Friday, September 04, 2009

A new path for globalization as envisioned by Japan’s new Prime Minister

“In the post-Cold War period, Japan has been continually buffeted by the winds of market fundamentalism in a U.S.-led movement that is more usually called globalization. In the fundamentalist pursuit of capitalism, people are treated not as an end but as a means. Consequently, human dignity is lost.”
That was the opening paragraph of a New York Times op-ed article written by Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, published under the title “A New Path for Japan” on August 27.

Three days later Hatoyama’s Democratic Party won a landslide electoral victory that will make him Japan’s prime minister on September 16.

Hatoyama’s campaign centered on a return to “the idea of fraternity.” In the Times article he described fraternity in terms that led the blog of Public Citizens' Global Trade Watch to headline his victory as one in which “Fair traders Sweep Japanese Elections.”

Globalization “has progressed without any regard for non-economic values, or for environmental issues or problems of resource restriction,” Hatoyama wrote, and added:
“Under the principle of fraternity, we would not implement policies that leave areas relating to human lives and safety – such as agriculture, the environment, and medicine – to the mercy of globalism.

“Our responsibility as politicians is to refocus our attention on those non-economic values that have been thrown aside by the march of globalism. We must work on policies that regenerate the ties that bring people together, that take greater account of nature and the environment, that rebuild welfare and medical systems, that provide better education and child-rearing support, and that address wealth disparities.”
The Times op-ed was an edited excerpt from a much longer article in the September issue of the monthly Japanese journal article Voice. The on-line Wall Street Journal ran Hatoyama’s complete article on September 3 under the title “My Political Philosophy.”

The full article has a conclusion not included in the Times excerpt:

“We are currently standing at a turning point in global history, and therefore our resolve and vision are being tested, not only in terms of how we try to formulate policies to stimulate the domestic economy, but also in terms of how we try to build a new global and political order.”

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