Devnet – UK and Japan: The Future of the Nation-States

Takamasa Ishizuka, ​​CEO, Global Ethics Management Institute, Inc.

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902-1923) was more than just a military alliance; it had a major impact on Japan’s politics, economy, and society, and served as a model for Japan to follow. Looking at the current situation in the U.K., Japan is now facing a situation where it should think carefully and seriously about what it should consider in the future. The UK, which has had to elect five prime ministers in the past six years, is now bringing anxiety to the lives of its citizens because its prime minister does not understand the integration of economic policy (monetary and fiscal policy). On October 20 last year, former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who succeeded former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, tried to succeed Thatcherism in form only by launching a major tax cut, aiming to become the second Margaret Thatcher. But she left the country with the shortest tenure in its history of only 50 days. 

The new leader of the United Kingdom, 42-year-old Prime Minister Rishi Snake, faces the imminent threat of the collapse of the United Kingdom. First, there is the specter of Scottish independence. After Brexit, a second referendum in October of this year (after 2014) would likely result in independence by a narrow margin and membership of the EU, although achieving fiscal discipline (keeping the budget deficit within 3% of GDP and the public debt balance within 60% of GDP), a condition for EU membership, would be a challenge. If Scotland takes a step forward, Wales, with its strong sense of subjugation, will also move toward independence. Northern Ireland would immediately seek to incorporate itself into the Republic of Ireland if it became independent. This is convenient because Ireland is a member of the European Union. The future of the United Kingdom (UK) is very bleak, with only England remaining.

In Japan today, are there politicians and administrators who can rethink deeply about the formation of the Japanese nation from this kind of imagination, strongly think about what should be done, and take action? The question is what to think and how to take action here and now.

What are the tactics to deal with the threats of North Korea and China that have appeared before Japan’s eyes? The fundamental question is whether the current administration has the ability to analyze wisely and act overwhelmingly at a time when Japan’s very existence is at stake, just as it is in the United Kingdom. At a time when North Korea can easily launch medium-range missiles with nuclear warheads at the Japanese mainland, it is important to strengthen “counterattack capabilities,” but from the standpoint of the direct effect of protecting the lives of the Japanese people, it is also important to determine whether the government will make a realistic decision to build more underground shelters in parallel, as was demonstrated in Ukraine. In response to the Chinese threat, Japan has been importing advanced technology and culture and fostering the formation of a nation while showing diplomatic respect to the great power of China since before the 8th century when Japan(the Yamato Dynasty) fearlessly came forward before the Great Tang Empire. The emerging Japan, with the defeat of China in the Opium War behind it, pushed forward into World War II, but it was only in these last 100 years that a trend of condescension toward China sprouted.

The postwar establishment of a political, economic, and social system that relied only on the U.S. may have been an unavoidable circumstance for a defeated nation, but how will Japan maintain its survival in the face of the weakening of the U.S. and the rise of China? China’s economic decline is becoming apparent due to its Zero-COVID policy, but on a global scale, the 21st century will be the age of China no matter how things turn out, and the decline of the U.S. is akin to struggling in the fading twilight. The postwar Japan-U.S. Security Treaty depends on the level of U.S. credibility, but can it be relied upon? 

If China launches a full-scale attack on Taiwan in 2026 or 2027, there is even a possibility that U.S. forces will flee. China is developing hypersonic missiles. If the Dong Feng 17 is launched, Taiwan will be unable to defend itself. At the same time, if a medium-range Dong Feng 26 missile were to land on Guam, U.S. maritime military power would be severely reduced. Not only Okinawa, but also the main Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka and the air force at Yokota Air Base would become targets. The Tokyo metropolitan area itself would become a target, wreaking havoc on Japan’s metropolitan functions. Rather than the U.S. military defending the Senkakus, if China launches a full-scale military operation, it could be forced to leave at once. If this is the case, the U.S. will not be able to afford to protect other countries in the future.

Will Japan bet its future fate on the U.S., or will it become a Chinese province and, like the former Mongolian Autonomous Region and the Uyghurs, be ethnically cleansed into a Han Chinese nation, with its people taking refuge in the Chinese Communist Party, erasing the Japanese nation? Will there be no return to Putin’s Russia, a judo black belt, a friendly nation that North Korea and China do not want to make enemies with? If Japan and Russia become closer, North Korea and China will not attack Japan. We can also expect a stable supply of energy: LNG imports would be good, and we could support large-scale power generation in Siberia, transmitting half of the electricity directly to the Tohoku region.

I have rambled on and on, but I would like to see the NSC (National Security Council) at least propose that the Cabinet discuss these theoretical tactics and the Prime Minister make a decision on the issue.