According to Japanese mass media, the G7 Hiroshima summit renewed the determination to realize a "world without nuclear weapons" and reaffirmed the "commitment to peace" in Hiroshima. But these are just empty rhetoric.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's surprise visit to Hiroshima raised a crucial question about the reality of international politics. The truth is that festive celebrations and Japanese-style hospitality cannot resolve the cold and harsh realities of the world.
Trump's Comeback Could Bring Dramatic Change
In March 2023, former US President Donald Trump boasted that he could end the war in Ukraine "in one day" if he were reelected president. It is unclear what specific measures he has in mind. But the United States accounts for the bulk of Western military support for Ukraine. That means Trump's reelection could be a harbinger of a dramatic change in the international situation. A serious confrontation may arise at some stage between US Democrats and Republicans over Ukraine.
In his article, Rachman points out that the inventories of military supplies for Ukraine being maintained by the United States and Europe are nearing depletion. He warns that unless they put their weapons factories under a wartime economic regime, they may fail to provide weapons or ammunition at the pace required on Ukrainian battlefields.
Japan Taking Advantage of Special Treatment
But why is Japan so carefree? As Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reiterates his vow to follow the policy line of the late PM Shinzo Abe, conservative commentators praise the government's three strategic documents issued in December 2022. They also laud its commitment to increasing Japan's defense spending to 2% of its GDP in five years as if it's a historic achievement.
The 2% of GDP target for defense spending became an issue at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That was during the US Trump administration. But I doubt if any NATO member country still discusses the 2% target. The Baltic states and newly joined Finland are becoming more alert to Russia in the post-Ukraine-war age. It is now common sense to aim for a defense spending of 3% to 6% of GDP.
As the G7 chair, Japan is also taking advantage of special treatment that has allowed it to provide Ukraine with solely non-lethal weapons. The other G7 members are quietly watching Japan. Likened to a horse that had been reluctant to drink water, it has begun at last to go closer to the water's edge.
But Any country that fails to know itself cannot survive. I repeat, Japan needs to make sure it acts like a G7 chair.
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Author: Tadae Takubo
Tadae Takubo is Vice President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and a professor emeritus at Kyorin University.