Book Authored (ISBN-10: 0824821599)

Book Authored (ISBN-10: 0824821599)
Sovereign Rights and Territorial Space in Sino-Japanese Relations: Irredentism and the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (ISBN-10: 0824824938)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Japan as “Asia’s Bridge to West”?

When a person becomes a well-known figure included as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” one might sometimes make a bad judgment. Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, a typical example. Recently, Mahbubani published an article in the Japan Times (13 January 2012) titled “Japan told to be ‘Asia’s bridge to the West.’” I showed it to my students in my Japanese Politics class and asked their reactions. One of my students gave a negative reaction saying, “this idea will not work in the Asian region because Japan is historically not able to get alone with other countries, especially WWII.” Well done my student! As Mahnubani points out, “While Japan was sleeping, China was cultivating ASEAN.” In face, the problem is Japan, while Japan may look like it slept it never really slept at all. Because Japan has lacked the political leadership to lead the country since the economic bubble bust in 1989, more than 10 prime ministers (Miyazawa, Hosogawa, Hata, Murayama, Hashimoto, Mori, Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, Aso, Hatoyama, Kan, and Noda) have been changed. Mahbubani either does not understood or lacks knowledge of Japanese history and political dynamics since the Meiji era; his silly theory that Japan will be Asian’s bridge to West will not work. The Asian region will not become EU because Japan unlike Germany has not cleaned its WWII dirty laundry.

Source: (access date: 4 March 2012)

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