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  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Archival accounts of 19th centur y Tibet describe it as the forbidden, inaccessible, daunting and remotely unreachable territory of the Himalayas. Lhasa, the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century literally meant “Place of the Gods” located at an elevation of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) at the center of the Tibetan Plateau with the surrounding mountains rising to 5,500 m (18,000 ft). The air in this part contained only 68 percent oxygen compared to sea level, thereby indicating the geographic difficulties of the terrain. Tibet has stirred the curiosity amongst explorers, adventurists and researchers as being amongst the few places in the world that fired the imagination of adventurers. Owing to Buddhism, Japan, quite evidently had far more incentive than most others to reach Tibet, and ultimately, Lhasa. It was in the backdrop of these existential conditions that Ekai Kawaguchi (1866-1945) a Buddhist monk became the first Japanese explorer to embark upon a journey fraught with danger and uncertainty in May 1897 from Tokyo, to have succeeded in touching the frontier of the roof of the world, as he stepped on Tibetan soil for the first time on July 4, 1900
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The US Department of Defense (DOD) released its longawaited Indo Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR) in tandem with the IISS-Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore on 1 June 2019. This IPSR appears to subsume or extend the earlier Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP) strategy (sometimes referred to now as a “vision”) into a more comprehensive regional Indo Pacific Strategy (IPS), that is anchored in the earlier 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) documents. Australia has yet to produce an analogous document dedicated to profiling its own “Indo Pacific Strategy”, but with the US iteration in view, it is possible to construct an plausible image of such a strategy in the Australian case by drawing upon various pertinent materials from a range of government sources. Indeed, the notion of an overarching IPs is gradually taking shape in Australian strategic thinking, as testified to by a variety of official documents, including large portions of the 2016 Defence White Paper, and especially 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, alongside other policy statements and initiatives, framed in the context of analysis and debate undertaken by nationally-based strategic commentators. A small case “s” in “Indo Pacific strategy” is specifically employed in this paper to distinguish the author’s conception from any formally mandated government “Strategy”
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: During two critical meetings, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to France in May 2019, followed by President Macron’s visit to Japan in June of the same year, several elements were highlighted that demonstrate a close convergence of analysis on the strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific region. This convergence paves the way for increased opportunities for cooperation. Internal evolutions on defense-related issues in Japan since 2012 have made this type of cooperation more accessible. On the French side, a more assertive ambition for engagement in a critical area has been expressed on many occasions.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Berkshire Miller
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Indo-Pacific, as a geographic concept that connects the vast oceans of Pacific and the Indian along with the states in between, is not a new idea. Indeed, the idea of a broader geographic region – rather than more traditional subsets such as East Asia, South Asia, or the more expansive Asia-Pacific – has been used for more than a decade by scholars and practitioners in the region. An Indian naval captain began using the concept in geopolitical terms more than a decade ago, but the terminology has not been limited to scholars in Delhi. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, back during his first stint as Prime Minister in 2007, spoke to India’s parliament about his country’s vision for Indo-Pacific noting a “confluence of the two seas”2 and pressed for a need to transcend beyond traditional frameworks that often separated or minimized the geopolitical connections between South Asian and the Indian Ocean region with that of East Asia and the Pacific
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Histor y often tends to repeat itself, or as Spanish-American philosopher, Jorge Agustín Santayana wrote in 1905-06 in The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. While setting out to write on, or about Tibet, it is inevitable to conclude that there never was, or will be, a long walk to freedom either for Tibet, or for the holy chair of the successive Dalai Lamas – the god and king-in-one incarnation of Chen-re-zi, the Lord of Mercy – the patron deity of Tibet. The Dalai Lama not only governs his subjects in this life, but can influence their rebirth in the next, or as Tibetans believe is the “Ruler in this life, the Uplifter in the hereafter.”1
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: For both Japan and the European Union, deepening their partnership in an increasingly unstable world has become an essential element, if not yet a priority. Since he came to power in 2012, Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet understand the importance of expanding cooperation opportunities for Japan beyond the scope of traditional alliances in order to implement the concept of proactive contribution to peace. This is also a priority for the European Union, that, like its most prominent member States, understands that the EU’s Asia policy cannot be summed up to its relations with China.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hideshi Tokuchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: It is almost a cliché that Australia and New Zealand are canaries in the coal mine for Chinese attempts at exerting political influence.1 In fact, Chinese influence is not a topic that affects just Oceania. It is already a serious challenge that confronts all democracies and open societies. According to Clive Hamilton’s “Silent Invasion,” a Chinese diplomat who sought political asylum in Australia told Hamilton that Australia’s openness, relatively small population, a large number of Chinese immigrants and commitment to multiculturalism have weakened Australia’s capacity to recognize and defend against the Chinese infiltration, but all democracies and open societies are susceptible to the threat
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Paris Peace Conference opened on January 18, 1919, paving way for an ensuing legacy of peacemaking. It aimed at fortifying the conceptual foundations in reference to the very essential premise on which peacemaking rests – i.e., bringing a conflict/war to a halt, and thereafter initiating a diplomatic process that seeks to provide a platform for initiating the process of reconciliation. Held at the Palace of Versailles, the Peace Conference saw delegates from 27 parties, with rigorous deliberations and recommendations that eventually got included into the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, held at the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, on June 28, 1919
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus