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Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “Nine Nations of United Nations Security Council Condemn Myanmar Military, Demand End to Violence – Japan, the U.S., the U.K., and Others” [in Japanese]

May 24, 2024
On February 6, 2024, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article, "Nine Nations of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Condemn Myanmar Military, Demand End to Violence - Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Others" was published. This article is about the joint statement issued by nine members of the UNSC, including Japan, the U.S., and the U.K., "strongly condemning" the Myanmar military, which has been in power since the coup of February 2021, for its continued violence against civilians. Professor Ichihara welcomed the statement condemning the Myanmar military, but commented that the Japanese government, as a non-permanent member of the UNSC in Asia, should take the Myanmar issue more seriously.
Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “Mounting Calls for Military Leadership Change from Pro-Army Faction… Dissatisfaction with Combat in Myanmar” [in Japanese]

May 17, 2024
On January 27, 2024, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article, "Mounting Calls for Military Leadership Change from Pro-Army Faction... Dissatisfaction with Combat in Myanmar" was published. This article discusses the unprecedented situation in Myanmar, where internal dissatisfaction within the army is increasing amidst the nationwide expansion of combat with ethnic minority armed groups, three years after the coup. Professor Ichihara emphasized the necessity of persuading the army to abandon combat and seek peace in a manner that reflects the demands of the democratic National Unity Government (NUG) and ethnic minority groups. She highlighted the importance of strengthening pressure on the army and convincing the top commander, not just by ASEAN alone but also through collaboration with relevant countries.
Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “Setting Emotions Aside: A Former Ambassador Who Engaged with China for 40 Years Discusses ‘Strategic Thinking'” [in Japanese]

May 13, 2024
On January 27, 2024, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article “Setting Emotions Aside: A Former Ambassador Who Engaged with China for 40 Years Discusses 'Strategic Thinking'" was published. In this article, former Japanese Ambassador to China Hideo Tarumi, who retired December 2023, talks about the characteristics of China in the Xi Jinping era and how Japan should deal with China. Professor Ichihara stated that when emotions are increasingly influencing diplomacy, we need diplomats and politicians who have the courage not to be influenced by chauvinistic public opinion. She further commented that the general public also needs to strengthen the habit of saying what needs to be said.
Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “Aung San Suu Kyi’s Residence Auctioned: Long-standing Detention Site Symbolizing Democracy” [in Japanese]

May 09, 2024
On January 26, 2024, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article, "Aung San Suu Kyi's Residence Auctioned: Long-standing Detention Site Symbolizing Democracy" was published. This article is about the auction of a house known as the residence where Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was once held under house arrest, and which is also considered a symbolic site of Myanmar's democratization movement. Professor Ichihara noted that authoritarians tend to fear symbols that might have the power to mobilize forces against them, and commented that in this case, they are probably eager to remove the place and building as a symbol of Aung San Suu Kyi from the control of others and reduce the influence of pro-democracy forces.
Global Risk and Crisis Management Program

Appearance in “Deteriorating Nuclear Disarmament Treaties: China, North Korea, India… World Accelerating Nuclear Arms Race” [in Japanese]

April 30, 2024
On January 22, 2024, Professor Nobumasa Akiyama of the Graduate School of Law appeared on TV Tokyo's program titled "Deteriorating Nuclear Disarmament Treaties: China, North Korea, India... World Accelerating Nuclear Arms Race." This program discusses how Japan should deal with the growing threat of nuclear weapons in the international community, with Russian President Putin suggesting the use of tactical nuclear weapons in his ongoing invasion of Ukraine, China strengthening its deployment of nuclear weapons, and North Korea pushing forward with its nuclear development. Professor Akiyama discussed that while the number of nuclear weapons has decreased compared to the peak of the Cold War era, the threshold for nuclear weapon use has lowered since Russia invaded Ukraine, indicating that the risk of nuclear weapons remains high. He also pointed out the deepening division within the international community concerning nuclear weapons.
Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “‘Donate Cameras’ Japanese Journalists to Support Those in Myanmar” [in Japanese]

April 26, 2024
On December 20, 2023, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article "'Donate Cameras’ Japanese Journalists to Support Those in Myanmar" was published. This article is about Japanese journalists who were detained in military-controlled Myanmar after the coup in 2021, and who launched a project this month to support the activities of Myanmar journalists under oppression. Professor Ichihara stated that she felt it was an injustice that the world's attention was focused on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas instead of Myanmar, which is also still in conflict. Under such circumstances, she emphasized that the activities of civil society are important, and that the Japanese government should also be proactive in this regard.

Comment on “‘Press Work Suddenly Becomes a Crime’, Trial Begins for the Founder of Apple Daily in Hong Kong” [in Japanese]

April 22, 2024
On December 19, 2023, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article, "'Press Work Suddenly Becomes a Crime’, Trial Begins for the Founder of Apple Daily in Hong Kong” was published. The article discusses the trial in a Hong Kong court of Jimmy Lai, the founder of the Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper that was forced to cease publication because of its critical tone toward the Chinese Communist Party, on charges of violating Hong Kong's National Security Law. Professor Ichihara stated that the trial of Jimmy Lai is a prime example of how all freedoms are being taken away and speech is being suppressed in Hong Kong. She further commented that Japan, which has launched the Free and Open Indo-Pacific concept, should issue a statement of condemnation against the wanted Hong Kong activists and continue to exert its influence as an actor to maintain international order, instead of engaging in low-key diplomacy.
Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “Japan and Southeast Asia, which ‘Have Never Been Equals,’ a Proposal by Jim Rogers” [in Japanese]

April 16, 2024
On December 17, 2023, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article, "Japan and Southeast Asia, which 'Have Never Been Equals,' a Proposal by Jim Rogers" was uploaded. In this article, Jim Rogers, an American investor who has moved to Southeast Asia, is interviewed about the economic growth of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its relationship with Japan. Professor Ichihara commented on the need not only to create an environment where foreigners are not forced to learn Japanese and can instead run the entire society in English but also to make efforts to lower communication barriers for Japanese people.
Democracy and Human Rights Program

Comment on “The ‘China or Us’ Dichotomy Limits Japan’s Ability to Strengthen Ties: So, What Attitude Should Japan Adopt?” [in Japanese]

April 15, 2024
On December 14, 2023, a comment of Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law on the Asahi Shimbun article, "The ‘China or Us’ Dichotomy Limits Japan’s Ability to Strengthen Ties: So, What Attitude Should Japan Adopt?" was published. The article is based on an interview with Professor Mie Oba of Kanagawa University regarding how the relationship between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has evolved, and what kind of relationship should be built in the future as the struggle for supremacy between the U.S. and China becomes more intense. Professor Ichihara stressed the need for Japan to show that it will not overlook human rights abuses, and to continue dialogue with authoritarian countries. She commented on the need to strengthen our voice in diplomacy, not only through the government but also by utilizing think tanks and other non-governmental channels.
Global Risk and Crisis Management Program

Press Conference Following the Third Session of the International Group of Eminent Persons [in Japanese]

April 12, 2024
On December 9, 2023, the Nikkei Shimbun published an article entitled "Aiming for Nuclear Disarmament, Proposal with Chinese and Russian Experts for NPT26 Meeting," quoting remarks of Professor Nobumasa Akiyama at a press conference who attended the third session of the International Group of Eminent Persons. The conference, in which members from both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, including China and Russia, will discuss and make recommendations for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2026, with the aim of finding a landing place where each country can cooperate in a situation of growing concern about the use of nuclear weapons. Professor Akiyama commented as follows "There is a consensus that 'Nagasaki should be the last place to be bombed. It is important to reaffirm our commitment to the risks of nuclear weapons.
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