Dr Tadashi Iwami
The former All Blacks’ superstar, Richie McCaw, is back in Japan after three years. Despite quite sticky weather in Tokyo, he seems to be enjoying his time there, as far as his Facebook photo is concerned. For New Zealand, Japan is not like its neighbour, Australia. There is an over 9,000km gap in distance, and it takes about 12 hours from Auckland to Tokyo. Yet, Mr McCaw and other more New Zealanders have visited Japan. In fact, prior to COVID19, the number of visitors from New Zealand nearly doubled from 49,400 in 2015 to 94,100 in 2019. In turn, about 100,000 Japanese people visited New Zealand. Per population, Kiwis love to visit Japan way more than Japanese do. Both countries are distant when it comes to geography, but they are close in many ways.
The bond that New Zealand and Japan have built is showing its strength in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern chose to visit Japan as one of the first ‘must-go’ destinations. After making a quick visit to Singapore, Ardern landed Tokyo and met her counterpart, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, on 21 April 2022. Kishida was not new to New Zealand; he had come to New Zealand as a foreign minister in 2013 during the National government.
Also, this year is the 70-year anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and Japan. Looking back, their relationship has dramatically changed over time, from the brutal enemy in Malaya, the Solomon Islands and many more in the Pacific, being prisoners of wars in Featherston, A-class war criminals judged by Sir Erima Northcroft in the Tokyo Tribunal, the newly independent sovereign state in 1952, a major economic counterpart, to a key partner ‘in advancing and protecting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific’ region. Ardern’s visit to Tokyo in April 2022 was symbolic in that the bond between New Zealand and Japan cannot be cut off by the global pandemic of COVID19.
Today, New Zealand and Japan are working together to substantively address issues that are affecting the wider Indo-Pacific region including Pacific Island countries and beyond. Their common concerns include Russian aggression against Ukraine and its humanitarian crises, the rise of Chinese influence in the South Pacific exemplified by the China-Solomon Islands security deal, and the most serious challenge to the countries in the South Pacific, climate change.
While they are aware of the limitations in political, legal and resource terms, New Zealand and Japan are tightening their security bond for those concerns. Both countries will be signing an information sharing agreement in the near future. They are also keen on holding their first bilateral military exercise for enhancing maritime security. To enhance their defence diplomacy, both governments send their defence attaché personnel to own embassies. Their first Foreign and Defence Ministers’ (2+2) Meeting is expected to be held soon. In the context of the South Pacific region, Japan held the first Japan Pacific Islands Defence Dialogue (JPIDD) in September 2021 and New Zealand participated in it. The same month, New Zealand welcomed Japan as an observer at the South Pacific Defence Minister’s Meeting.
Economically, New Zealand and Japan are taking a shared leadership in regional and international fora such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11), and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECEP). The US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is another free trade forum where both nations could enhance their bond.
In the Joint Statement that Ardern and Kishida released in April 2022, both also agreed to use the Japan-led Pacific Islands Leaders’ Meeting (PALM) as another important forum for issues in the South Pacific region, such as climate change. For them, climate change is an “existential threat” to many partners in the PALM. Thus, “both leaders renewed their determination to contribute to the peace and stability of the region in cooperation with Pacific and other partners, based on shared values and in support of Pacific priorities.”
The indigenous cultural revitalisation is something Japan can learn a lot from Aotearoa.
As regional and international environments change, there is no doubt that New Zealand and Japan need to evolve their relationships, just like any other relationships we have with our partners, whānau and friends. However, there is also no doubt that their relationship also goes forward, not backwards, and even much closer than what we see today in the long term. Just like Mr McCaw, we can strengthen our bond by visiting each other more often and experiencing what they offer here and there in the post-COVID19 era.
About the author: Dr Tadashi Iwami (PhD in International Relations, University of Otago) is a lecturer of International Relations at Hokkaido University. Dr Iwami's expertise is on international relations, security issues, foreign policy, and Japan in the Indo-Pacific region. His recent publications appear in the Pacific Review, Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, and East Asia: An International Quarterly.
The Institute of Pacific Relations in China, and the New Zealand economists who were brought to central roles through shameless cronyism.
[Fourth Biennial Conference, Institute of Pacific Relations, Shanghai China 1931]
Date: Thursday, 18 August
Time: 5 pm – 6 pm
Venue: AM104, Alan MacDiarmid Building, VUW (map to the venue)
Zoom Link https://vuw.zoom.us/j/92093104497
Hailed by an American newspaper in the 1920s as ‘a lily in the barnyard of politics’, the Institute of Pacific Relations was established in the worthy, but as it turned out ultimately fallacious, belief that greater familiarity among the countries of the region would prevent any future conflict. It had as its mandate to commission and carry out research on matters relating to the Asia/Pacific region, and to convene a major international conference every three years. The National Councils of its 14 member states drew upon representatives from business, academia and public life.
J.B.Condliffe, then Professor of Economics at Canterbury University College, was recruited in 1926 as the Hawaii-based Institute’s first Research Secretary. Under his guidance, research programmes focused heavily on China, including two landmark projects, one to build a database on land use in China, and another to examine economic and social problems associated with China’s industrialisation. To support work on these, he recruited first Bill Holland, one of his students at Canterbury, and then Brian Low, another Canterbury graduate. The resulting IPR studies, Land Utilisation in China and Land and Labour in China, made, and continue to make, a fundamental contribution to the understanding of the forces underlying China’s economic development in the Republican era.
About the Speaker
Chris Elder helped open the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing, and served as Ambassador to China from 1993 to 1998. He has researched and published on various aspects of China and New Zealand/China relations. The present paper draws upon interviews carried out in the congenial and insightful company of the late Michael Green 36 years ago, now triumphantly revisited.
Debating Patriotism in Meiji Japan - Professor Takashi Shogimen
About this eventAs Japan was redefining itself as a modern nation state in the wake of the Tokugawa shogunal regime’s fall, political and intellectual leaders recognised that promoting patriotism was a priority, yet there was no consensus around what patriotism meant. Indeed, some intellectuals assimilated a variety of European and American patriotism, while others rehabilitated the traditional Japanese idea. Controversies around patriotism encouraged cross-pollination of relevant ideas through linguistic and conceptual translation. Furthermore, debating patriotism among intellectuals was one thing; preaching it to the wider public was quite another.
At the beginning of the 1890s, some intellectuals deplored that most of the Japanese people had no idea about patriotism. By the end of the decade, however, a French missionary remarked that no nation was so enthusiastically patriotic as Japanese.
The talk will trace the historical process of making the distinctively Japanese patriotism (chūkun aikoku) in the 1870s and 80s and examine how the idea was embraced by the Japanese nation rapidly in the 1890s.
For any enquiries please contact Dinah Towle firstname.lastname@example.org
Takashi Shogimen is Professor of History at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He has published widely on medieval European and modern Japanese political thought including seven sole-authored books. His 2013 monograph in Japanese on The Birth of European Political Thought (Nagoya: University of Nagoya Press) was awarded the 2013 Suntory Prize, one of Japan’s most esteemed national prizes for humanities and social sciences. His other books include Ockham and Political Discourse in the Late Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), The Structure of Patriotism (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2019) and, most recently, What’s Wrong with Obedience? (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 2021).
The views expressed in these blogs are not those of the NZASIA Executive and reflect the personal views of the blog authors.