Category Archives: Today in Japan

「日本とはなにか、アメリカ人学者と考える」10月21日 19:00〜21:00

「日本とはなにか、アメリカ人学者と考える」

2019年 10月21日 19:00〜21:00

 ワシントン在住のアメリカ学者エマニュエル ・パストリッチ氏を囲んで、今私たちが直面している社会問題を討論するための小さな集まりを開催します。日本に6年間留学した経験があり、日本の文化や思想に詳しいパストリッチ氏は、今年の7月に日本の政治、経済、文化と外交について興味深い著作を出版しました。この会でパストリッチ氏の著書、「武器よさらば〜地球温暖化の危機と憲法九条〜」を皆さまにご紹介致します。是非奮ってご参加くださいませ。

日時:2019年 10月21日 19:00〜

会場: 新宿 cafe&bar DUG  

東京都新宿区新宿3-15-12(アドホック隣)

お飲み物代はお一人様あたり500円まで、こちらで負担致します。会場にお店を使わせていただくため、お一人様1オーダー、ドリンクを注文して戴く形となります。500円を超える差額は各自御負担いただきます。どうぞお気軽にお集まりください。

連絡先 ange.no644@gmail.com

孫崎享とパストリッチ エマニュエルが日本を語る

日本を語る

外交、安保、環境

孫崎享 (元外交官、東アジア共同体研究所 理事・所長)

パストリッチ エマニュエル (N G Oアジアインスティチュート 所長)

2019年 20日(日曜日)午後 7:30-9:00

ジュンク堂池袋店(4階)

対米従属の外交政策に警鐘を鳴らしてきた元外交官が外国人の目から見た日本通史を上梓、憲法9条こそ非軍事的脅威・地球温暖化の危機に有効性をもつと初の邦訳書を出した安全保障の米国の論者—自著を語る対談実現!!

自著を語るー『日本国の正体』VS『武器よさらば 地球温暖化の危機と憲法9条』

孫崎享

孫崎 享(まごさき うける)1943年生まれ。元外交官、評論家東アジア共同体研究所理事・所長。ハーバード大学国際問題研究所研究員、ウズベキスタン駐箚特命全権大使、外務省国際情報局局長、イラン駐箚特命全権大使など歴任。新著『日本国の正体』では外国人が見た日本を通史的に取り上げて日本人とは何かを問う。

エマニュエル・パストリッチ

エマニュエル・パストリッチ (Emanuel Pastreich)、1964年生まれ。外交、環境問題のN G Oアジアインスティチュート所長。イリノイ大学、韓国の慶熙大学で教授を務めた。7年間日本に留学し、12年韓国に努めて今年8月から米国に帰国した。中国語、韓国語、英語の著作に加えて、この8月に日本語訳初の著書を刊行した。

東アジアの安全保障上の地図が激変しています。

 孫崎享さんはすでに10年近くも前の著作で、米国のアジア戦略の今後について、米中2大大国が世界を調整する政策と、その調整として同盟国日本が共通の敵に当たらせる政策をとると予言し、「対米追従だけが国益ではない事実を見定めるべきだ」と述べています。最新著『日本国の正体』は日本の外側、外国人から見た日本を通史的に描くことで「私たちは何者か」を問いました。

 エマニュエル・パストリッチさんは日本、中国の古典文学の専門家でしたが、環境問題と安全保障問題に深い関心を持ってきました。その成果は日本の初の著書『武器よさらば 地球温暖化の危機と憲法9条』に結びつきました。この書の中で地球温暖化という人類の危機は非軍事的脅威であり、軍事的圧力ではない安全保障・憲法9条こそが実効性を持つと指摘しています。

 なぜ自身のこの著を書かねばならなかったのかー孫崎さんは豊富な外交官としての経験と長年にわたる歴史研究から、パストリッチさんは米韓日での生活、研究を送ったことで一国中心主義から脱却した視点から自著を語ることで、日本、米国、東アジアの現状、課題が見えてくるのではないでしょうか。ご期待ください。

 対談のためパストリッチさんはワシントンから来日します。

Mj Book Cafe  ジュンク堂池袋店 4階

東京都豊島区南池袋2-15-5 Tel 03-5956-6111

問い合わせ

epastreich@asia-institute.org

“THE ROAD TO A SHRINKING SOCIETY” MATSUHISA HIROSHI MAY 15, 2017

ASIA INSTITUTE SEMINAR

6:00-7:30 PM

 

Monday, MAY 15, 2017

 

“THE ROAD TO A SHRINKING SOCIETY”

How to make ourselves truly renewable

 

WCO ANGUK

3RD FLOOR

(SEE MAP)

MATSUHISA HIROSHI

PROFESSOR  EMERITIS

KYOTO UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

After the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in 2011, Japanese public opinion has been divided into three groups: those who want to continue using it, those who want to phase it out and those who want to end its use immediately. The establishment has argued that nuclear power is required for the economy and recently the Abe Administration has pushed for restarting plants as part of his agenda for growth.

The choice is one rather of choosing the future of Japan and goes far beyond nuclear power. If we continue this rate of “growth” we will exhaust all our resources in the near future. Even 2% growth will assure us that we will use up what resources we have in fifty years, rather than one hundred.

War and catastrophe will be the consequences of the radical exhaustion of resources.

         There is much talk about a sustainable society today, but the term “sustainable” is used in a vague sense with no concrete guidelines.

Some in industry see it as meaning the sustaining of current growth into the future, the complete opposite of the environmentalists demand for limited consumption.

We must face the truth and reduce real consumption. If we reduce consumption by 1% every year, a 100 year reserve can be continued indefinitely. If we reduce more than that, we can build up a reserve. We must design a smaller society for the sake of future generations in order to avoid catastrophe.

The current economic system is based on mass production and mass consumption. As a result, our lives are flooded with industrial products to which we have become addicted. Our ever-growing society is already showing the signs of discordance as a result of this consumption illness.  A smaller society, on the other hand, supports local production and consumption, and requires less energy. We will have a more healthy society if people are not addicted to industrial products and anonymous consumption but rather nurture each other and promote a creative life.

WCO Anguk

“Peer-to-Peer Science: The Century-Long Challenge to Respond to Fukushima” (Foreign Policy in Focus September 3, 2013)

Foreign Policy in Focus

“Peer-to-Peer Science: The Century-Long Challenge to Respond to Fukushima”

September 3, 2013.

Emanuel Pastreich

(with Layne Hartsell)

 

 

More than two years after an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc on a Japanese power plant, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is one of the most serious threats to public health in the Asia-Pacific, and the worst case of nuclear contamination the world has ever seen. Radiation continues to leak from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi site into groundwater, threatening to contaminate the entire Pacific Ocean. The cleanup will require an unprecedented global effort.

Initially, the leaked radioactive materials consisted of cesium-137 and 134, and to a lesser degree iodine-131. Of these, the real long-term threat comes from cesium-137, which is easily absorbed into bodily tissue—and its half-life of 30 years means it will be a threat for decades to come. Recent measurements indicate that escaping water also has increasing levels of strontium-90, a far more dangerous radioactive material than cesium. Strontium-90 mimics calcium and is readily absorbed into the bones of humans and animals.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) recently announced that it lacks the expertise to effectively control the flow of radiation into groundwater and seawater and is seeking help from the Japanese government. TEPCO has proposed setting up a subterranean barrier around the plant by freezing the ground, thereby preventing radioactive water from eventually leaking into the ocean—an approach that has never before been attempted in a case of massive radiation leakage. TEPCO has also proposed erecting additional walls now that the existing wall has been overwhelmed by the approximately 400 tons per day of water flowing into the power plant.

But even if these proposals were to succeed, they would not constitute a long-term solution.

A New Space Race

Solving the Fukushima Daiichi crisis needs to be considered a challenge akin to putting a person on the moon in the 1960s. This complex technological feat will require focused attention and the concentration of tremendous resources over decades. But this time the effort must be international, as the situation potentially puts the health of hundreds of millions at risk. The long-term solution to this crisis deserves at least as much attention from government and industry as do nuclear proliferation, terrorism, the economy, and crime.

To solve the Fukushima Daiichi problem will require enlisting the best and the brightest to come up with a long-term plan to be implemented over the next century. Experts from around the world need to contribute their insights and ideas. They should come from diverse fields—engineering, biology, demographics, agriculture, philosophy, history, art, urban design, and more. They will need to work together at multiple levels to develop a comprehensive assessment of how to rebuild communities, resettle people, control the leakage of radiation, dispose safely of the contaminated water and soil, and contain the radiation. They will also need to find ways to completely dismantle the damaged reactor, although that challenge may require technologies not available until decades from now.

Such a plan will require the development of unprecedented technologies, such as robots that can function in highly radioactive environments. This project might capture the imagination of innovators in the robotics world and give a civilian application to existing military technology. Improved robot technology would prevent the tragic scenes of old people and others volunteering to enter into the reactors at the risk of their own wellbeing.

The Fukushima disaster is a crisis for all of humanity, but it is a crisis that can serve as an opportunity to construct global networks for unprecedented collaboration. Groups or teams aided by sophisticated computer technology can start to break down into workable pieces the immense problems resulting from the ongoing spillage. Then experts can come back with the best recommendations and a concrete plan for action. The effort can draw on the precedents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but it must go far further.

In his book Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science, Michael Nielsen describes principles of networked science that can be applied on an unprecedented scale. The breakthroughs that come from this effort can also be used for other long-term programs such as the cleanup of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or the global response to climate change. The collaborative research regarding Fukushima should take place on a very large scale, larger than the sequencing of the human genome or the maintenance of the Large Hadron Collider.

Finally, there is an opportunity to entirely reinvent the field of public diplomacy in response to this crisis. Public diplomacy can move from a somewhat ambiguous effort by national governments to repackage their messaging to a serious forum for debate and action on international issues. As public diplomacy matures through the experience of Fukushima, we can devise new strategies for bringing together hundreds of thousands of people around the world to respond to mutual threats. Taking a clue from networked science, public diplomacy could serve as a platform for serious, long-term international collaboration on critical topics such as poverty, renewable energy, and pollution control.

Similarly, this crisis could serve as the impetus to make social networking do what it was supposed to do: help people combine their expertise to solve common problems. Social media could be used not as a means of exchanging photographs of lattes and overfed cats, but rather as an effective means of assessing the accuracy of information, exchanging opinions between experts, forming a general consensus, and enabling civil society to participate directly in governance. With the introduction into the social media platform of adequate peer review—such as that advocated by the Peer-to-Peer Foundation (P2P)—social media can play a central role in addressing the Fukushima crisis and responding to it. As a leader in the P2P movement, Michel Bauwens, suggests in an email, “peers are already converging in their use of knowledge around the world, even in manufacturing at the level of computers, cars, and heavy equipment.”

Here we may find the answer to the Fukushima conundrum: open the problem up to the whole world.

Peer-to-Peer Science

Making Fukushima a global project that seriously engages both experts and common citizens in the millions, or tens of millions, could give some hope to the world after two and a half years of lies, half-truths, and concerted efforts to avoid responsibility on the part of the Japanese government and international institutions. If concerned citizens in all countries were to pore through the data and offer their suggestions online, there could be a new level of transparency in the decision-making process and a flourishing of invaluable insights.

There is no reason why detailed information on radiation emissions and the state of the reactors should not be publicly available in enough detail to satisfy the curiosity of a trained nuclear engineer. If the question of what to do next comes down to the consensus of millions of concerned citizens engaged in trying to solve the problem, we will have a strong alternative to the secrecy that has dominated so far. Could our cooperation on the solution to Fukushima be an imperative to move beyond the existing barriers to our collective intelligence posed by national borders, corporate ownership, and intellectual property concerns?

A project to classify stars throughout the university has demonstrated that if tasks are carefully broken up, it is possible for laypeople to play a critical role in solving technical problems. In the case of Galaxy Zoo, anyone who is interested can qualify to go online and classify different kinds of stars situated in distant galaxies and enter the information into a database. It’s all part of a massive effort to expand our knowledge of the universe, which has been immensely successful and demonstrated that there are aspects of scientific analysis that does not require a Ph.D. In the case of Fukushima, if an ordinary person examines satellite photographs online every day, he or she can become more adept than a professor in identifying unusual flows carrying radioactive materials. There is a massive amount of information that requires analysis related to Fukushima, and at present most of it goes virtually unanalyzed.

An effective response to Fukushima needs to accommodate both general and specific perspectives. It will initially require a careful and sophisticated setting of priorities. We can then set up convergence groups that, aided by advanced computation and careful efforts at multidisciplinary integration, could respond to crises and challenges with great effectiveness. Convergence groups can also serve as a bridge between the expert and the layperson, encouraging a critical continuing education about science and society.

Responding to Fukushima is as much about educating ordinary people about science as it is about gathering together highly paid experts. It is useless for experts to come up with novel solutions if they cannot implement them. But implementation can only come about if the population as a whole has a deeper understanding of the issues. Large-scale networked science efforts that are inclusive will make sure that no segments of society are left out.

If the familiar players (NGOs, central governments, corporations, and financial institutions) are unable to address the unprecedented crises facing humanity, we must find ways to build social networks, not only as a means to come up with innovative concepts, but also to promote and implement the resulting solutions. That process includes pressuring institutions to act. We need to use true innovation to pave the way to an effective application of science and technology to the needs of civil society. There is no better place to start than the I

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Emanuel’s apartment in Tokyo (August 1988 to July 1992)

My apartment near Senkawa Station (Yurakucho Line) in Tokyo was an incredibly important space for me where I did much of my reading and thinking during my five years in Japan. I came across a few photographs that I would like to share.

 

The exterior of the apartment building "Hikari Abitation." I lived on the right side of the third floor.

The exterior of the apartment building “Hikari Abitation.” I lived on the right side of the third floor.

The kitchen with a view of the bathroom.

The kitchen with a view of the bathroom.

The rest of the apartment . Note the reproductions of paintings I have attached.

The rest of the apartment . Note the reproductions of paintings I have attached.

1991 apart bed

The desk where I wrote my MA thesis.

The desk where I wrote my MA thesis.

My bed and the porch where I dried my laundry.

My bed and the porch where I dried my laundry.

縮小社会の風呂敷

 

 

縮小社会1縮小社会

Debate about the diplomatic crisis in Japan

“Debate about the diplomatic crisis in Japan”

Emanuel Pastreich

I had a chance to visit Japan to speak with individuals who are deeply concerned with the challenge of creating a  healthy and peaceful order in Northeast Asia last week. This was the first time I have had a chance to engage in such a broad engagement with Japanese scholars, diplomats, politicians and ordinary citizens in the last 14 years. I was deeply impressed by the sincerity I saw in the efforts of the people I met and by the rising concern among ordinary citizens about how the foreign policy of Japan has been hijacked by a small group of special interests whose agenda is increasingly narrow and, mimicking the United States, is increasingly drawn to military solutions for all problems.

My first talk hosted by the New Diplomacy Initiative (新外交イニシアティブ) (March 4, 2016) in Tokyo at the National Assembly. The topic was “Towards a new comprehensive framework for arms limitations: The United States and Security in East Asia”「米国と東アジアの安全保障 ―包括的な軍縮の枠組みに向けて―」. The discussion was led by the founder of the New Diplomacy Initiative, Ms. Saruta Sayo 猿田 佐世. Ms. Saruta is an international lawyer who has dedicated herself to exploring new prospects for an integrated and innovative approach to diplomacy in Japan which takes into account the overlap between security, trade, diplomacy and nonproliferation. The group included many experts from journalism, diplomacy and academics, as well as several very enthusiastic students. Read more of this post

“Future Life with Pepper” @ Softbank

Japan faces an unprecedented collapse in its population and a rapidly aging society. Moreover, more and more Japanese find themselves living alone, often unmarried and without children. It is in this context that Softbank, launched a new domestic robot “Pepper” which is aimed as much as serving as a companion as it is as a tool.

 

 

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In the following video, Pepper is shown serving as a cheerleader of sorts for various families. Most striking is the

lonely woman in the first scene who seeks comfort and affection from Pepper.

 

Pepper is above all a reminder that the combination of an aging, childless society with computer technology developing at an

exponential rate will produce some rather unusual social phenomena. Above all, we are reminded that the future is not that far away at

all. Like climate change, it is already here with us right now.

 

 

Here is the video used in the ad:

 

“Future life with Pepper”

 

http://www.softbank.jp/robot/movies/20150618/

“Japan’s Peace Constitution is the future, not the past” (Asia Today 2015-08-13)

Asia Today

“Japan’s Peace Constitution is the future, not the past”

2015-08-13

Emanuel Pastreich

Japan’s future role in global security is the most significant question in the minds of many in East Asia on the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. Unfortunately, the drive of the conservatives in Tokyo to develop an assertive conventional military, something they consider to be a prerequisite to status as a “normal country” has resulted in an exponential rise in political tensions in East Asia and deep questions about what Japan’s long-term motives are.

Many within Japan itself question the rationale for such a rapid push to beef up the Japanese military, slough off the restrictions on military action dictated by the peace constitution and put Japan on a path to serving as a major supplier of weapons technology with a military that is activel engaged around the world.

Towards this goal Japan has embraced the ambiguous concept of “collective defense” which allows it to interpret its way out of the completely unambiguous Article Nine of the Constitution,  “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

Japanese conservatives suggest that Japan needs to shoulder its international responsibilities as a member of the G-7 and become a “normal nation” that can project military force. Although, in fact, Japan, with the seventh largest military budget, has gone already far beyond any normal nation in terms of its spending.

I can certainly understand the desire of the Japanese to be leaders and play a central role in international affairs. After all, Japan has a powerful economy, some of the most advanced technology and a remarkable cultural tradition. But the Japanese need to ask themselves a serious question: will Japan be a more of a global leader if it abandons its peace constitution, or if it embraces it and enhances it?

Many frown on any suggestions that the peace constitution might be relevant to our age. Recently, Robert Dujarric, a leading Japan security expert, went as far as to write that, “Article 9…is incompatible with surviving in a dangerous world. It’s a noble aspiration but is not policy-relevant.”

But what exactly is incompatible about the “peace constitution” and survival? Without any doubt the greatest threat today is from climate change, which will devastate the major coastal cities of Asia, dramatically reduce food productivity and make large regions of the world uninhabitable. A recent study headed by James Hansen, the former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, suggests that staying within the internationally agreed goal of keeping the planet within the 2-degree Celsius temperature warming limit will not avoid the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland glaciers. The inevitable result will be the flooding of numerous major cities, like Tokyo, Shanghai and Busan, with seawater.

A “peace constitution” could be a major advantage to Japan as it works together with nations around the world to respond to this existential threat. For example, the peace constitution would force the country to dedicate its resources to emerging non-security threats, thereby making it far more prepared for the challenges of climate change because it does not spend as much on tanks and planes and other technologies that are not relevant to survival in a warming world. The result would not be a Japan that is not punching its weight in military affairs, but rather a Japan that is truly a leader for the first time in security issues.

Japan already has the advanced technologies related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, solar and wind power, electric batteries, and other systems for responding to an increasingly inhospitable environment.

Rather than trying to model Japan’s security strategy on that of the United States, a country that is in serious trouble because of its military over-extension, Japan should move in a more constructive direction, focusing on the one security threat that all experts agree on.

The Self-defense forces could be transformed into organizations that fully support the import of article nine, rather than contradict it, and thereby become models for positive institutional innovation.

For example, the future Ground Self-Defense Force could focus on the global battle against desertification and mass its resources to address the degradation of land and the destruction of forests around the world.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force could focus its attention on addressing the rising temperature of the ocean and the threat posed to the world by its growing acidification. The Self-Defense Force could also give attention to humanitarian relief related to climate change and stopping the dangerous overfishing of the oceans. Finally, the Air Self-Defense Force could devote its resources to the surveying the impact of global warming from the air and addressing problems related to the atmosphere.

It is no simple task to reinvent military. But it is not the first time in history that new circumstances have forced a radical rethinking of security priorities. Better to look at this challenge as an opportunity for Japan to return to its tradition of brave innovation and institutional reform. Finally, such a security strategy requires close engagement with nations throughout Asia and around the world that could make Japan the center of a new security network dedicated to this emerging threat.

The move beyond a conventional military is not an unrealistic pacifist impulse, but rather a historic decision by Japan to address the changing nature of security directly. Although Japan did not have had full autonomy to choose the peace constitution, Japan can chose its destiny this time, positioning itself to lead as nations around the world recalibrate to address the threat of climate change.

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WHAT DEMOCRACY MEANS TO US?

 

A SEMINAR ON DEMOCRACY IN EAST ASIA BY MEMBERS OF PEACE EAST ASIA

 

 

PRODUCED BY:

PEACE EAST ASIA

WITH THE SUPPORT OF

THE ASIA INSTITUTE

 

 AI logo small

Participants:

 

Discussion Members:

Jingyu GAO  (China)

LeoYao LU  (China)

Myeongsu Ryu TODA  (ROK)

Sunny Chan Yiu LAM  (HK)

Shi Pong LEE  (HK)

Yumiko SHIMOGAKI  (Japan)

 

Moderator:

Emanuel Pastreich (United States)

(Director, The Asia Institute)

 

(Based on a series of discussions held on October 5, November 15, November 22, and December 6, 2014)

 

 

Opening Remarks by Emanuel Pastreich (United States)

This seminar presented us with a valuable opportunity to learn about each other, and also to learn about our own perspectives and our own biases. We came to the question of democracy, and specifically the case of Hong Kong, with a general impression the issue based on how we saw it presented in the media. But in fact that are many aspects of politics in Hong Kong and of democracy today that we do not understand all that well. The very term “democracy” is not a given like “tomato” or “oxygen” but rather a vague term subject to an infinite number of interpretations. The value of this effort by youth from many different countries to create a platform for an honest and non-political discussion about the important issues of our age is critical to our future and it is an honor to be here today for this event.

I was struck by the sincerity of the questions raised and the care of the responses given in the course of this discussion. There was a sincerity that was striking about the discussion and I was touched by the clear desire of the students to understand the problems in Hong Kong in a larger context. By extending their discussion to all of Asia, and avoiding a narrow definition of democracy, they have opened the way to a constructive dialog that will extend to the rest of Asia, and to the world.

Youth in Hong Kong are facing incredible pressures. They face economic pressures related to the breakdown of the economic system that supported their parents; political pressures related to the immense influence that other nations have on Hong Kong because of its links to global capital; social pressures related to an aging society and the profound alienation among young people today. Read more of this post