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September 3, 2010

Asia in the Era of Globalization and Prospect for Japan-China Relations
Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS)

JICA President Sadako Ogata

President Sadako Ogata delivered the following speech at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS).


I am honored to have this opportunity to address the distinguished experts of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, SIIS on the issue of Asia in the Era of Globalization and Prospect for Japan-China Relations. I wish to thank Dr. Yang Jiemian, President of SIIS and Mr. Wu Jinan, Senior Fellow of SIIS for organizing this meeting and would like to congratulate the 50th anniversary of the founding of SIIS.

China's rise and role of Shanghai

I have been impressed by the remarkable changes that have taken in many parts of China, especially in Shanghai since my first visit to SIIS in the 1980's. Today we live in a world marked by globalization. People move across borders. Goods and money know no boundaries. Most of all, the inter-net and the mobile phone have revolutionized the flow of information. Together with trade and foreign direct investment, FDI, China has become a major player in the global economy, not only as the world's major production center but also as a destination of world resources. The coastal region, especially the Shanghai led Yangtze River Delta consisting of Shanghai, Jiangxu and Zhejiang, has become the engine of China's rapid economic growth. GDP share of the Yangtze River Delta already reached 21% in 2008.

I would like to refer to the impact of intellectual exchange between Japan and China on the development of Shanghai. Twenty-eight years ago, the then-President of NIRA, Atsushi Shimokobe, a famous urban and regional planner, made a field trip to Shanghai and neighboring provinces, and presented the concept of Shanghai Economic Zone to China's national and local leaders. He analyzed the potential for development of Yangtze River Delta and proposed to transform its center, Shanghai, into an international city connecting inland region and the rest of the world. He also proposed to build world class deep sea port, an international airport and other major infrastructure in Shanghai. Since then he played the role of policy advisor to the Chinese government. Later on, series of development policies such as Development of Pudong District and large scale infrastructure development contributed to the enormous economic growth of the city mainly through the attraction of FDI.

In late 90's JICA and the National Development Planning Commission (now National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)) jointly conducted a large-scale study on China's urbanization policy focusing on the Shanghai led Yangtze River Delta. A number of experts from the two countries participated in the study. The study was published in 2001. It indicated that an urban agglomeration far exceeding the scale of Tokyo Megalopolis in terms of population will appear in Yangtze River Delta. The report also analyzed the challenges China would face in the process of urbanization and proposed to formulate comprehensive urban policies in order to establish high-density, large-scale, citizen oriented lively society in the megalopolis. Part of the recommendation was finally introduced by NDRC in the 11th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) and the Regional Plan for the Yangtze River Delta was approved by China's State Council last May.

Japan also supported a number of infrastructure projects in Shanghai through technical assistance, grant aid and ODA Loans (Yen Loans). Projects such as the Baoshan Steel and Pudong International Airport contributed to the urban economy of Shanghai.

My association with NIRA and SIIS

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution in China. Let me begin by going back to my career briefly as a background to introduce my views on the issue we are to discuss. In my long career that spans education, scholarly research, diplomatic and international civil service, China has always occupied an important focal point.

I was born in Tokyo into a family with a background in diplomatic and political life. I spent five years in the United States as a small child, and three years in China before returning to Japan. I still recall the scenery of Huangpu River in Shanghai in 1930's. In l956, I went to the University of California at Berkeley as research assistant to Robert Scalapino. Under Professor Scalapino, I was able to expand my knowledge of Asian political relations. I returned to Japan two years later, and carried out the research for my doctoral dissertation on the decision-making process related to Japan's military involvement in Manchuria. My doctoral dissertation under the title, "Defiance in Manchuria: The Making of Japanese Foreign Policy, 1931-l932" was published by the University of California press in l963.

Through this publication, I tried to demonstrate that the essential cause of Japan's expansionist policy lay not so much in ideology, but essentially in the system of irresponsibility in which the junior Japanese military officers defied not only the civilian authorities but their own military leaders. Their radical role in the disintegration of the political power structure was the underlying current in the long sequence of events from Japan's expansion to China, withdrawal from the League of Nations, and its ever deepening international isolation and ultimate full-scale war and defeat.

The Manchurian Affair had direct bearing on my family and conditioned our outlook. Shortly after the Manchurian Affair, my great grandfather Tsuyoshi Inukai, was assassinated by naval officers on May 15, 1932 while serving as prime minister. He had long term sympathy and support for Asian revolutionaries including Sun Yat Sen, and assisted many of them during their refuge in Japan.

I understand that an exhibition entitled "Dr. Sun Yat Sen and Umeya Shokichi" was held in the Japanese Pavilion in Shanghai Expo last week. Umeya, a founder of a Japanese film company, who lived in the same period as Inukai, maintained deep friendship with Sun and assisted him financially.

In 1980 I started to teach as professor of international relations at Sophia University in Tokyo. Between l982 to l985, I served as the Japanese delegate to the UN General Assembly and as the very first government representative on the United Nations Human Rights Commission. By coincidence, these were the years when China gained representation on the Human Rights Commission. Both delegations collaborated to learn the importance of protecting human rights of individuals and peoples, and of linking state behavior with the treatment of citizens.

I also participated in a number of international policy organizations and think tanks. Of special relevance was my association with the National Institute of Research Advancement, NIRA. I participated in a series of policy research and debate jointly organized by NIRA led by Mr. Atsushi Shimokobe and Mr. Toru Yano and SIIS, led by then president Mr. Chen Qimao. We ran a series of seminars on Japan-China relations as well as Asia Pacific region. While recognizing each other's conceptual divergences, we came to understand the importance of continuing discussions at all levels. I cherished the friendship cultivated between Chinese and Japanese scholars, and learned to respect a great deal of each other's lives and values. I still remember the joint field visits we made together. I recall especially the visit to the City of Maanchan, where we held the Second Sino-Japanese Shanghai Symposium in June 1986. While the city was full of smoke stack factories, the people seemed highly cultured, taking evening walks and appreciating bonsai and calligraphy.

While at Sophia University, my research focused on the dynamics of political currents within international organizations, and treated human rights issues from the perspective of UN politics. The publication titled "Normalization with China: a Comparative Study of U.S. and Japanese Processes" (University of California, Institute of East Asian Studies, 1989), brought together my long term interest to analyze the comparative political processes of Japan and U.S. in relation to China.

The year 1991 as I took up my tenure as the eighth United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the world had just moved away from the rigidly controlled cold war structure. There were signs of globalizing trends with increasing movements of goods and peoples across border. At the same time, the loosening structure brought to the surface interethnic and separatist armed conflicts at regional and national levels.

In Asia, the major challenges faced by UNHCR were the repatriation and resettlement of Indochina refugees. Wars of liberation had resulted in the victory of communist forces, and more than 3 million people were to find their way home. For the Vietnamese boat people who had flooded the south-east Asian countries, the majority had been resettled in other countries: 1.4 million in the United States followed by 260,000 in China and many others in Canada, Australia and France. Japan became a party to the Refugee Convention and for the first time accepted ten thousand refugees.

The event that I recall with special emotion was the restoration of Hong Kong to China in 1997. There were many refugees who had to be resettled ahead of time. I was invited by both the Chinese and British Governments to be at the reunification ceremony and stand witness to the century long historical change.

Upon ending my ten years as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I assumed the presidency of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA in October 2003. Since then, I made field visits to various regions in China, the Western Region (Sichuan, Guizhou and Shaanxi) in March 2006 and the Northeast Region (Liaoning and Jilin) in December 2009. This year, I received the Global Women's Leadership Award in Beijing in May 2010.

JICA and China

Now, I would like to concentrate my remarks to JICA's collaboration with China. When China embarked on its Reform and Opening-up Policy in December 1978, it requested Japan for the provision of Yen Loans to build railroads, ports and hydraulic power plants. In addition, it also asked for grant aid and technical cooperation to build the Japan-China Friendship Hospital and to train railroad engineers. In response, then-Prime Minister Ohira committed during his visit to China in December 1979 that Japan would provide ODA to China. This decision was based on the idea that support for China's Reform and Opening-up Policy would benefit not only the stability and prosperity of China and Japan, but those of the entire Asian region and indeed the entire world. For thirty years since then, Japan has provided China with a total ODA of about 3.6 trillion yen, corresponding to China's five-year plans and meeting different developmental needs starting from economic infrastructure in 1980's to environmental conservation from late 1990's. JICA has also accepted more than 25,000 Chinese for technical training and youth training.

Let me introduce one particular case. In the 1980s, one of the serious bottlenecks in Chinese economy was the lack of transport infrastructure for coal. JICA experts and Chinese experts conducted a feasibility study for a new port construction in Qingdao. Advanced construction and coal handling equipments for the port were introduced from Japan and other OECD countries utilizing Yen Loans. Yen Loans were also extended to infrastructure development for Qingdao Economic and Technological Development Area. Consequently, the Qingdao port became one of the largest ports in China and a number of Japanese companies invested in Qingdao. I am told that Mr. Yu Zhensheng, then mayor of Qingdao, now party secretary of Shanghai, highly praised Japanese cooperation in Qingdao.

To promote mutual understanding between the two countries, JICA started youth training program in 1987 in cooperation with the All-China Youth Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. Since then, about 4,600 Chinese youth have participated, including Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang, over thirty ministers and vice minister level leaders as well as several leaders from Shanghai.

While Japan continues to contribute to China's efforts for settling its domestic needs, such as water and air pollution control, climate change, reforestation, solid-waste management and environmental education among others, the two countries have moved on to hold dialogue on cooperation on assisting countries in greater development needs. When I was received by Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang last December, Mr. Li told me that supporting the late developing countries was one of the most important challenges in Chinese-Japanese cooperation. Since then, JICA and the Export-Import Bank of China held the second joint workshop in March 2010 to discuss and share experiences on issues such as evaluation methods, and climate change. We have also started discussions with the Department of Aid to Foreign Countries, Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM). We shall be hosting training programs for staff members of the relevant departments of MOFCOM. We also plan to hold dialogue between agricultural experts of Japan and China in order to advance their capacities in carrying out agricultural assistance work in Africa.

Future Collaboration between JICA and SIIS

When JICA underwent its recent reorganization in October 2008, incorporating grant and soft loan to its technical assistance and thus becoming one of the largest bilateral development assistance agencies, we underwent serious reexamination of its fundamental role. A staff wide exercise took place to identify a new mission statement. The idea that emerged was one to pursue "inclusive and dynamic development." While embarking on a dynamic development assistance process, JICA would ensure successful inclusion of people to participate in solving problems and also can enjoy the fruits of success.

While continuing to advance Japan's cooperation with China in a whole range of development assistance work, I would like to solicit closer collaboration with the SIIS on a range of research and policy dialogue, especially with regard to the challenge of ensuring "inclusive and dynamic economic advancement." In regions of high economic growth, such as Shanghai, I expect that new safety nets, governing structures and systems have been developed to cover the well being of the widest range of people.

There are particularly two questions that I wish to raise, both relate to adverse impacts resulting from high economic growth. First concern is the question of environmental protection measures resulting from population increase and industrialization. The environment issue is central to urbanization. What were some of the priority measures Shanghai must have taken to address the environmental challenges? Second relates to the question of growing disparity between the rich and the poor, particularly in relation to urban and rural divide. Here again, what insights has SIIS gained through your experiences relating to high economic growth of the region? These issues are also relevant to other parts of China as well as to the rest of Asian countries, and JICA would be keen to learn from your insights.

I wish to report that it is, indeed, a great pleasure and privilege to visit the Shanghai Institute of International Studies again. In thanking you for your hospitality, let me also take this occasion to congratulate Shanghai for the marvelous Expo that symbolizes your aspirations and achievements. Let me conclude by pledging continued collaboration that would lead to better and greater advancement of our people as well as of all those in the Asia Pacific region.

Thank you.


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