I do not always agree with the ideas of Togo Kazuhiko, the former rising star at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and current the Director of the Institute of World Affairs at Kyoto Sangyo University. I thought and still do think disastrous his proposal that the government of Japan accede to Chinese demands for a recognition of the existence of a dispute over the sovereignty of the Senkakus in return for reopened high-level dialogue. Togo's proposal insufficiently appreciates the window of opportunity such a concession provides for Chinese to claim the Senkakus are one of the "stolen" territories whose return is promised to China under the Cairo Declaration. Perhaps Chinese escalation of the crisis since he first made the proposal has changed Togo's thinking.
Despite my differences with some of Togo's ideas, he is a towering figure in the analysis of the diplomatic issues facing Japan. Well worth watching is the video of his recent talk at Temple University Japan on the background to the current state of Japan-Russia relations and the chances for the Abe Cabinet to resolve the Northern Territories issue and sign a peace treaty.
I very much agree with Togo's assessment in the video that if one wishes to understand the strategic thinking of Abe Shinzo, one needs to read Toward a Beautiful Country, the book Abe published this year. Unfortunately, when one reads the book one finds that the strategic ideas are 1) few in number and 2) arise from a rather bonkers view of the world (Most folks have to be cautioned that correlation does not imply causation. Prime Minister Abe has to be further cautioned that juxtaposition does not imply correlation).
Temple University Japan's Institute for Contemporary Asian Studies is open minded in its invitations. In addition to heavyweights like Togo, they offer a microphone to lesser talents like this odd individual, who will be offering his take on the Abe Cabinet on January 9.
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