Andrew Nathan, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University, spoke at a breakfast roundtable with 10 Diet members from both ruling and opposition parties. The event was moderated by Ambassador Yukio Takasu, former UN Undersecretary-General of Management and former Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, who is the head of JCIE’s study team on Democracy for the Future.
Professor Nathan explained his belief that containing China is not possible and so other strategies for dealing with it must be pursued. He noted that China is not expansionist in terms of territory or ideology, but is driven by a sense of insecurity that is leading it to change the balance of power in the region in a way that is adverse to Japan’s interests. In other words, while it is not advocating for illiberalism overseas, its actions are helping authoritarians regimes stay in power.
Diet members expressed concern over the impact of Chinese Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Africa and the appeal of the Chinese model there. They discussed how Japan can most effectively exercise soft power, and what President Trump’s strategy is vis-à-vis China and the region.
The meeting was conducted as part of JCIE’s program on Expanding Support for Democratic Governance.