June 14th 2016

Japan & Europe.

Interests | Positions | Policies | Economics | Security
Masafumi Ishii, Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, Japanese Ambassador to NATO & Ambassador in charge of Public Diplomacy in Europe

Within the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the Entrepreneurial School® had the pleasure of welcoming the Japanese Ambassador to Belgium, Masafumi Ishii, for an inspiring talk about Japan and Europe, threads and chances in the next 20 years.

At the beginning of his speech, Ishii talked about the foreign policy of Japan and what Japan is going to be like in the near future. He identified global trends and how Japan possibly reacts to these trends. “What you do - may change your future. Decision making is really time intensive and crucial”, Ishii said. He also stated that Japan has no resources, but highly educated human resources. According to Ishii Japan is surrounded by many states that have nuclear weapons. “If you want to defend yourself, you need nuclear weapons. Therefore, Japan has an alliance with USA and China. The best China Japan and Europe could deal with is a prosperous and healthy China“, he claimed.

Japan in 2030.
Japan will stay a significant Global Power but face crucial choices, according to Ishii. The Japanese Ambassador to Belgium stated that Japan has 128 million people, which makes Japan world number 10. The fact that Japan is losing population can be compensated by the size of the country, Ishii claimed. Human Resource, technology and also Japan’s business model will lead Japan into a new era according to his visions. India and China are rising and therefore Japan will develop niches and new trends to also rise and prosper, according to Ishii. Japan needs the US as part of this vision, as the US is the essential part of the solution. Nobody else is ready to support Japan in the way the USA does, Ishii claimed.

G2: China and USA.
According to Ishii, 2030 will be a very symbolic year. He claims that Chinas GDP and defense spending will become higher than the GDP and the defense spending of the USA. Ishii forecasts that beyond the year 2030 the USA, India and China will form the decision-making triangle in the world. Ishii states that Japan wants to be part of this decision-making alliance and co-form the G4.

Regional trends.
Ishii explains the audience that Japan is suffering from an unemployment-crisis. According to him, two out of five populations are out of work. That would mean that three working populations ought to support two non-working populations. Ishii concludes that this will be a serious problem by 2050 if the trend goes on.

Ishii thinks that there never will be problems between Russia and Japan. According to him Japan will always continue to keep it like that. Ishii questions if North Korea needs a Plan B or not. Right now Japan constantly conducts negotiations and controls North Koreas missiles, Ishii said. “But what if North Korea starts to implode or collapse? We should be ready for that scenario as well”, Ishii warned the audience.

“The young leader of North Korea is in the 3rd Generation. In Asia we say, the 3rd Generation is the most difficult to survive” Ishii quoted. According to the Japanese Ambassador to NATO the first Generation comes with strong Charisma and usually creates a few problems. The second Generation then has more Charisma and creates more problems. By the time the 3rd Generation comes in without Charisma but creates a lot of problems, Ishii reminded. “More than ever we should be ready for that, because they have nuclear weapons”, Ishii said.

Before the talk of Masafumi Ishii ended into a very lively discussion hosted by Andreas Altmann, Ishii concluded his speech with the words “If china is ready to be part of the solution we should invite and encourage them in doing so. Global peace is good for all of us”.