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A chance to showcase Japan’s leadership

11 9 0

The upcoming Group of 20 summit in Osaka will be an opportunity for Japan to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based order in an era of populism, growing socio-economic inequality and great power competition.

As Ian Bremmer wrote in his recent book “Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism,” Japan has largely escaped the global trend of populism. Japan enjoyed the benefits of globalization without globalizing its society. By remaining relatively closed to immigration and protecting its economy and workers from the extremes of globalization, Japan has been able to consistently remain at the top of global and regional quality of life rankings, socio-economic inequality is comparatively low compared with other developed economies and the plague of populism remains distant.

This approach to globalization has also been problematic. By remaining closed to immigration, Japan in 2050 will be inescapably much smaller and less influential at a regional and global level. When we consider global competitiveness, its companies have become less competitive globally and its youth more inward-looking, eschewing studying abroad, foreign languages and precious internships abroad to internationalize and hone invaluable cultural and language skills.

Political apathy has also grown more widespread among citizens as Japan’s approach to globalization resulted in nearly 25 years of stagnation in which many people lost confidence in the political establishment’s ability to recreate a Japan in the post-bubble era.

The G20 will be an opportunity for Japan to share the lessons it has learned from its approach to globalization. In particular, the importance of ensuring that benefits of trade do not come at the expense of the........

© The Japan Times