For our generation to fulfill our responsibility to future generations, fiscal and other reforms are important. What is equally or even more important is for us to maintain Japan’s proper position in the world and ensure a fair assessment of the country. To leave misunderstandings or false impressions uncorrected would be extremely irresponsible to our descendants. We need to continue acting to ensure Japan is assessed fairly.
1. [Companies] Enhance the Influence of Japan on Politics of Foreign Countries by Strengthening Cooperation with Networks of People of Japanese Descent and Lobbying Activities by Japanese Companies Abroad!
In order to ensure a fair assessment of Japan by other countries and the international community as a whole, it is necessary to make effective use of various channels at the private-sector level. The highest priority should be placed on strengthening networks of people of Japanese descent. The Japanese-American population in the United States numbers 1,300,000, making it the sixth largest Asian-American population in the country. Despite being a large group, Japanese-Americans have little political influence and a very weak relationship with Japan. It is necessary to strengthen and strategically utilize our networks with Japanese-Americans.
Another medium that can be used to exert influence on politics and public opinion formation in the United States is business. Japanese companies develop their business not only in the United States but also worldwide. If their powers are united, it is possible to achieve greater influence. It is important for leaders of Japanese companies abroad to actively interact with local politicians through strategic donations, meetings with local governors and assembly members, and invitations to various events.
2. [The Media] Cultivate a Healthy English-Language Media!
Japan’s English-language media is a gateway through which foreign nationals can access information about the country. It is unfortunate that the English-language media available in Japan is of poor quality. Since the English-language media is expected to play a leading role in disseminating information throughout the world, it is necessary to fundamentally improve its quality to ensure accurate information is shared so that Japan may be assessed fairly. It is also essential to build relationships with the foreign media. The Japanese English-language media should not only assert Japan’s position as a matter of public relations, as in the past, but should also lead the discussion in the media.
3. [Individuals] Share Information with the International Community via Social Media and Other Means of Communication!
If an untruth is repeated over the course of many decades, people come to believe it is true. This is clear from the comfort women issue and the territorial issue over Takeshima, which has been illegally occupied by South Korea. It is important for individuals who are active in the international community to identify such issues and correct misapprehensions. We live in an era where individuals can share information via the internet and social media. If every Japanese person makes an effort to get accurate information out there, it will be possible to correct misunderstandings among the people of the world. Individual Japanese should raise their awareness and disseminate information in English in order to correct misunderstandings and ensure a fair assessment of Japan so that we may pass on such good assessment to future generations.
4. [Intellectual Network] Strengthen the Network with Overseas Thinktanks! Use G1 to Cooperate with World Conferences!
Thinktanks in Europe and the United States have significant influence on domestic politics and public opinion formation. They also organize international conferences, through which they exert their influence on forming international public opinion. U.S. think tanks, including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where the author is on the global advisory council, exercise a strong influence on policy formation. The World Economic Forum and other institutions organized by European think tanks also have an extremely large influence on international politics and economics. It is important for Japan to strengthen its cooperation with powerful think tanks in different countries in order to improve its presence. We have the G1 in Japan. G1 members should cooperate with participants in the World Economic Forum and other influential groups to increase the influence of Japan.