June 29, 2020 13:48
Japan has expressed opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump's invitation to South Korea to the upcoming G7 Summit. The U.S. is said to have told Japan that Trump has yet to make the final decision on the matter. The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K. besides the U.S., but Trump wants to include South Korea, Australia, Brazil, India, and Russia because the economic landscape has changed dramatically since the club was founded. President Moon Jae-in "willingly" accepted the invitation, but now Japan is paranoid that South Korea could in some way weaken its position.
Japan of course has the right to oppose the inclusion of new members, but the reason it gave for opposing the inclusion of South Korea is profoundly foolish. It claimed that South Korea has a "different stance" than other G7 countries in dealing with China and North Korea.
Yet global conditions require the close cooperation of world leaders now more than ever. The G7 does not exist merely to keep China in check, far less North Korea. And while the South Korean government's policies toward North Korea are dubious, but President Moon Jae-in's single, five-year term is more than half over. Japan must distinguish between the country and its current government's day-to-day politicking.
The real reason for Japan's opposition is another, namely that it wants to retain its status as the only Asian member of the group. That is clear from Japan's position that it does not oppose South Korea's one-time participation as an observer. But the nationalist government of Shinzo Abe is terribly proud that Japan is the only Asian G7 member and does not want to rub shoulders with the riff-raff. That attitude is both childish and narrow-minded and sprigs from the same mentality that prompted Japan's mad invasions of its Asian neighbors in the first half of the 20th century. The Japanese government should drop its opposition to South Korea's participation in the G7 and welcome it instead as an opportunity to raise Asia's voice within the group.
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