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Our maxim: “understanding before action”
Our purpose is to encourage the knowledge and the debate of issues connected with art and military science. Selection of articles attempts to reflect different opinions. Beyond any ideological ascription. In order to impulse critical thought amongst our readers.

viernes, 3 de octubre de 2014

Japón y América del Sur.


Japan Pins Foreign Policy Goals on Stronger Latin America Ties.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the Planalto Presidential Palace, Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 1, 2014 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).
This summer, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went on a five-nation tour of Latin America, visiting Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. In an email interview, Melba Falck Reyes, professor in the Pacific studies department at the University of Guadalajara, discussed Japan’s ties with Latin America.

WPR: What are de main outcomes of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent Latin America tour?

Melba Falck Reyes: With this visit Abe was seeking to consolidate and deepen relations with these countries, emphasizing four main areas: economic relations, cooperation, political dialogue and peace, stability and prosperity of the international community. Regarding economic relations, the aim is to elevate them by strengthening Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) already in force with Mexico and Chile, expanding trade and investment in new strategic areas with Brazil and concluding an EPA with Colombia.

Cooperation has been a distinguished feature of Japan’s relations with its partners in Latin America. New goals have been established to improve cooperation on small- and medium-size enterprises, the automotive sector, rural development, health, education and disaster risk prevention.

All parties agreed on strengthening political dialogue through coordination and consultations among different ministries on a regular basis and also to foster parliamentary exchanges. Finally, Abe presented Japan as a proactive contributor to strengthening international order and lobbied for support for Japan’s permanent membership in a reformed United Nations Security Council.

WPR: How do Japan’s efforts to boost its presence in Latin America compare to China’s?

Falck Reyes: In contrast to Japan, which has long-term relationships with several Latin American countries, China only started to substantially increase its presence in Latin America around 2000 and has seen Latin America as a major source of resources to satisfy the growing demand posed by the high growth rates of its economy. As a result, China has become one of the major partners of various Latin American countries as trade, investment and loans have expanded.

Latin American exports to China have been concentrated in few primary-based products—oil, copper, iron and soy—and in few countries—Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Peru. On the other hand, Latin American imports from China are mainly manufacturing products. This pattern of trade has made some Latin American countries more vulnerable to fluctuating commodity prices.

Though it still represents a small share of foreign direct investment to Latin America, China’s investment in the region has been growing lately, mainly in energy, communications and mining. Japanese investment, in contrast, has been concentrated in the manufacturing sector, including the automotive and electronics industries.

WPR: How do ties with Latin America fit within Japan’s wider economic and foreign policy?

Falck Reyes: Since Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, his policies have focused on economic growth. Adding to the domestic challenges of the 2008 financial crisis and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japan is confronting the rise of China regionally and globally.

Japan has pioneered partnership agreements in Latin America that include not only the traditional areas of trade and investment, but also wider cooperation. Chile, Peru and Mexico have benefited from this approach to integration, and Japan can continue to use this approach with other Latin American countries. Moreover, Chile, Peru and Mexico also participate in the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and are members of the Pacific Alliance.

Under the private investment stimuli of Abe’s economic policy, Japanese companies have renewed interest in Latin America, as was shown by the large delegation of businessmen that participated in Abe’s tour. Moreover, the emphasis placed on academic exchanges is key to Abe’s commitment to foster global human resources in his country.

Additionally, given the positive image that Japan has developed in Latin America, it can work with the region to promote shared values on human rights, promotion of peace, law enforcement and respect to freedom. Finally, Abe’s policy for Japan to have a more proactive role in international affairs through a permanent membership on a reformed United Nations Security Council was favorably received during the visit. Thus, the three guiding principles of Latin America-Japan relationships mentioned in Abe’s last speech during his visit to Brazil—progress, lead and inspire together—can become a reality.

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