of elections," Fujiwara says.

"Looking back on history, in countries that have adopted a parliamentary democracy, there has been a situation of one political party being very strong -- as one can see from the Christian-democratic party of Italy or Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party. But in each case, the parties have eventually dissolved or lost power. In Japan, that has hardly occurred at all, and the administration has continued under one party for a long time, which is something not commonly seen internationally.

"This time, even if an administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is formed, it will likely have to place emphasis on continuity on the diplomatic front. Not changing too many things on the diplomatic front creates the image of being a responsible political party," Fujiwara points out.

However, the professor adds that a change of administration is a chance to change Japanese diplomacy stereotypes.

"For example, when the anti-Liberal Democratic Party coalition administration of (Morihiro) Hosokawa was formed, it squarely admitted Japan's responsibility for invasions in Asia," he says. This came earlier than the war apology statement on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war's end by (former Prime Minister Tomiichi) Murayama, and was more highly valued in Japan and abroad.

"I think there are few people in the DPJ who want to become involved in historical problems, but rather than doing something after being accused by China or South Korea, taking the initiative can earn trust, and will result in Japan having a concrete framework placing emphasis on Asia.

"To use the nuclear issue as an example, now that the administration of (U.S. President Barack) Obama is strengthening its stance on nuclear nonproliferation, it has become easier than before for Japan to discuss security in Asia that does not rely on nuclear force. It is a chance to shift to concrete policies rather than just emphasizing the symbols of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Fujiwara says that in the context of the six-party talks, it is important for Japan to jump into negotiations that are conducted mainly by nuclear powers such as the United States, Russia and China.

"The Japanese government has given up, thinking that unless it is a nuclear power it can't negotiate nuclear issues, but that's a misconception. Japan can go ahead and take the initiative in the reduction of nuclear weapons.

"There is always a limit to nuclear disarmament ideas led by nuclear powers. That's because they don't want to reduce their stockpiles, so they can't tell the other party to do so. In order to mutually reduce nuclear stockpiles, it is necessary for non-nuclear nations to have more of a voice in disarmament negotiations. When Japan makes claims as a country that has suffered atomic bomb attacks, it is unlikely that other countries will be able to criticize it as saying something that only sounds good.

Fujiwara says that Japan's voice in diplomatic policy has been consistently weak since World Ward II.

"Since the end of the war, diplomacy has been about Japan-U.S. relations and East Asia, and there has been only extremely narrow debate. As a world power, Japan has a responsibility to create international order. Japan can't say, "The Middle East? That's nothing to do with us."
戦後も外交といえば、日米関係と東アジアばかりで、極端に狭い議論しかない。日本も世界の大国として国際秩序を作っていく責任がある。「中東? おれには関係ない」ではいられないのだ。



毎日新聞 2009年7月29日 東京朝刊


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« 私大定員割れ 特色作りで活路を見いだせ | トップページ | 防衛有識者会議 大胆な提言を新大綱に生かせ »