Japan's Central Role is Asia


In the past, we yearned to go to New York when we were young. Similarly, the youth of Southeast Asia yearn to visit Tokyo or Disneyland in Japan. I should avoid the expression, "leadership", but Japan has begun to assume that role as a center in Asia.

To take on the role as an initiator means we must also be able to take on the role of arbitrator. That is, we must think carefully what constitutes a real leadership role in this mutually dependent world.

America, You Had Better Give Up Certain Arrogance

As you (Mr. Ishihara) mentioned before, rapprochement between the United States and the Soviet Union and Japan's involvement in their military strategies because of its highly-sophisticated technology directly affects new trends on the world scene.

I do not think anybody imagined a decade ago that these two superpowers would be mutually dependent on each other in a military sense and that there would be a strange structure in the power balance among the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan. Nobody can deny that we are going to have a totally new configuration in the balance of power in the world.

Facing this, most important to Japan in the practical sense is the relationship between Japan and the United States. Japan needs the United States. I think the United States need Japan as well. It is a bond we can never cut, and this might be the "fatal attraction" between us. Since we can never seperate, we had better look for the way to develop through cooperation a healthy relationship through cooperation. And we want to ask you Americans, "what is going on now in your country? Do Americans really understand the meaning of 'freedom' and the role of Japan which is so necessary to the United States?." When you see present conditions, it is obvious that the United States is not strong enough in a fundamental and structural sense. So, I think what is most important is that we ask them frankly as equal and not as a subordinate, "Are you really sure that you are all right?" We will be in trouble as will the whole world if the United States is not strong enough in the fundamentals and this means more than talking about something that is current. It must be recognized by Mr. Bush as well. In this sense, it is important for Mr. Takeshita to deliver our message correctly at the coming summit. In my understanding, however, these summit meetings are held according to an itinerary prepared at the working level and they decided what was supposed to be said by the leaders. In negotiations among business leaders, we, top management hold discussions face to face, saying "yes" or "no", or "if you do that we will do this." However, we have a tendency to prepare answers for negotiations even in business world in Japan. Take my case, for example. Once a chairman of a large Japanese firm was vistiting me and I planned to talk to him face to face. Then, someone from that office called us and asked what I was going to talk about when we met. "Our chairman is going to say such and such. How will you respond?" They wanted to prepare all answers beforehand. I do not think we need to have meetings if the content is planned beforehand. I want Mr. Takeshita to say correctly how we, Japanese, see the present situation in the United States and tell them clearly what we want to do. I think we should tell them, "please do not cling to the image that you are the superpower, but rather look for the way to get your economy on the road to recovery." We should tell them, "we are going to back up your dollar, so face the fact and issue yen-bonds, for example, as Carter Administration issued pound-bonds." Americans have to abandon the idea, such as, "our federal obligations do not bother us since we can print more green backs." They have to change the way they think about their own economy. To this end, we Japanese must deliver the message, "if you cannot make both ends meet, we cannot either." We must do this even if it takes time to make them understand.