Concerning Japan's Past, Present and Future: Discussions in the U.S.
Takahiro MIYAO (Professor and Head, Japanese Institute of Global Communications, IUJ)
|Discussion Group in Los Angeles
|Date/Time:||June 1 (Sunday) 15:00-17:30|
|Place:||Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC), Los Angeles, USA|
||15:00 - 17:30|
Presented by Group Members
Moderated by Prof. Koichi Mera (University of Southern California)
|Organizers:|| Prof. Koichi Mera and Group Representatives|
As was reported in USC Professor Koichi Mera's article, "Proposals For Revival of Japan As an Independent Nation," there is a discussion group organized in the Los Angeles area, reading books and various materials on Japan's history and foreign relations and exchanging opinions and information among group members. The June meeting of the discussion group was held at JACCC in the "Little Tokyo" district of the City of Los Angeles at 3pm on June 1. About twenty people participated in the meeting, reading two books and exchanging questions and answers, moderated by Professor Mera.
The first book taken up was "National Intelligence Strategy" (Kokka Joho Senryaku) by Sato Masaru and Koh Young Choul, both of whom were once involved in national intelligence activities in Japan and South Korea, respectively. The main point of this book is to emphasize the importance of reestablishment of Japan's intelligence capabilities which were lost due to the defeat of the war with the U.S. in order for Japan, along with South Korea, to survive in the coming age of "nuclear imperialism," triggered by North Korea, Iran, and other rogue states. In this context, Koh Young Choul argues that Japan could possibly create an excellent intelligence agency, even better than the American CIA, by utilizing its most advanced technology and also by returning to the tradition of good intelligence taught at Army Nakano (Intelligence) School in the prewar period.
Discussions among the participants centered around the lack of recognition of the important role of intelligence for the state as well as for business among Japanese politicians and businesspersons, in contrast to the situation in the U.S., where the government as well as private businesses are fully aware of the strategic importance of intelligence activities on a daily basis. Regarding Koh Young Choul's argument, some participants raised a question whether the U.S. would allow Japan to possess a strong intelligence capability in competition with the CIA, and also some doubt about the role and the quality of Army Nakano School, which apparently failed to produce true specialists to meet the nation's needs for intelligence at that time.
The second book was entitled "Overcoming 'Anti-Japan': How to Deal with China, and South and North Korea" (Han-nichi no Chokoku), authored by Nishimura Koyu, where anti-Japanese movements and sentiments in China, South and North Korea, as well as within Japan are highlighted by referring to various episodes, from long-standing controversies on the Imperial family and the Yasukuni shrine to recent conflicts between Japan and South Korea in the "manga" world, as well as between Japan and China in the "blog" world.
In the free discussion, the first question raised was whether or not the situation regarding anti-Japanese sentiment in China and South Korea has now changed due to recent developments in political and social conditions in Japan as well as in China and South Korea with some new initiative to reverse the recent trends of confrontation and antagonism on the both sides. A majority of participants seemed to have an opinion that the situation has not changed in any fundamental way, especially with regard to Japan-China relations, where China's "self-centeredness" and "regional hegemony" are still dominant and Japan's mass media is not critical enough to reveal China's true intention in its recent approach to Japan, according to some participants.
However, there were some disagreements among the participants over the issues of (1) whether blogs are an effective means to obtain adequate information to supplement mass media reporting, (2) whether it is inevitable for Japanese business (including the mass media) to take a "pro-Chinese" stance these days, regardless of its political stance, and (3) whether we should take a "nationalistic" or "universal" interpretation of Japan's wartime experience, especially with China and Korea.
It was quite refreshing and impressive to hear this kind of discussions on Japan's past, present and future in a place like Los Angeles. In a sense those Japanese who are living overseas should be more concerned than those residing in Japan about where their home country is going, because that question is vital to their identity as Japanese away from home.
Koichi Mera "Proposals For Revival of Japan As an Independent Nation":
Sato Masaru and Koh Young Choul "National Intelligence Strategy" (Kokka Joho Senryaku), Kodansha:
Nishimura Koyu "Overcoming 'Anti-Japan': How to Deal with China, and South and North Korea" (Han-nichi no Chokoku), PHP:
This report is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):