Global Agenda Council on Japan 2012-2014
Japan is going through a period of transition. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office for the second time in December 2012 and committed to bringing about change in the country. Japan is struggling to overcome its shrinking economy and is still recovering from the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011. Additionally, the country’s recent relationships with China, South Korea and other nations in the Asia-Pacific region are characterized by a new phase of unstable geopolitical dynamics. At the same time, Japan’s debate over its Trans-Pacific Partnership seems to be moving in a positive direction. At this juncture, Japan needs to address its economic issues, ageing population and role and relationship with relevant Asia-Pacific players.
What the Council is doing about it
At the Summit on the Global Agenda 2012 in Dubai, the Global Agenda Council on Japan proposed to work on fostering regional dialogues, highlighting Japan’s best practices and lessons from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake as well as gender parity issues. In Dubai, the Council kicked off the trilateral dialogues with the Council on Korea and the Council on China, and continued them at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013. The three regional Councils committed to working in collaboration to solve common issues, such as mounting fiscal deficits, ageing populations and social security issues.
In addressing the gender parity issue, the Council worked closely with the Global Agenda Council on Women’s Empowerment and the Forum’s Japan Gender Parity Task Force, which aims to close Japan’s gender gap by 10% by 2015. On the disaster management front, the Council used the Forum platform to disseminate studies of the 2011 disaster. Council Members continued their efforts to engage in informal dialogues with global leaders at the Japan Global Advisory Meeting in October 2012, Annual Meeting 2013, and Japan Meeting 2013. Participants discussed ways to rejuvenate Japan’s economic and political leadership.
“Japan is struggling to overcome its shrinking economy, where Abenomics provides a new horizon while the detailed structural reform delivery is the major task moving forward.”
At the Japan Meeting in June 2013, Council Members played a key role in driving the agenda for Japan’s transformation. The meeting further defined the Council’s direction as it tackles the geopolitical, economic and social issues facing the country. The Council will refine its direction with the new government and shape the agenda together with the Japanese multistakeholder Forum community. Informal bilateral and trilateral conversations between neighbouring countries have taken place at various Forum meetings, including at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2013 in Dalian, People’s Republic of China, and the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. For the remainder of the term, the Global Agenda Council on Japan will use such meetings to further its agenda and play an active advisory role to key decision-makers in the country.