Japón

A demonstration of a human-piloted robot in Yokohama, Japan, September 2023. Issei Kato / Reuters

Japan and South Korea are innovation and tech powerhouses. They are home to leading firms in many of the high-tech sectors powering global economic growth and usually rank near the top of innovation indexes. To get to where they are today, both countries harnessed the combined power of their public and private sectors for decades. The innovation strategies they used challenge the model mythologized by Silicon Valley: the individual genius who comes up with a brilliant idea and receives funding from venture capitalists acting in a private capacity. In the United States, the perception is that startups should work by themselves, often with the aim of disrupting existing companies and industries.…  Seguir leyendo »

In May 2008, relations between Beijing and Tokyo reached a high point. That month, Chinese President Hu Jintao travelled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda—the first official visit by a Chinese leader to Japan in a decade. Historical rivals since the 1890s, the two countries still had many unresolved differences, such as their opposing territorial claims over islands in the East China Sea. But Fukuda regarded the fostering of friendly relations with Beijing as a core national interest; a year earlier, China had surpassed the United States as Japan’s top trading partner. During the state visit, Fukuda and Hu issued a joint statement, describing their nations as “partners engaged in cooperation, not as threats to each other”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Troops from various nations take part in a joint military drill at Camp Narashino in Funabashi, Japan, on Jan. 7. (Richard A. Brooks/AFP)

The Meiji Restoration in the second half of the 19th century is regarded by the Japanese people as an epic period in which our nation transformed itself from a feudal society into a modern democratic state. As Western countries expanded their influence in East Asia, the government of Japan sought to catch up through industrial development and enhancement of military power, while accepting new values ​​from the West.

Now, more than 150 years later, another epic change is underway, in which Japan sees its role in the world as one of maintaining universal values and protecting the international order based on the rule of law.…  Seguir leyendo »

Japón es responsable de su propia decadencia

A Japón debiera irle bien; cuenta con mano de obra bien educada y disciplinada, y supera a la mayoría de los demás países industrializados tanto en inversión como en gasto en investigación y desarrollo (I+D). De hecho, su gasto en I+D —del 3,3 % del PBI— era hace poco mayor incluso que el de Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, el país sigue cayendo en términos relativos.

En las décadas de 1980 y 1990 la economía japonesa era la segunda del mundo, en gran medida gracias a su sector industrial, aparentemente invencible. Hoy, sin embargo, ocupa el cuarto lugar y los datos muestran que cayó recientemente por debajo de Alemania, un país con una población mucho menor —83 millones frente a 123 millones— que sufre tendencias demográficas desfavorables, muy similares a las japonesas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Au Japon, l'annonce abondamment commentée dans tous les médias de la perte du troisième rang dans l'économie mondiale au profit de l'Allemagne, sonne comme un signal d'alarme note le grand quotidien économique japonais Nikkei dans un éditorial publié le samedi 9 février. Troisième puissance économique depuis 2010, rétrogradée alors par la Chine, voilà le Japon dépassé en plus par l'Allemagne dans les classements internationaux, alors que l'économie de celle-ci est elle-même en souffrance depuis des mois. Certes, le FMI avait dès octobre 2023 signalé cet état de fait, le PIB nominal nippon s'élevant à environ 4.200 milliards de dollars, contre à peu près 4.400 pour l'Allemagne.…  Seguir leyendo »

People stand in front of a stock market indicator board in Tokyo on Friday. Japanese stocks just reached a 34-year high. (Franck Robichon/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Before I arrived in Tokyo as ambassador two years ago, a number of foreign policy experts cautioned me that Japan moves slowly. They urged me to find a virtue in patience when dealing with the government — which I knew would be tricky for someone like me who has zero patience.

I needn’t have worried. Two years later, one thing is clear: The experts didn’t know much about the new Japan. No one predicted that this would be an era of Japanese transformation, a time when the Japanese surprised nearly everyone with what they can and will do.

First, national security: In a relatively short period of time, Japan has redefined how it thinks about deterrence and stepped from a nation limited in its exercise and definition of self-defense into the role of regional security partner.…  Seguir leyendo »

At a brokerage in Tokyo, October 2023. Issei Kato / Reuters

Many observers have come to believe—incorrectly—that Japan’s extended economic slump is irreversible. The country’s GDP today is no higher than it was five years ago, and per capita GDP growth has been limited on average to a measly 0.7 percent per year since 1991, down from an average of four percent during the 1980s. South Korea, a country that was only one-quarter as rich as Japan in 1980 in terms of real per capita GDP, surpassed it in 2018. China has just topped Japan as the world’s top auto exporter largely because Japan’s automakers have resisted the shift to electrical vehicles.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un soldado japonés durante unas maniobras. Reuters

El tablero del Indo-Pacífico es tan complejo como apasionante. Como una novela de reinos en disputa (Juego de tronos no vale, está prohibida por agotamiento) y con una trepidante trama con interesantes actores principales, pero también con los secundarios necesarios para completar una buena historia.

Allí, en el lejano Oriente, hay muchas de esas novelas.

En este elenco de papeles secundarios, uno de los más interesantes es el de quien no hace tanto estaba en primera línea por méritos propios, pero atrapado por sus propios fantasmas. Japón.

No es extraña la pregunta sobre las capacidades militares de una de las grandes economías del mundo, paradigma de la tecnificación.…  Seguir leyendo »

75 Years Later, Asia’s Wartime Memories Linger

Seventy-five years ago, around the cold and bleak midnight of Dec. 22-23, 1948, seven convicted Japanese war criminals were marched toward the gallows. Among these former top leaders were Gen. Hideki Tojo, a wartime prime minister found guilty for aggression at Pearl Harbor and for atrocities such as the Burma-Thailand death railway, and Gen. Iwane Matsui, the army commander at Nanjing, who was convicted of failing to prevent the slaughter and mass rape of Chinese there.

Tojo, Matsui and other condemned war criminals, dressed in U.S. Army work clothes as they received Buddhist last rites, defiantly yelled an imperial cry: “Banzai!…  Seguir leyendo »

Poissonniers au port de Matsukawaura à Soma, préfecture de Fukushima, 1er septembre 2023. — © - / AFP

La réaction du gouvernement chinois au déversement des eaux usées de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima a été des plus virulentes. Rejet de la grande majorité des opinions scientifiques, qui jugent acceptable le processus de traitement des eaux mis en place par les autorités nippones; campagne de critique acerbe de Tokyo dans les médias domestiques et sur la scène internationale; interdiction totale de l’importation des produits de la mer japonais. Comment peut-on expliquer cette réaction, et quelles seront les conséquences de l’affaire pour les relations compliquées entre les deux pays voisins?

Certains objectifs immédiats de Pékin semblent évidents. La confiance dans son modèle économique s’effrite et la fin chaotique de la politique du zéro covid a laissé un souvenir douloureux et amer au peuple chinois.…  Seguir leyendo »

Acto de recuerdo en memoria de las víctimas de Hiroshima el pasado 6 de agosto, en el 78º aniversario del lanzamiento de la bomba atómica.Kyodo News (AP / LAPRESSE)

Oppenheimer, la película de Christopher Nolan, se ha convertido en uno de los grandes éxitos cinematográficos del momento, una buena opción para las tardes de verano. La película es larga y exhaustiva si vamos con la expectativa de conocer una historia más, sin mayores pretensiones que evadirnos de la rutina cotidiana. En cambio, nos parecerá que no sobra ni el más mínimo detalle, e incluso se nos hará corta, si nos interesa en detalle la vida de este físico, considerado el padre de la bomba atómica; el contexto y circunstancias históricas y las consecuencias y repercusiones de su trabajo. A través del proceso de descrédito mediante juicio sumarísimo, amañado y sin pruebas, al que se vio sometido Oppenheimer, y que desembocó en su exilio académico, por su libertad de expresión contra el poder establecido y sus simpatías con el partido comunista, se puede constatar una vez más cómo se comportan incluso los colegas más próximos ante este tipo de situaciones: reminiscencias del experimento de Milgram.…  Seguir leyendo »

Japón nos está mostrando cómo no se deben gestionar los desechos radiactivos

Japón comenzó a verter al océano Pacífico lo que será más de un millón de toneladas de agua radiactiva tratada, que hasta ahora permanecía almacenada en la central nuclear Fukushima Daiichi.

Se prevé que se tardará varias décadas en verter toda el agua de la central, arrasada en 2011 por un tsunami provocado por el fuerte terremoto de Tohoku. Tanto la Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), que gestiona dichas instalaciones, como el Organismo Internacional de Energía Atómica (OIEA) dicen que la radiación que se liberará tendrá unas concentraciones tan bajas que su impacto radiológico sobre las personas y el medioambiente será insignificante.…  Seguir leyendo »

Just Like That, Tons of Radioactive Waste Is Heading for the Ocean

This week Japan will begin releasing more than a million tons of treated radioactive water, now stored at the disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, into the Pacific Ocean.

It is expected to take decades to release all of the water at the plant, which was devastated in 2011 by a tsunami generated by the powerful Tohoku earthquake. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, which operates the facility, and the International Atomic Energy Agency both say the radiation to be released will be of such low concentrations that it will have a negligible radiological impact on people and the environment.

That may turn out to be true, if everything goes according to Tepco’s plans, consistently and without major mishap, for at least the next 30 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea, right, greeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan after a meeting in Seoul in May. Pool photo by Jung Yeon-Je

Historical grievances between America’s two closest Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, have loomed as a potential Achilles’ heel for U.S. security interests in the region for far too long. Lingering Korean resentment over the legacy of Japan’s colonial occupation and Tokyo’s perceived reluctance to own up to that past have undermined American attempts to present a united allied front in the Pacific.

This is no longer tenable. The security situation in the region has worsened, with Beijing’s massive military buildup, expansive territorial claims and threatening behavior toward Taiwan and its neighbors, as well as the growing nuclear and missile threat posed by its ally North Korea.…  Seguir leyendo »

A elderly shopper in the Ueno area of Tokyo on July 30. (Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg)

If you want a glimpse of the future, go to Japan. Forget the Shinkansen, the high-speed bullet trains that have been around since 1964. And don’t get distracted by the cat cafes or the caregiving robots — solutions to loneliness and labor shortages, respectively, that could have far easier remedies if people were willing to, say, rescue stray animals or open the borders to immigrants.

Where you will see what lies ahead for many other countries, including the United States, is in rural areas and regional cities outside greater Tokyo: lots of people aging and dying, and relatively few giving birth and raising kids.…  Seguir leyendo »

Japan Can’t Pass the Buck Anymore

Ever since World War II ended, Japan has been passing the buck.

Sheltered by the postwar U.S. security alliance, Japan provided bases for American forces but kept its own military spending remarkably low for a country of its size and wealth, resisting American urging to share more of the burden.

China makes that no longer tenable. Its ambitions and expanding global influence threaten Japanese territory and an international order — based on democracy, free trade and respect for human rights — in which Japan plays a leading role.

Much is made of U.S. cultural and historical ties to Europe. But Japan is the linchpin of today’s paramount geopolitical competition — China’s push for regional dominance of East Asia — and it is America’s most essential ally.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rina Gonoi is releasing a book about her time in Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces © FT montage/Getty Images

Next Wednesday, Rina Gonoi will publish her account of two harrowing years as a member of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces. It is a blow that will land heavily and with devastating timing.

The book, Raising My Voice, will hit Japan with a grim depiction of life in uniform. Gonoi’s description of a sexual assault involving four drunken officers — a story that emerged last year, triggering an investigation and a string of dismissals — forced unprecedented self-examination on the nation’s military.

Her shocking allegations arrived at what should have been a pivotal moment of confidence and optimism for the SDF, a military force that has existed since 1954 in an uneasy compromise with a constitution that forbids Japan from maintaining “war potential”.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Trsut” is much touted in diplomatic speeches. But at the frontlines of diplomacy, questioning the real intentions of others is a constant part of the work, even among friendly neighbours and close allies. So it is not surprising that, as was recently revealed, the United States has not given up its habit of secretly wiretapping many of its allies, including South Korea. The safe bet would be to assume that all governments with the ability to wiretap must be doing so—not that that makes it right.

In South Korea, the revelation of American wiretapping has added fuel to fiery partisan politics.…  Seguir leyendo »

College students in Seoul bowing to a statue symbolizing Korean laborers forcibly sent abroad to Japan during a rally to oppose the visit to Japan by the president of South Korea. Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press

When I was a boy growing up in South Korea in the early 1990s, my mother gave me a 60-volume set of biographies. Half of them profiled eminent global figures — the Buddha, Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie — the rest were Koreans, many of whom were renowned for one thing: resisting Japan.

I asked why there weren’t more Koreans worth remembering, perhaps for other reasons. “That’s what our history is about, I guess”, she replied. “Fighting Japan”.

For decades Koreans have been unable to move on from Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula — its rapacious rule, the conscription of laborers and “comfort women” sex slaves.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a Cabinet meeting in Seoul on Tuesday. (Im Hun-jung/Yonhap/AP)

Politics offers few profiles in courage — which is why John F. Kennedy could write a whole book on some notable exceptions. On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol moved to add a new chapter by taking a brave step toward resolving a long-festering, historical dispute with Japan.

During World War II, in the last phase of a brutal colonial regime that began in 1910, Japanese forces conscripted nearly 750,000 Korean men as forced laborers and 200,000 women as “comfort women” (i.e., sex slaves) to serve Japanese soldiers. Though Japan and South Korea resumed diplomatic ties in 1965, the relationship has been a tense one — a cold peace more akin to the Israeli-Egyptian relationship after Camp David than the close German-French cooperation since 1945.…  Seguir leyendo »