Japan’s Role in Post-Corona Era
The spread of the new coronavirus has caused a great deal of infection and death not only in Japan but more so in countries around the world. Governments in many countries are closing borders to prevent viruses from being brought into their territories from abroad. It reminds me of the action taken by the Tokugawa shogunate some 400 years again when it closed the country to prevent foreign religions and ideas from entering and destroying Japanese society. As with this corona pandemic, global threats to humanity are on the rise. Global environmental destruction, climate change, and the restart of arms race. The destruction of the environment caused by the accelerating economic activities of humankind destroys the earth’s ecosystem, and power struggles in a chaotic world increase the possibility of unexpected armed conflict. And human desires and prejudices are causing great disparities and conflicts at home and abroad. On top of that, artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing not only immeasurable benefits to humanity but also harm. What role Japan can play in building peace, stability and a society in this turbulent world is the challenge before us.
At the end of the Edo period, Japan was pressed by a “black ship” and opened its territory and established a centralized state in Japan through the “Meiji Restoration”. After World War II, Japan sought to build human freedom and dignity as promulgated in the new Constitution, aspire for permanent peace, and to ensure that all peoples of the world are free from fear and want, secure their safety and survival. Japan then pledged to secure a “honorable position” in the international community not on force but through international cooperation based on mutual trust. To that end, the Japanese people did not resort to force, but made international cooperation and received overwhelming compassion and support from the international community during the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2013. Now, I think that not only the safety and well-being of our own people but also the lives of all people in the international community will achieve the noble ideals and purposes of humankind as stipulated in the Constitution. It is time for Japan to take the leadership in opening the future of human symbiosis with a vision based on a new worldview with the citizens of the world so that the ideal becomes a reality. That is why we need to adopt new ways of thinking and act.
June 1, 2020
Sukehiro HASEGAWA President, Global Peacebuilding Association of Japan