This week, I’ve staying in North America. The main aim was to attend this year’s “International Economic Forum of the Americas” in Toronto. To be honest, I had no chance to visit this city during my diplomatic career. After having visited Montreal last year also on occasion of the IEFA, it has been really a pleasant business trip for me this time.
Looking back what I experienced there, several things now occur to me, while I’m now writing this column in Washington D.C. One of them is related to Japan’s alliance policy. The Japanese leadership loves to mention Russia is strategically essential for Japan, because Japan and she can attack PRC as potential enemy from both sides. This was, for example, exactly what PM Shinzo ABE told me during my courtesy call on January 2 in this year.
Nevertheless, the Japanese leadership never apply the same rule to the American continent. In order to keep US on its friendly alliance policy vis-à-vis Japan, Japan actually needs “the second card”, with which she becomes capable of threatening the former. Despite of such an obvious fact, Japan hasn’t sought this “second card” in the American continent after the WWII. Based on potential antagonism against US, Canada should be chosen as such, I think. The Canadian people never forget the US American neighbors attempted several invasions beyond their borders in the history. Japan should make use of this type of historical (potential) antagonism. Rethinking alternatives is urgently needed in this regard.
The second issue I thought of during the IEFA was Jewish influence in the Canadian society. This time, Shimon Peres, legendary former President of Israel, was invited as maim guest of this event. It was really striking for me to see how local participants reacted on Shimon Peres’ appearance and his words. Spontaneously, I felt that almost all the participants admired him as the loving model of modern Jewish leadership. Of course, nobody referred to massacres in Gaza by IDF and blamed domestic discrimination by Ashkenazi to Sephardi in Israel. One of participants next to me even asked me as follows: “How do you, the Japanese people, think about “OUR” president?” Although she immigrated from Israel to Canada 10 years ago.
During the conference in Toronto, I finally realized Canadian economy can’t move forward without Jewish presence in its society. Nobody mentioned it in IEAF, but I vividly felt it without being given an explanation expressis verbis.
“Potential alliance partner against US” and “Jewish influence”: These are the very factors the Japanese really don’t know, nevertheless, this week’s Canadian trip makes me understand this countries owe them very much. In this regard, it has been really enlightening.