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China—Shadow or Torch for Asia?Ogoura Kazuo

Recently, China‘s economic and military buildup has prompted much use of the terms “threat” and “deterrence” in the international community. Neighbouring countries in Asia, in particular, fear Chinese potential expansionism or its self-righteousness, characteristic of great powers. However, an important point tends to be overlooked: that China herself, having lived with the burden of invasion and …

The “Atomization” of Populations and the Rise of Sudden Protest MovementsOgoura Kazuo

In recent months, violent protests and demonstrations involving thousands of ordinary citizens have rocked cities around the world. These are not revolutionary movements to topple dictatorial regimes or protests against human rights abuses. Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about these recent uprisings is the way in which they begin apparently spontaneously and spread like wildfire to engu…

The Future of the Japan-Australia PartnershipOgoura Kazuo

In October 2012, the Australian government published a white paper outlining the country’s Asia policy for the twenty-first century. Titled “Australia in the Asian Century,” the white paper examined the policies Australia needs to adopt to make the most of the opportunities presented by the burgeoning Asian economy. The publication of the white paper is itself symbolic of the seriousness of Aus…

The Contradictions of “Protest Diplomacy” in East AsiaOgoura Kazuo

The Takeshima dispute and the question of Japanese apologies for colonial rule have led to renewed political and diplomatic friction between Japan and South Korea recently. There are also serious problems in the relationship between Japan and China, where domestic interests in both countries have turned the dispute over ownership of the Senkaku Islands into a knotty political mess. Territorial …

Japan and China Should Get Back to BasicsOgoura Kazuo

China’s last-minute cancellation of a ceremony to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China suggests that the attitudes that drove the two countries to normalize relations have been forgotten—or at least are no longer taken seriously. The normalization of relations was based on an approach that recognized the need to condemn the “m…

South Korea’s Position on the Global StageOgoura Kazuo

A lively debate is underway in South Korea at the moment concerning the nation’s status as a “middle power.” There are a number of interesting factors in the background to this discussion. First, South Korea is surrounded by three great powers: China, Japan, and Russia. Given the important role of the United States in this region, it is clear that without a clear understanding of its own positi…

The Importance of Cultural Exchange Between Japan and China

On March 15, 2012, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, a workshop on public diplomacy was held at the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. Leading the discussions were Ogoura Kazuo, former president of the Japan Foundation, and Zhao Qizheng, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conferences. In the first of a three-part series, we present a summary of the dialogue at the workshop.

Japan-China Relations: Looking to the FutureOgoura Kazuo

The year 2012 marks 40 years since the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. In terms of a human life, 40 is often an age of confidence and direction: “At forty, I had no doubts,” as Confucius put it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Japan-China relationship, which finds itself embroiled in a maelstrom of doubt, hesitation, discontent, and antagonism. The un…

Disaster, Alienation, and the Ties That BindOgoura Kazuo

A year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster. The rebuilding process has taught us many lessons. Just as the skeleton-like foundations of whole towns were cruelly exposed by the onslaught of the tsunami, the recovery process has brought several aspects of society into clear view for the first time. The absence of serious looting after the disaster, for example, and the enthus…

Globalization and Citizen ProtestsOgoura Kazuo

Citizen protest movements are sweeping the world: from the wave of democratization that began with the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and spread across the Middle East, to widespread protests in China, mass demonstrations before and after the recent elections in Russia, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States. The reasons for these movements differ from country to country. In some…

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