Thursday, December 30, 2010
Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, made an interesting proposal to create an Asia Bond to save Asian countries (Financial Times October 6, 2008). According to his plan, Asian countries including China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Thailand, could agree to pool some of their reserves in a certain ratio into a basket of currencies to issue a bond. Thaksin Shinawatra mirrored bonds used in the EU adapted to the Asian region. The idea is interesting, but it is not realistic. A reason is very simple!! There is no trust among Asian countries, especially between China and Japan or/and Korea and Japan(please see recent Tamogami Toshio's article regarding WWII history). The WWII history is still not behind the Chinese and Japanese. A number of issues, such as recognition of WWII history, comfort women, visiting Yasukuni, and territorial problems, are major obstacles for other counties to create an Asia Bond with Japan. If China took the leadership, Japan will be jealous and reluctant to join. If Japan took the initiative, China may be skeptical about Japan’s motives. Japan in the Asian region is comparable to Germany in the EU. The majority people in Germany have appropriately addressed their past history sincerely including an apology by West Germany Chancellor Willy Brandt in the 1980s; however, a majority Japanese politicians do not believe that Japan did anything wrong during the Second World War. The right-wing groups in Japan have constantly looked for any opportunity to justify, revise, and rewrite the WWII history. Unless the Japanese right-wings clean up their own dirty laundry first, it is difficult to convince anyone in the Asian region to trust the Japanese politicians. If one cannot take any responsibility for its past, how can expect one to take any responsibility in the future?