Yukio Hatoyama, former Prime Minister of Japan made it clear that South Korea and Japan should take the lead in creating an East Asian Community.
In his keynote speech delivered at the 11th World Knowledge Forum, the former Japanese prime minister called for ‘East Asian Community,’ based on his long-held conviction. He also expressed confidence in formation of a single unified currency of Asia.
The main point of his speech was to insist that “we need to carry out concrete action.” He also highlighted, “we must heighten relations based on mutual trust, and this thinking is based on the premise of recounting of the tyranny of dictatorship” of the past.
“Formation of an East Asian Community needs concrete action. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a community, both politically and in terms of security. It is desirable to begin from cooperating in the fields of economics, society and culture,” Hatoyama said.
He pointed to the importance of early work on building a cooperative community in education and culture.
“Cooperation in education is essential for integration of Asia. Campus Asia is an extraordinary project for Asia’s 21st century status,” he highly praised the collaborative efforts between the three major Asian countries in education.
“The Campus Asia is the latest project that promotes cooperation in recognition of interchangeable academic credits among three national universities of Korea, Japan and China. They involve Seoul National University in Korea, University of Tokyo in Japan and Beijing University in China,” Hatoyama explained.
“Cooperation in culture is another crucial initiative for achieving a unified Asia. The initiative works based on designation of an artistic city on annual rotation. I officially propose such an initiative,” he called for the need of promoting cultural exchange.
“After such a long and challenging road, the EU has continued to evolve until leading to unification of Europe and unified currency in support based on pan-Europeanism,” he said and warned, “unification is projected to be even more difficult for Asia.”
“In the past, the ideology of hegemony and colonial rule brought the war into wars. That should not be repeated to make the concept of East Asian Community to work.”
He underscored that the East Asian Community should embrace even the United States and Russia, expanding into greater countries. He supported his argument by highlighting “global cooperation, self-reliance and co-existence.”
In the latter part of the speech, he expressed concerns over the economy, which is “the most pressing theme.”
“In Japan, we are anxious to conclude trade negotiations with multi economic alliances. That includes South Korea, India and Australia,” Hatoyama said.
Recently, it was reported that incumbent Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan ordered his cabinet to reach agreements with various countries on free trade, being mindful of Korea’s making progress in signing a trade deal with the EU.
Hatoyama pointed out, “Japan should open up more and eliminate various types of non-tariffs,” letting in immigrants from other countries.
[Written by Sung-hyun Lim - Su-hyun Song / edited by Soyoung Chung]