Iokibe Makoto, Chairman of the Asian Affairs Research Council, in The Mainichi (February 21, 2022)
Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Office of Japan)
The country is faced with troubles. This was due to the spread of the coronavirus, which poses a life-threatening danger to the entire nation. The people are not tolerant of a government that is unable to respond to the threat to their survival.
The threat from foreign enemies has not subsided. North Korea is even more defiant and provocative. China has built an all-round military system and is not afraid to use it. China's actions toward Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands cannot be blocked, and Japan must find a response.
Here are three suggestions on what should be done to overcome our national crisis:
First, establish a crisis management agency for disaster prevention and epidemic control.
Second, Japan must restructure its national security strategy. It is essential to find a way to prevent our neighbors, who are rushing to expand their armed forces, from using force. This is difficult to achieve, but a combination of three approaches may be useful: 1) strengthening self-help capabilities, including enhancement of missile networks, 2) making the Japan-US alliance more effective, and 3) expanding international cooperation.
Third is the revitalization of the economy. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has called for "new capitalism" through wage hikes and inequality correction. This is a global issue. The most urgent task is for Japan to regain its growth potential by strengthening research and development and direct investment. Now is the time to use aggressive fiscal measures to promote digitalization, where Japan is lagging, and to concentrate on accelerating investment in new industries with an eye on global warming.
As for the severe environmental crisis, what matters is how we act. History is rich with examples of recognizing severity and setting ambitious goals to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Let us aim for a creative recovery.