Country Report: Japan (May 2024)


On February 16 Yomiuri discussed a proposed law making it easier to share secrets and conduct joint research. This aimed to raise Japan to the international level for protection of economic security information. It followed a December 2013 law to prevent the leakage of intelligence secrets related to defense, diplomacy, counter-espionage, and counter-terrorism.

A comparative survey of information sources and attitudes toward them in the March 26 Yomiuri showed Japanese less active in verifying sources of information and most trusting of newspapers, although this is third as a source after net news and television. It was concerned about misinformation, including from AI, providing a list of fake news for Japan, the US, and the ROK. Among the stories for Japan were fake accounts of the Democratic Party’s relations with ASEAN, as if it ignored the area, and of Abe’s funeral, as if one group had 307 demonstrators.

A Yomiuri editorial on April 1 praised Foreign Minister Kamikawa’s statement to Keidanren in support of strengthening Japan’s embassies and consulates, with emphasis on economics. More diplomats will be added, serving with METI and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing officials. Recently, from the perspective of economic security, government and business have been cooperating. The editorial stresses the importance of information sharing across ministries through horizontal dialogue and strengthening supply chains and the security of vital minerals.

On April 5 the latest Armitage-Nye report—the 6th and first since 2020—drew close coverage in Yomiuri. It called for strengthening two trilateral security formats—with Australia and South Korea—and forging a new model of liberal economic security cooperation, including protecting important technology and supply chains. Also mentioned was deepening security talks between the US and Japan on one side and Taiwan, further tightening the Japan-US alliance versus China.

Another article in Gaiko April/May analyzed changes in international society as a result of the Ukraine war, emphasizing the new consciousness of the importance of military power and military alliances in the Western powers and Japan, with consequences also for addressing China’s behavior. Noteworthy is Germany’s transformation after a half century of its eastern diplomacy toward the Soviet Union/ Russia. Wrecking that was Putin’s ambition to destroy the existing international order, obliterating or making totally dependent Ukraine. Most leaders in the West did not grasp sufficiently how Russia had changed in 2014, similar to the half-hearted response to imperial Japan of the great powers, not appreciating the danger. Especially, Japan with its positive diplomacy to Russia after 2014 was little aware of the danger, geographically distant from Ukraine. Similarly, Europe until a few years ago treated China as an economic opportunity rather than a threat. Yet inward-looking populism, which restricts diplomacy, is less impactful in Japan than in Europe and the United States, despite internal criticism of the ODA that the funds would be better spent domestically, as on the Noto earthquake recovery operations. At times, Japan is beginning to realize that to maintain the international order based on the rule of law, direct military assistance cannot be avoided. Whether Trump wins or loses, the trend is for the US to retreat from the world, and Japan has a big role in forging an international coalition. This was the message of Uyama Tomohiko, Kamiya Matake, and Kunisue Norito in their article.

In the April/May issue of Gaiko, Tanaka Akihiko described the successes of JICA, which he had headed, as it shifted to strategic, cooperative development and won world respect. Its amended framework of June 2023 called for using ODA more strategically after in 2013 breaking through the taboo on linking security to foreign assistance after earlier considering national interests and in 2015 strengthening the security element. Although unlike the 1990s, Japan’s ODA has a lower profile (no longer first in ODA), it remains a critical method of diplomacy, both for joint prosperity and protection of the international economic order. Japan focuses on high quality development and human security, building trust with other countries, while also considering geopolitics in line with the December 2022 revised security strategy, Kishida’s March 2023 new plan for FOIP announced in India, and the security environment in the wake of Russia’s war.

Covering Kishida’s address before the US Congress, Yomiuri on April 13 noted that Kishida observed that he never received this kind of applause with sixteen standing ovations at the Diet. Also, when the prime minister appealed for assistance to Ukraine, while the majority stood and applauded, some Republican representatives sat and refused to applaud. Democratic leader Jeffries remarked to those around the prime minister that this speech served as a big stimulus to the camp opposed to assistance. Voices praised Kishida for strengthening bilateral ties. The adjacent article remarked about the rare open Japan-US-ROK military exercise under way in the East China Sea, clearly undertaken with China’s behavior in mind.

On April 16, Nikkei reported on the sharp divide in the Japanese media on Kishida’s visit to the United States, as discussion of the international situation and historical viewpoint were missing. Sankei and Yomiuri were enthusiastic, as was Nikkei on the alliance’s increased contribution to world stability. Mainichi found a vision for Japanese diplomacy lacking, and Asahi found no explanation for the accelerated integration of forces. Actually, Japan sees the West failing in deterring Russia in Europe and Hamas, Iran, and ISIS in the Middle East. It also fears a drop-off in the US presence in the Indo-Pacific, where the Japan-US-ROK coalition has just begun. The Japan-US summit drew praise from three papers for new defense cooperation and a rebuke from three others (including Tokyo Shimbun) for the threat of entrapment.

Sankei editorialized on April 19 that Kishida’s speech to the Diet on his US trip underplayed the danger from China despite the great success in strengthening the alliance. He barely mentioned China and the joint declaration’s wording on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. At the three-way summit with the Philippines this was left unsaid too. Now the Japan-US relationship is a “global partnership” transcending the Indo-Pacific region, changing the nature of security cooperation. A debate has begun in Japan if in a contingency there is a risk that the SDF must be put under the command of US forces, but it is Japan’s responsibility to maintain the international order together with the United States.

An April 25 Yomiuri editorial called on Japan to take a positive attitude toward adjusting the international system, which is in crisis. The Foreign Ministry Blue Book of 2024, which covers the developments of 2023, notes a great historical transformation. Differences in systems and historical worldviews cannot be overcome. Japan faces the most severely complicated regional environment of postwar times. Recently, Japanese have become conscious that they face the most serious threats in the world, with 84% in a survey noting the threatening environment, including a rise in one year by 5% to 91% feeling the threat from China, and by 4% to 88% the threat from Russia, while the threat from North Korea stayed steady at 87%. Reliance on the United States cannot protect security; Japan must boost its defenses, people now understand. The editorial ends with concern over South Korea’s April elections, where Yoon Suk-yeol’s party suffered a defeat, and leftist forces critical of Japan may reverse recent progress in relations. It calls on the government to pay close attention to the ongoing political situation in South Korea.


On March 22, Yomiuri interpreted China’s March speeches as putting security above economics. It compared wording in the 2023 and 2024 meetings. “Power” (strong country) rose from one to nine references. “Reform” and “market” were mentioned less, especially compared to 2019 on the eve of the pandemic. Already the party congress in 2022 had demonstrated the priority of security over reform.

On March 8, according to Yomiuri the next day, the Japanese government decided to investigate Waseda University’s decision to turn its Confucius Institute into a similar kind of organization. In 2021 the government began examining these institutes for spreading propaganda and possible technology leakage. A Diet member is calling for scrutiny if it is in conformity with the law. In May 2023 it was determined that these institutes operate at least thirteen universities.

A Yomiuri article on April 3 reported on a Biden-Xi phone conversation, covering disagreements on Taiwan, the South China Sea centering on the Philippines, Russia’s Ukraine invasion, the Gaza situation, China’s economic conditions and semi-conductor export controls, and a visit to China planned soon for Secretary of State Blinken.

In regard to the visit to Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and other European states of Li Hui, special representative of the Eurasia office of the Chinese government, Yomiuri on April 16 wrote of China intensifying its effort to play a mediating role. It would raise its profile while leaning to Russia through honeymoon relations and leading talks to secure a ceasefire favorable to Russia. This was Li Hui’s second trip after one in May 2023. With the mood grim in Ukraine, the timing seemed right for China to create the impression it is playing a constructive role for a ceasefire.

Yomiuri on April 16 marked the 35th anniversary of Hu Yaobang’s death with an article on how only those directly connected to him were allowed at the ceremony on April 15. Surveillance had grown stricter than at the 30th anniversary event. Although Xi Jinping at the seminar for the 100th year of Hu’s birth had honored him, memories of his legacy as the leader from the youth movement are troubling at a time of rising youth unemployment and after the dissatisfaction at the October 2023 mourning for Li Keqiang. The theme of the article is the stifling of widespread dissatisfaction with Xi Jinping, which citizens seek to express through praise of earlier leaders.

Japan’s Diplomatic Blue Book after a five-year gap referred to ties to China with the language of a “strategic, mutually respectful relationship,” following the precedent of the November 2023 Kishida-Xi summit, which pointed to the importance of dialogue. The language dates from 2008, noted Yomiuri on April 16, while also listing unresolved problems in the bilateral relationship.

Continuing to dissect his time as ambassador to China to December 2023, Tarumi Hideo in the May issue of Bungei Shunju focused on the information battle over the discharged water from the nuclear plant at Fukushima and other themes. He begins by noting that the two flowers of bilateral relations have been personal exchanges and economic relations, but both are now withering, especially from the impact of the arrest as a spy under China’s new law of one of the most prominent Japanese businessmen, who had just celebrated his farewell banquet in China. This ruined the spirit of the 45th anniversary commemoration of the 1978 bilateral treaty. In 1972 Tanaka Kakuei had donated 1000 cherry tree saplings to China, 180 for one Beijing Park, of which only two remain. Tarumi was denied a visit as ambassador, and when he went, following another route, the reception was not as in the past. Exchanges are being hindered by officials in China. Indeed, from the time of his work at the embassy in 2011-13, when the Senkaku issue flared, contacts with the CCP have become difficult. He sought to meet with reform intellectuals and found that they had little interest in Japan, preferring ties to the United States and Europe, blaming it for assisting the CCP after the Tiananmen incident. Tarumi tried to change that with visits to learn about Japanese democracy and courts, helping Chinese to “rediscover Japan” in the face of propaganda calling it a “militarist” country. In 2023, Fukushima propaganda drove Chinese to harass Japan with tens of thousands of phone calls and throw stones at Japanese schools. Permission to attend embassy receptions was denied.

Another big theme in 2023 was economic security. Half or more of those working at the embassy were dealing with economics. As Japanese firms grew more concerned about economic security issues in China, it was urgent to increase personnel working on this and lobbying at the chamber of commerce—originally far below numbers at the US and EU offices. China was trying to get a hold of critical technologies, and Japan became more conscious of defending them, but firms, aware of Japan’s shrinking market, kept eying China’s vast market, even to the point of concealing an arrest and going ahead with an investment, fearful of retaliation by Chinese officials but seeking more profit. As ambassador, he told colleagues that Japan must practice diplomacy with shame. Today, the “China school” in the foreign ministry focuses on the national interest, not on apologies.

Tarumi on May 17 in 47NEWS continued his discussion of China, answering a series of questions beginning with what legitimates CCP power. For Mao it was first fighting against Japan’s army and founding the country. With trust lost by the 1970s, Deng Xiaoping posed getting rich as the source of legitimacy. Xi Jinping’s became making China strong. Whereas returning Hong Kong became part of Deng’s legacy, recovering Taiwan has a prominent place in Xi’s. Yet Tarumi sees war as difficult now due to a worsening economy and extreme corruption in the military. Second in Xi’s transformation was replacing the party with one-man rule. Third, Xi substituted national, party, and system security for Deng’s most important objective of economic construction. Some think that Japan, the United States, and Europe are building a framework to contain China, but it is the West now being contained, as China seeks to succeed in relations with the Global South as a big family opposed to mini-lateral groups. Japan and others are underestimated. Needed is a wholistic understanding of Chinese foreign policy, not as “hegemonic” and “wolf warrior.”

South Korea

On February 22, a Yomiuri editorial commemorated “Takeshima no hi” by insisting that the dispute with South Korea should be resolved through international law in Japan’s favor. It sets forth the Japanese historical case and calls for appealing to Yoon Suk-yeol to settle the issue.

On February 9, the South Korean unification minister declared that Seoul and Tokyo have shared consciousness on the abduction issue. About 5000 South Koreans also were abducted, but until now, as part of the effort to boost ties with the North, not much has been said about it. A plan exists for establishing an international North Korean human rights center in Seoul, ready in 2026. Minister Kim also called for a cooperative ROK-Japan framework to respond to political change in the United States, which is seen as preparation for Trump’s possible victory this fall. 

In Yomiuri on February 25, the decrease of Korean students in China drew coverage. From a peak in 2017, the number had fallen four-fifths to 16,000 in 2023. Study of Chinese language in Korea has also fallen, as 80% do not have a positive attitude toward China, many feeling threatened. On television, this is reflected, as in a 2023 hit drama covering a 17th-century attack from the Qing dynasty, showing a cruel and humiliating history. Yoon has pursued equal relations with China, but that is not easy. In early 2024, when Korea’s new foreign minister Cho Tae-yeol sought to exchange greetings with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, it took 27 days from the time of her appointment. It was said that Wang was delaying due to the Japan-US-ROK trilateralism. Japan and South Korea share a lot in common in diplomacy toward China, in figuring out how to stabilize ties and respond to its unjust economic pressure. There is ample room to cooperate.

On March 7, Yomiuri reviewed one year of improved Japan-ROK relations, noting that on March 6 Seoul had declared a resolution to the forced labor question. This was key to deepening trust between leaders, but the impending April elections could revive the issue. After the resolution, Kishida and Yoon have met seven times, building trust, and in his March 1 speech Yoon treated Japan as a partner cooperating for world peace and prosperity. Little issues have arisen, but they are swept aside in the current of improved ties. Kishida’s planned trip in March to South Korea was postponed with elections nearing. The article warns of worrisome sparks remaining.

On March 13, Yomiuri forecast a new Japan-ROK document, following the 1998 Obuchi-Kim one, when Obuchi expressed regrets over the occupation era and Obuchi praised Japan’s role in postwar international society, and in honor of the 60th anniversary of normalization. In the new document, reflecting changes in the world, mention is expected of the wider scope of this relationship beyond the peninsula, a future orientation, and concern over the Indo-Pacific area. Shuttle diplomacy would be energized with a possible visit of Yoon to a Japanese local area.

Appealing for more school excursions, a March 23 interview with a Korean official emphasized the importance of youth exchanges. 2023-24 is called the “year of visiting South Korea.” When young people gather, they speak Japanese, Korean, or English. School exchanges were at a peak in 2000 at 30,500 and hit a low of 1700 persons in 2019. Tourism has picked up with 2.32 million Japanese going to South Korea in 2023, attracted by BTS, K-pop, and cosmetics.

Reporting on the electoral defeat of Yoon Suk-yeol’s People Power Party, Yomiuri on April 11 regretted the impact on public opinion of the opposition’s attacks of “shinil” or pro-Japan, and “humiliating diplomacy,” although his foreign policy direction is not seen as affected. To contain North Korean provocations, Yoon strengthened ROK-Japan and Japan-US-ROK relations while declaring his Indo-Pacific strategy. Yet, his handling of the forced labor issue alienated people.

North Korea

Casting doubt on North Korea’s willingness to discuss the abduction issue, a Yomiuri editorial on March 8 called on the government to make the issue a precondition for a visit to North Korea. In spite of a message of sympathy over the Noto earthquake, the North’s aim is just to divide the Japan-US-ROK triangle and extract humanitarian assistance, it warned. Kishida in February had shown interest, but he should be clear that the promised investigation of the abductees, which was stopped by the North in 2016, must resume. The North’s interest now is seen as insincere.

On March 29, North Korea’s foreign minister made clear, as reported in Sankei Shimbun that day, that the North has no interest in dialogue with Japan. This was in response to Kishida’s expressed desire to hold talks to resolve the abduction issue. It reinforced the March 26 Kim Ji-yon statement rejecting any contact with Japan.

On April 6, a Yomiuri editorial criticized Russia for disbanding the experts’ panel reporting on North Korean sanctions enforcement. This move was called a danger for world peace and stability. The 8-person panel, established in 2009, reported on smuggling. Russia’s position shifted after 2017, and it now prioritizes North Korean relations over international cooperation. Those relations are in a honeymoon state. The panel’s March report said the North Korea gets 50% of its foreign currency from cyberattacks, which go to its nuclear and missile programs.


On February 24, Asahi Shimbun explained that the war in Ukraine is due to Putin rejecting its sovereignty and wanting to annex it, and that it is likely to last a long time but must end without Russia winning or the world will be driven by fear and coercion. Threats are spreading around the world, and an international coalition must be rebuilt. The editorial observes that a decade ago many countries including Japan did not take seriously enough Russia’s aggressive conduct, which led to the current situation. This leaves us with a weighty lesson. The wisdom is needed now for a sustainable assistance policy toward Ukraine through an international coalition. That same day Yomiuri Shimbun editorialized about breaking through the dead-end in assistance to Ukraine, noting the opposition of Trump and many Republicans. It warned that reduced US involvement would open the door to new Russian invasions of Poland and the Baltic states and China using coercion against Taiwan. Thus, Europe and Japan must increase their role in support of global stability. Compared to Asahi, this is clearer about the threats and the big role of Japan.

At the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro on February 21, according to Yomiuri two days later, there was a wide gulf over the Ukraine war between the G7 countries and the Global South. While Brazil opposed using military force to resolve differences, it avoided mentioning Russia. Indonesia focused only on the Palestine issue. Meanwhile, Lavrov defended Russia’s conduct and spoke of strengthening the BRICS, which has now been expanded.

On February 20, Yomiuri reported on the previous day’s conference to advance the economic recovery of Ukraine through long-term Japanese assistance. As “assistance fatigue” spreads in Europe and the United States, Japan is taking a leading role. 130 companies of the two states were represented, Kishida spoke of investments for the future, Ukraine’s prime minister was in attendance, and seven areas of support featured with plans for JETRO to put an office in Kyiv.

On February 24, Yomiuri reported on Japanese trade with Russia, noting exports cut in half and imports reduced by 33%. Some firms have left or cut back, while other Japanese firms are staying. Cars are the biggest export, totaling 463 billion yen in 2021 and 257 billion in 2023. New car exports have stopped, but used car exports climbed to 210,000 in 2023, surging before new sanctions in August prohibited larger ones and led to a drop by half in monthly exports. LNG and marine imports remain about the same as before sanctions began, stabilizing Japan’s energy supplies, as permitted. US government sanctions on Arctic LNG2, however, have put Japan in a difficult situation. “Leaving Russia” could be difficult. Central Asian markets are seen as an entry point for marketing to the former Soviet area excluding Russia and Belarus. Companies leaving Russia have found it costly; fewer are doing so since August 2023 after Toyota and 80 others left.

On February 24, two years after Russia’s full-scale assault, Koizumi Yu in Yomiuri wrote that talk of a temporary cease-fire is spreading in the United States, and Japan, geopolitically surrounded by China, Russia, and others, must boost its deterrence, and Russia must not be allowed to win. As part of a long-term fight, Japan must rebuild its military forces, Koizumi argues. Other articles also emphasized Japan’s responsibility amid “fatigue” elsewhere. In a February 20 Yomiuri editorial, the appeal expanded from economic reconstruction to weapons supplies, noting that the SDF discards old ones of the same type as others send to Ukraine. As a member of the advanced nations, Japan has a responsibility to send lethal weapons at odds with existing limits.

In Yomiuri on March 13 Harada Daisuke assessed the effectiveness of sanctions on Russia’s oil exports, saying that they had cut its revenues and reduced its long-term potential. Yet, Harada explained that Japan should not continue the sanctions after the war ends. From the point of view of energy diversification, Japan needs Russia. It accounts for 9-10% of LNG imports, and Sakhalin2 continues along with plans for Arctic LNG2. Japan needs to defend its energy rights or India and China will take them over, forcing Japan to pay higher prices. For the time being, in place of coal, Japan must increase LNG usage before the energy transition proceeds further.

On March 19 in response to Putin’s election for a fifth term, Yomiuri warned of his threat to the world order and democracy and called for more effort to strengthen deterrence through deeper cooperation of Japan-the US-and Europe. It added that what Putin is doing is reminiscent of the terror of Stalin’s dictatorship, and his victory was enabled by a coercive system inside Russia.

In the April issue of Bungei Shunju, Sato Masaru interpreted Putin’s February 6 interview with Tucker Carlson, endorsing Putin’s point of view and complaining that in Japan and elsewhere his words are not fully reported. He argued that the interview served as a first-class exposition of Putin’s thinking on the Ukraine war, Russo-US relations, and Putin’s views of religion and values. Stress is put on the Istanbul agreement of March 2022, suggesting the possibility of reopening peace talks to finish those incomplete negotiations. In talks between Putin and Clinton in 2000, Putin complained of anti-Russia stance of NATO to legitimate itself and recalled a promise not to expand NATO. In 2007 at Munich Putin drew a red line, which plans for NATO expansion in 2008 violated. Putin sees the 2014 events in Ukraine as a coup-d’etat, threatening Crimea. For Putin the war began in 2014, not 2022, and is more against the West than Ukraine. Boris Johnson was key in scuttling the March 2022 negotiations that could have stopped it with Russia retreating to the pre-2022 line, Ukraine abandoning plans to join NATO, and guarantees given to Ukraine for security, as Russia already was beginning to withdraw from the Kyiv area. Under US direction, Ukraine chose war and no further talks with Russia. Sato’s message appears to be that Putin is justified in his resentments and ready to return to the reasonable Istanbul agenda. No mention is made of Putin’s imperialistic outlook denying Ukraine a right to exist and restoring the Soviet empire. The Istanbul talks are interpreted in a manner far different from Western analysis of them. The thinking in countries freed from the Soviet yoke is likewise completely missing.

In Gaiko April/May, Tsuruoka Michito pointed to Japan’s assistance to Ukraine and Europe’s role there and in Asia, noting the February 2024 Japan-Ukraine economic restoration conference. If Japan cannot directly supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, it can still draw lessons from the war on securing the supply chain for weaponry, including raw materials and parts. Kishida’s message is aimed at drawing Europe more into Asia and strengthening the G7, whose weakening would be a setback for Japan. Responsive to Russia, Japan seeks to draw Europe into countering China.

Yokote Shinji wrote about Putin’s historical worldview in Yomiuri on April 17.  Arguing that the old Soviet Union was an imperialist empire, he observed that the new boundaries after its collapse did not correspond to the distribution of nationalities, including in Crimea, which had special symbolism as the site of the “Crimean war” in the nineteenth century.  Aiming to restore Russia as a great power, Putin in 2014 seized Crimea successfully, which was popular among the Russian people, and proceeded in 2022 to a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Taking a situational view, he missed the big picture, insisting that NATO expansion threatened Russia rather than grasping the sense of threat from Russia felt in Eastern Europe. Finland and Sweden have joined NATO, and Kazakhstan has distanced itself from Russia. In the background in Russia is the battle between two conceptions of the country: greater Atlanticism accepted by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and Eurasianism, insistent on an autonomous civilization, embraced by Putin and found in past Russian writings as well as the KGB legacy.  With Putin on track to stay in office for a long time, as Stalin did, comparisons of the two have spread. Both believed in power and changing the national border while restoring the past glory of the country—Stalin on a larger scale.


On March 17, Yomiuri editorialized about Japan-ASEAN relations, pointing to uncertain about the economic direction of ASEAN under today’s high US interest rates. It noted the low level of trade among ASEAN members. As the world population rises from 8 to 10 billion by 2050, this area is fortunate to have ample food supplies, and ASEAN cis situated to balance effectively between China and India. It has more gender equality than Japan and South Korea. As China has constructed north-south transportation corridors, Japan has built east-west roads. Now Japan needs to clearly express its strategy for the economic future of ASEAN.

Indonesia’s high-speed railway, built by China after the Joko administration chose it over Japan, drew attention in the February 15 Yomiuri. Its opening in October 2023 was welcomed, but the debt left for the new administration is massive. The budget ballooned by 30% to $7.2 billion. Unlike China’s initial offer that this would not burden the national debt, it has. Joko drew close to China for infrastructure, while balancing the US and China. Nickel exports to China are one example of overdependence. In the presidential election, almost nothing was said about the China risk, and the desire for more infrastructure, as for the transfer of the capital, was shared. Yet, there are warnings that the administration on debt needs a better diplomatic balance.  

On April 12 in commenting on the triangular Japan-US-Philippines summit that strengthened maritime security, Yomiuri observed that China is utilizing economic assistance as a weapon to draw the Philippines closer, but infrastructure in the Luzon economic corridor is advancing with Japan’s support, and Japan’s major universities are seeking to educate Philippine students. The message emerges clearly that deep concern for China is driving the new triangular framework.

An analysis of Indonesia by Shiroishi Takashi in Yomiuri on April 7 pointed out that it comprises 36% of the GDP of ASEAN, is the 16th world economy, and is on track to be 5th in 2045 on its 100th anniversary. It is at the center of the Indo-Pacific region, where traffic between Japan and India and the Middle East must pass. Concern lingers over Prabowo’s election as president, given his role under Suharto in suppressing “rebellions,” and the choice of Joko’s daughter as vice-president, but the constitution and courts do not allow for a long-term dictator, it is said.


Yomiuri on March 8 carried an op-ed warning of the risk of “India first’ thinking, reporting on Modi’s remarks in Gujarat, where Japanese and other companies were represented in pavilions to showcase their wares. Along with building up Chennai a “Southern Asia’s Detroit” and Bangalore as “India’s Silicon Valley,” Modi has high hopes for Gujarat for semi-conductors. In the final quarter of 2023 India’s GDP is reported to have grown 8.4 percent, and the predicted rate for 2024 is 6.5%. Its GDP is fifth in the world, and it is projected to surpass Japan in 2026 and then Germany after 2027, becoming the world’s third economic power. As countries de-risk from China, they look to India’s market as a replacement. By 2050 its population is forecast as 1.67 billion with 67% in productive ages, little change from the present. Yet, less positive is the “India first” prospect, seen in imports from Russia without joining in economic sanctions, and in exporting the refined oil to Europe and elsewhere, and in protectionism. The article calls for a strategy to deal with this dual nature of India.

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