Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quotable - Minoru Mochizuki

The thoughts of frequent NBR Japan Discussion poster Minoru Mochizuki are sometimes difficult to follow.

In this post of yesterday, however, I think he hits more than a few nails on the head. I especially like the highlighted bit.

Why Japanese prime ministers after WWII have become so feeble? That is because Japan has chosen (partly because of inevitability as a country defeated in the war and occupied, and partly as a choice of free will to reconstruct the nation under the U.S. protection, particularly, the philosophy of PM Yoshida, born out of his many years of experience as a diplomat in the Western world) to become a fat cat, a show piece of winner in the free trade and open-market system created by U.S. against Soviet Block.

Now, Soviet is gone. Both China and Soviet are well into the road to become capitalist countries. So nobody needs Japan as a fat cat as a show piece. What U.S. needs today is South Korea, as a symbol of military alliance against a rather unlikely North Korean desperation attack.

For a country like today’s Japan, which does not have a military power which operates on its own will, the presence of its leader has little importance in the world politics, as it is a follower than anything else in
the midst of strategic decisions and bargaining of major countries of the world. Thus, its prime ministers concentrate on internal affairs primarily...

Japanese elites fret about South Korea's economic performance: its growing economy, its globally competitive giants like Samsung, LG and Hyundai and its free trade agreement with the United States.

Mochizuki points out that it the elites need to just as worried about South Korea's global political presence.

Later - Reader Tiago finds that the above link does not work. The alternative is to go the NBR Japan Forum's home site, scroll down to the link for the Japan-U.S. Discussion Forum archive, then look for Mochizuki's post of 3/16/2012.

1 comment:

TAM said...

The link appears to be broken, maybe NBR has a different permalink? (Even adding the missing "ht" in the beginning won't do)

On the topic, it will be interesting to see if Japan will find itself in the position of mimicking other Asian countries instead of the other way around. The comparison with South Korea is evident in addressing all sorts of political, economic, social and defence challenges that are somewhat common.

I am not too sure about the viability of Japan adopting a substantially new international profile, but in matters of education, industry, demographics and immigration and so forth, South Korea appears to be more resilient and with better prospects than Japan.