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What do you think about Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's proposal to create an East Asian community, to promote what he calls fraternity in the region?

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Not so promising, either Hatoyama govt will fail or will be betrayed by E.Asian commmunity.

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The EAC? Americans will interpret it as one of the signs of Armageddon.

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Google: Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

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First Japan should get the trust of their neighbors, then talk about a new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere, as Tatsumaru has suggested. It might be easier for China to make this proposal (most Asian countries do a lot of business with China and will into the foreseeable future.)

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Tatsumaru hit the nail on the head. The simple fact that the Japanese are still reviled in Asia precludes any such 'community.'

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Japan has an ageing population, shrinking birth-rate, a serious lack of natural resources and the yen is tied to the dollar, which is losing its world dominance. The only way that Japan will survive in the future is as part of some sort of Asian Economic community, similar to what's happened in Europe.

The main problem is that Japan is going to have to do a LOT of apologising for all of the East Asians they have killed over the years. Japan needs to make reparations and face facts or they'll be speaking Chinese in 50 years time.

For a country that is supposed to be Buddhist, they really haven't got the grasp of karma.

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Something like it will come about eventually, though maybe not in the form Hatoyama sees now. France and Germany got over their problems, the supposed hatred "all of Asia" feels for Japan that the JT brain trust love to froth about sure doesn't stop them from trading with each other. It is economic self-interest which will drive this, and I'd wager that most of Asia trusts Japan more than they do those kind souls heading up the People's Republic of China.

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An East Asian fraternity is a great idea! Hatoyama and the boyz should hold a massive house party featuring a beer bong, marijuana, Bob Marley crankin' on the stereo and of course HOT CHICKS!

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Altria;

But the jocks from the other fraternity will crash the party with cries of "Neeeeeeeerds!" and steal the beer, weed, and chicks. I hate when that happens.

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yep 60+ years & only a few PERSONAL apologies, the officials "apologies" are so vague & can be interpreted to mean pretty much anything havent helped much if at all.

Jpn has to re-invent itself quick & its headed to the lifestyles of the poor & NKorea

Besides ASEAN has been around & the other one(need more coffee) so no need to duplicate things just expand whats in place. But if Jpn doesnt get its crap together it will figure less & less in things as time goes by, & Jpn btw its already happening!

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"and I'd wager that most of Asia trusts Japan more than they do those kind souls heading up the People's Republic of China"

Japan's a nation in stagnation or decline, whichever term suits your ego better. China is still ascending, and will grow more (much more) in the near future.

So, your theory of trusting Japan over the PRC, let's put it to test. You go first.

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I think Hatoyama's proposal is a good one, because it realistically puts China in the center of this East Asian Community. Hatoyama understands that China will be the the 2nd largest economy in the world within a few months, and Japan will need to provide goods and services to this dynamic and furiously growing economy.

Hatoyama is also keenly aware that Japan's aging demographic and diminishing labor pool will force Asian countries to look elsewhere to do business, as trading with Japan will be too expensive a proposition. Even Japan's leading companies know this, as much of their manufacturing base has already been moved to East and Southeast Asia.

The clear win-win in Hatoyama's proposal of an East Asian Community is China, as it seeks to extend and solidify it's trading relations with Asia, as it has already successfully done in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Curiously, Japan has not been able to replicate China's success in these mentioned regions.

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Tatsumaru hit the nail on the head. The simple fact that the Japanese are still reviled in Asia precludes any such 'community.'

Maybe in Korea and China, but the rest of Asia seems to have moved on. Plus the China lovers keep forgetting China has a deeper history of mistrust among Asian states.

Anyway, this idea may have legs. A move towards a more "normal" Japan is welcome in Japan. The breakdown of the Japan/US alliance: economic benefit for political/military benefit, may be welcome in the US also.

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Oh and if demographics and an aging population are seen by some as a block to Japan, the PRC has demographic crises, current and future, to make Japan's problems seem provincial - 32 million men who can never marry because there aren't enough women, an aging population and even less stomach for immigration than Japan (and a far more xenophobic population regardless), hundreds of millions of people earning less than $2 a day, etc. China is a collection of three very wealthy regions (Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong) surrounded by poverty, and when the inequalities of that give rise to violence, it won't be a pretty sight.

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well done mushroomcloud. yours was the only reasoned/articulate/objctive response to the question. not that i agree with you on all the points but, i respect the balance of your considerations.

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I think it is a great idea. Hopefully NK will join too and all our problems will be solved. About those 32 million unmarried men - they should allow women to have several husbands.

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I wish the Japanese the best of luck in their efforts to square things with the Chinese and the Koreans. They will need it. I also agree that Chinese language classes may start replacing all those English language classes they dont study for now.

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I wish the Japanese the best of luck in their efforts to square things with the Chinese and the Koreans. They will need it. I also agree that Chinese language classes may start replacing all those English language classes they dont study for now.

All three countries are staring demographic disaster straight in the eyes. It won't be too long before China is dropping the population of entire countries each year. It's hard to grow in that situation, just ask Japan.

The Asian century may be quite painful if effective policies aren't implemented to counteract this....

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Korea's Lee Myung Bak said to Japanese reporters that he is ready anytime to be friends with Japan Government and people..President Lee went all the way to invite Japan's Emperor Akihito, son of Hirohito,to come to Korea and Akihito himself told Japanese reporters that he feels "kinship" with Koreans..

Hatoyama responded to invitation by saying the Emperor is too old to go abroad..What's there to worry about East Asia Community??..Besides if Asia wants to compete with Europe to get a niche or a share of pie in the global market then it's extremely good idea to add Uncle Sam to East Asia Community because I think that even if Japan-Korea-China joined hands with each other and rival Europe, I don't think it suffices to compete with EU..That's right add Americans in Asian economic affairs might prove that Asia-Pacific could become a formidable trade power to be reckoned with..

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It's because the Japanese are facing serious problems in the future that they are looking to co-operate with the other Asian nations. Does anyone truly believe the Japanese would give a flying f!!k about the rest of Asia if China, S.Korea, and other Asian nations were becoming more economically strong? Japan sees the writing on the wall and is panicking. However if this was an LDP govt in charge I would say NO Way would this happen. But with the Hatoyama govt. there might be a chance.

Yes, recognizing their past deeds, and truly apologising for them is an important first step. Just look at Germany. Once despised they apologised, made reparations, outlawed Nazis or any mention of them, made denying the holocaust illegal and they earned the respect of the rest of the world, for the most part. As long as Japan allows black vans to drive around spewing their bile and continues to look at the whole situation as "regrettable" while dancing around their responsibility of making the situation regrettable in the first place, the rest of Asia will not and should not trust them.

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Wonderful idea welcomed my all. The details will be a bit harder. Would the Japanese open their markets to others?

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by all - sorry.

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There will be arguments about which nations belong to the East Asian community. He has a dream about forming the regional group like European union. However there will be many generations to unite the East Asian nations to form the large group like that. Geographically, India is located in South West of Asia. Australia and New Zealand are located faraway from south of East Asia. Every nations has trade protection about sensitive area such as agriculture or finance.

His dream about forming Europe style regional group will take many generations. Historically, Inter racially and Culturally Asians are disunited and hyper-sensitive to each other! They do not trust each other too.

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He is right to try. But it's a dream. That would be possible with South-East Asian democratic countries, probably with North Korea too (as I think we are just counting the days until the fall of the dictature). I think those countries have all sorts of common interests to develop. With South Korea, that sounds difficult, they have a weird kind of nationalism, but well something could be done without them.

The problem is China. The regime did change to gain economic efficiency, but it did not evolve much on the path of democracy and shared power since Mao. So they would not be part of it, and they would not let something strong being built without them. They only want to control everything.

Would the Japanese open their markets to others?

@Oneforall, you should go shopping yourself instead of sending the maid. There are not many Japanese markets left that are not dominated by Asian imports.

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Wow, many greats comments back and forth. Stimulating discussion. The idea floated by Hatoyama is a step in the right direction for Japan. Japan needs to realize the new reality in the world. The 21st century belongs to BRIC countries. The sooner Japan attaches itself to these countries the more beneficial it is for Japan. However, the only and possibly the biggest stumbling block is Japan has not fully repented their role in WW2. Until this issue is resolved, the East Asia community means no more than the paper it is or will be signed on.

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Whatever the cause of the demographics the result is the same.

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<Whatever the cause of the demographics the result is the same>

China's problems is easier to fix as long as its gov't decides to end the one child policy, which they have started to. China's one child policy is not etched in stone. It is strictly a policy developed years ago to control its population when the country was dirt poor. Now that it is a little more prosperous, it can loosen this policy.

On the other hand, the Japanese have tried everything except throwing the kitchen sink at the problem and still people are relucant to have more than 1.31 babies. The fundamental problem with Japan is that people want a bigger family but the economics of it simply prevents it.

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This is a last desperate move by Japan to inject itself firmly in the leadership role of Asia's 21st century. It will fail because China and the U.S. see right through the charade.

Japan is hindered by history(mainly 20th century), cultural limitations, economy(a debt level approaching 200% of GDP with no end to its rise in sight), demographics(the nightmarish social expenditures now and the foreseeable future), paucity of natural resources, and its U.S.-written constitution that it doesn't have the backbone to change.

Japan and a leadership role in Asia don't go together.

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Does such ideas just represent poor translations of the original Japanese? The reason I ask this is that considering history, an the Japanese preoccupation with the Great East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere (back in the day), I would have thought any contemporary Japanese leader would avoid using terms such as "fraternity" and "East Asian Community" in the same sentence.

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China's problems is easier to fix as long as its gov't decides to end the one child policy.

The effects of that change would take 25 years or so to be felt. It's not just about raw numbers - babies can't buy houses, work in factories or fund pensions. Until the children become aduls there are labor shortages, tax base declines, and falling real estate prices.

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Hmm, he is a Mason and whenever they talk about creating a community they maybe talking about the new world order. Or am I confusing them with Illuminati? Could be great, or awful depending on the execution.

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Hmm ... if you read Eamonn Fingleton, he makes the argument that there's less to China-Japan hostility than meets the eye. Don't know if I completely buy it, but he is persuasive, in large part because he documents the commercial links that the two countries have been building for 30 years despite the Yasukuni Shrine/Senkaku Islands/Nanjing disputes that get prominent play in the media.

I think it should be pointed out, if it hasn't been already, that Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada is the second son of the founder of the Aeon retail group. As the chain is in all likelihood salivating over the opportunity to expand operations in China, I find it practically scandalous that Japan's foreign minister is in a position to create a framework from which his own family would stand to profit from, and handsomely so.

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Just as long as he doesn't call it the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere". They tried that one already, didn't work too well...

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EU has the European community started end of last century. Why not Japan Hatoyama initiative to Asian community start this century? It's a better vision to have much cultural mutual understanding and less borders of countries to travel one country to another. Focusing economy, he needs more his effort to APEC.

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