On The East and Northeast Asian Communities


by Dr. Ali M El-Agraa

Professor of International Economics

International Economic Integration and EU Studies

Faculty of Commerce, Fukuoka University

Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka, Japan


 While president of Korea, the late Roh Moon-hyun called for the creation of a ‘community’ of Northeast Asian nations, built in close parallel by most of the countries involved in the Six-Party Talks, with its main objective being the fostering of peace and prosperity in the region. He ruled out a ‘preferential trade agreement’ (PTA) as the basis for his community since it would obviously be insufficient for the purpose. The incumbent Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is actively promoting the formation of an East Asian Community. This paper shows the close similarity between the two communities and identifies impediments that have been the cause of friction in the region since their removal is fundamental to the creation of such communities and finds that that they will be around for a very long time. This suggests that the best that can be hoped for is a PTA which makes one wonder why a community is needed, rather than the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 that are presently in the making. Of course, the ‘vision’ is admirable and should be desired by the whole world, not just the parties directly involved, since peace is of the essence.


Key words: East and Northeast Asia, Six-Party Talks, China-Korea-Japan relations, the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Union


I am extremely grateful to Professors Dr David G Mayes (Director, the European Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Dr Amy Verdun (Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of Victoria, Canada) for helpful comments and suggestions on a much earlier draft of the paper.


Dr Ali M El-Agraa is Professor of International Economics, International Economic Integration and EU Studies, Faculty of Commerce, Fukuoka University, Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan. Tel: 81-92-871-6631, Fax: 81-92-864-2938, E-mail: elagraa@fukuoka-u.ac.jp http://www.comm.fukuoka-u.ac.jp/ali/index.html





Before becoming Japan’s prime minister on 16 September 2009, after his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) dethroned the seemingly everlasting Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)[1], Yukio Hatoyama published a paper in which he called for the creation of an East Asian Community (EAC)[2]. He has since then made it a centrepiece of his coalition government, advertising it in all the major international political fora that he has attended, both with individual leaders of concerned nations and generally[3]. The idea is now hot news everywhere, especially in the United States (US), where it is perceived to be aimed at undermining the US-Japan relationship in particular and the US hegemony and its policy towards Asia in general, mainly due to Hatoyama’s declaration during the elections that he intends to seek an ‘equal partnership’ with the US and to his not being able to reach agreement with US President Barak Obama on the relocation of the US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa during his visit to Tokyo on 13-14 November 2009.


The aim of this paper is not only to explain the nature of the proposed EAC as envisaged by Hatoyama but also to show that he is not the first incumbent Asian leader to seriously initiate it[4]. Indeed, the late President of South Korea (Korea) Roh Moo-hyun set out in 2007 a clear argument for a close equivalent, the Northeast Asian Community (NEAC)[5]. He also had the NEAC as one of his twelve policy goals in his party’s manifesto for 2002, and so too did Hatoyama’s own DPJ in its 2005 manifesto at the time when the party president was Katsuya Okada, now Japan’s Foreign Minister. All of which suggests that the idea is not a flash in the pan; hence merits serious analysis and discussion.


The statements in both the mentioned manifestos however contain no precise details[6] so I shall let them nest in the footnote. Thus the first section of the paper is devoted to Hatoyama’s EAC and the following to Roh Moo-hyun’s NEAC. After showing that the two communities are not that different and that the NEAC is better articulated, the paper then very briefly considers the relevance of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) that founded today’s European Union (EU) since both Hatoyama and Roh have clearly indicated (below) that it has been the source of their inspiration and role model in this respect. The paper then considers some sensitive issues that are proving to be stumbling blocks for cooperation in the region and finishes by setting out its main conclusions.


Hatoyama’s EAC


The rationale

In his original paper, Hatoyama states that his rationale for an EAC stems from his basic stance that in today’s world, ‘we must return to the idea of fraternity – as in the French slogan “liberté, égalité, fraternité” – as a force for moderating the danger inherent within freedom’[7]. He is rather vague on fraternity here[8], but has tried to clarify it in both his address to the United Nations (UN) on 24 September 2009[9] and his lecture on 15 November 2009 after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)[10] forum meeting in Singapore:

The concept behind my initiative for an [EAC] stems from the philosophy of “yu-ai[[11]] [which] I…cherish…“yu-ai” is typically translated as "fraternity"…[within which] people respect the freedom and human dignity of others just as they respect their own…[i.e.], “yu-ai” means not only the independence of people but also their coexistence (Hatoyama, 2009c).

In the original paper, he adds that fraternity ‘can be described as a principle that aims to adjust to the excesses of the current globalized brand of capitalism and accommodate the local economic practices that have been fostered through our traditions’. Citing the problems that have arisen from the perception of the US model as the best, particularly those pertaining to the present financial crisis, he insists that the responsibility of politicians should be ‘to focus...attention on those non-economic values that have been thrown aside by the march of globalism’. He stresses that politicians ‘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’. More to the point, he emphasises that fraternity is also behind the proposal for an EAC, although he is quick to add that the Japan-US security arrangement ‘will continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy’, but that simultaneously ‘we must not forget our identity as a nation located in Asia’. He believes ‘that the East Asian region, which is showing increasing vitality, must be recognized as Japan’s basic sphere of being. So we must continue to build frameworks for stable economic cooperation and security across the region’.

     He then tries to be specific:

The financial crisis has suggested...that the era of [US] unilateralism may come to an end…[and] raised doubts about the permanence of the dollar as the key global currency. I also feel that as a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of [US]-led globalism is coming to an end and that we are moving toward an era of multipolarity. But at present no one country is ready to replace the [US] as the dominant country. Nor is there a currency ready to replace the dollar as the world’s key currency. Although the influence of the [US] is declining, it will remain the world’s leading military and economic power for the next two to three decades…[Moreover, ongoing] developments show clearly that [the People’s Republic of China (China)] will become one of the world’s leading economic nations while also continuing to expand its military power. The size of China’s economy will surpass that of Japan in the not-too-distant future (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 2).

He then poses the question: ‘How should Japan maintain its political and economic independence and protect its national interest when caught between the [US], which is fighting to retain its position as the world’s dominant power, and China, which is seeking ways to become dominant?’ He believes that this is a question that concerns not only Japan but also the small and medium-sized Asian nations because:

They want the military power of the [US] to function effectively for the stability of the region but want to restrain [US] political and economic excesses. They also want to reduce the military threat posed by our neighbour China while ensuring that China’s expanding economy develops in an orderly fashion. These are major factors accelerating regional integration (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 2).

No wonder the US is up in arms (above): despite claims to the contrary[12], the US is being told to prepare for its future decline, if not its utter demise, which may be true but hurts.

      Hatoyama then elaborates on the EAC proposal:

Unlike Europe, the countries of this region differ in size, development stage and political system, so economic integration cannot be achieved over the short term. However, we should nonetheless aspire to move toward regional currency integration as a natural extension of the rapid economic growth begun by Japan, followed by South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and then achieved by the [ten member nations of the] Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN[13]) and China. We must spare no effort to build the permanent security frameworks essential to underpinning currency integration...Establishing a common Asian currency will likely take more than 10 years...[and for]... such a single currency to bring about political integration [it] will surely take longer still (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 2; italics added).

      He adds that:

ASEAN, Japan, China (including Hong Kong),…Korea and Taiwan now account for one quarter of the world’s [GDP]. The economic power of the East Asian region and the interdependent relationships within the region have grown wider and deeper. So the structures required for the formation of a regional economic bloc are already in place (Hatoyama, 2009a, pp. 2-3).

      But he is quick to issue a warning which also happens to offer support for an EAC:

On the other hand, due to historical and cultural conflicts as well as conflicting national security interests, we must recognize that there are numerous difficult political issues. The problems of increased militarization and territorial disputes cannot be resolved by bilateral negotiations between, for example, Japan and South Korea, or Japan and China. The more these problems are discussed bilaterally, the greater the risk that emotions become inflamed and nationalism intensified (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 3; italics added).

      He then highlights his enthusiasm for an EAC by adding that:

Therefore, I would suggest, somewhat paradoxically, that the issues that stand in the way of regional integration can only be truly resolved by moving toward greater integration. The experience of the [EU] shows us how regional integration can defuse territorial disputes (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 3; italics added).

      He elaborates on the EU experience in his Singapore address:

Europe had the disastrous experience of two world wars. But Germany and France, once bitter foes, have increased their cooperation dramatically. This started with the establishment of a common market for coal and steel production. Then, through further exchanges among people, they succeeded in establishing a de facto community. Now, wars against one another are unimaginable. These efforts were initially centered on Germany and France. But, they continued through twists and turns over the years, and they finally resulted in the creation of the [EU]. The central idea of my [EAC] initiative is based upon reconciliation and cooperation in Europe (Hatoyama, 2009c; italics added).

      In the original article, he then expresses the moral behind the EAC story:

I believe that regional integration and collective security is the path we should follow toward realizing the principles of pacifism and multilateral cooperation advocated by the Japanese Constitution. It is also the appropriate path for protecting Japan’s political and economic independence and pursuing our interests in our position between the [US] and China (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 3).

      He rounds off the article by returning to the EU:

Let me conclude by quoting the words of Count [Richard] Coudenhove-Kalergi, founder of the first popular movement for a united Europe, written 85 years ago in “Pan-Europa” (my grandfather, Ichiro Hatoyama, translated his book, “The Totalitarian State Against Man,” into Japanese): “All great historical ideas started as a utopian dream and ended with reality. Whether a particular idea remains…a utopian dream or becomes a reality [would depend] on the number of people who believe in the ideal and their ability to act upon it” (Hatoyama, 2009a, p. 3).

      What is intriguing is that Hatoyama does not remind his fellow citizens of the fact that the Count’s mother was Japanese[14]. Remind them, because it is due to that affinity that the Count has been written a lot about in Japanese, with several Japanese television programmes based on these writings devoted to him. An explanation for why he has not done so would require an article of its own, but a generous gesture would be to state that he simply missed the opportunity to point out that the fraternity with Europe has much deeper roots for the Japanese.


What’s gone amiss?

     It should be clear from the above that Hatoyama’s EAC does not offer concrete guidelines on a number of pertinent critical issues. First, he is not specific on its exact nature. In his Singapore speech[15], he suggests that it would be based on ‘open regional cooperation’, which would lead to ‘a multi-layered network of functional communities’; hence it is not a single community! For cooperation he chooses anti-piracy patrols, disaster management, nuclear non-proliferation, social security and urban problems, and adds that there may also be ‘an opportunity…to discuss possible political cooperation in the future’ when he has already stated that that may follow after the single currency (above). Also, nations that had the intention and ability to cooperate in any of the mentioned fields would first take part in that cooperative effort: ‘[i]t may be possible that countries with the will and the capabilities to cooperate in a particular field may choose to participate in projects initially, and as their efforts bear fruit, other countries could join later’[16]. But this implies that some countries may join only one aspect of it and stay there for good if unable to go further or take a very long time before adopting all facets of the community. In other words, this suggests that different member nations may belong in different ways, resulting in a club with various facets and different affiliations. All of which reinforces the lack of a single community. Maybe because he realises this contradiction that he tries to clarify the situation in his UN speech:

I look forward to an [EAC] taking shape as an extension of the accumulated cooperation built up step by step among partners who have the capacity to work together, starting with fields in which we can cooperate – [FTAs], finance, currency, energy, environment, disaster relief and more. Of course, Rome was not built in a day, so let us seek to move forward steadily on this, even if at a moderate pace (Hatoyama, 2009b).

This indicates that the totality of the member nations would commit simultaneously to the areas agreed at the outset, then progress in a dynamic fashion to include the rest, which would be consistent with a single community that evolves incrementally. But then he returns to confuse when he refers to ‘open regionalism’ in his Singapore speech[17], which should come as no surprise at the end of the APEC summit: APEC has always claimed that it stands for open regionalism, one meaning of which is extending all member nations’ privileges to non-members[18]. If that were the case, why ask for a ‘community’: all that would be needed is to simply promote ‘global’, not regional cooperation.

Second, and as is clear from the above quotation, it does not indicate how long it would take to become a reality. This compounds the previous point leading to an EAC which is open-ended both in terms of its nature and transition period to reality.

Third, it is not categorical on how precisely it relates to the EU experience. It mentions the historical background, the desire for eternal peace and the single currency, but does not depict these within the overall nature of club EU. Since a whole section is devoted to this, I shall return to this point there. However, with regard to the previous point, the EU set a transition period of twelve years, divided into three 4-year stages, for it to achieve its original 1957 aims, and beat the tariffs deadlines by eighteen months[19], but as just mentioned Hatoyama has no such clear vision.

Fourth, it is not specific on which particular countries it should comprise. Indeed, pressed on this point at the end of the meeting of the leaders of the countries of the Mekong (Burma – read MyanmarCambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, i.e. five of the ten ASEAN nations), held in Tokyo on 6-7 November 2009, he responded thus:

I stated earlier my belief that the Mekong region holds the key to the realisation of the [EAC] initiative…Disparities remain large in the region in an economic sense, and as the countries in the region overcome these differences, their sense of belonging to a community will be strengthened. Also, I believe a sense of mutual trust will increase by undergoing that process. Now, I am not in a position at this stage to say which countries should be part of, or not part of, the [EAC], but I would like to reiterate that within ASEAN, the Mekong region is indeed a very important one that holds the key to my [EAC] (italics added)[20].

As mentioned above, in his original paper[21], Hatoyama refers to ASEAN, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Korea and Taiwan (above), but his statement at the Mekong summit meeting suggests that not all ASEAN member nations would be included. If some ASEAN nations may not qualify, the same problem would naturally arise with regard to the now being negotiated ASEAN+3, the three being China, Korea and Japan. This would be even more so with the proposed ASEAN+6, the extra 3 being Australia, India and New Zealand, which is effectively the so-called ‘East Asian Summit’, now more or less in the making. That being so, it follows that one should altogether forget about the nations of the APEC forum.

Also, and vitally, considering that China will not enter into any negotiations that suggest that Taiwan is not part of it (and that Hong Kong is already integral to it through the one-nation-two-systems set up, but Hatoyama owns up to this), then China would rule itself out from the start; indeed, all indications suggest that China intends to be the leader in this and other respects and is setting its agenda accordingly[22]. Yet China lies at the very heart of Hatoyama’s EAC! And, since common security is of major concern, why is there no mention of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)?  The mind boggles.

      I shall return to some of these important considerations later in the paper but what is significant is that some of these issues have already been coherently addressed by the late President of Korea Roh Moo-hyun in 2007, directly in the manner that Hatoyama has set out in his EAC paper and speeches. It is intriguing that Hatoyama has chosen not to point this out, especially when it lends support to his dream; speculating on this would require a paper of its own, but I shall consider make a brief statement below.


Roh Moo-hyun’s NEAC


The rationale

    In 2007, the late Roh Moo-hyun, while still President of Korea, inspired by the driving forces behind the foundation of today’s EU, i.e. those that led to the Treaty of Paris (1951), creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which started operating on 1 January 1952, proposed the formation of a NEAC. Although both the idea itself and what the NEAC can learn from the EU experiences have since then been seriously debated in the political, business and academic circles, not much attention was drawn to it by politicians, especially when Roh Moon-hyun so soon left office and sadly committed suicide on 23 May 2009. The culprit could of course be his emphasis on the ‘northeast’, but the point just raised about Hatoyama not being categorical about which countries should be members clearly indicates that the east/northeast divide is a very thin one indeed, hence should be ignored, but I shall substantiate this in what follows.


    In airing the NEAC idea, Roh Moo-hyun[23] is very categorical:

Upon my inauguration in February 2003, I laid out three major national policy goals: Establishment of participatory democracy, balanced development of society, and the opening of a new era for a peaceful and prosperous Northeast Asia. This third objective has served as the backbone of my government’s foreign policy – an attempt to build a Northeast Asian community through a new regional order of cooperation and integration that transcends old antagonisms and conflicts among countries in this region. I believe this policy is vital in ensuring our survival and enhancing our prosperity (Roh 2007, p.1; italics added).

     He adds that:

For the past four years, I have proposed multilateral security cooperation, as well as regional economic, cultural, and social cooperation to realize the vision of a peaceful Northeast Asia. Unfortunately, several factors have impeded such efforts…, the North Korean nuclear issue being the biggest stumbling block. Tensions stemming from some historical issues among some countries in the region also serve as a major obstacle (Roh 2007, p.1; italics added).

     He then draws lessons from Europe that led to the creation of today’s EU:

Modern history of Europe is most noted for its wars – one may even describe early modern European history as a history of war. Over hundreds of years leading up to the 19th century, Europe endured numerous armed conflicts culminating in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century. The underlying force at work was destructive nationalism, which spawned mutual distrust and confrontation, leading to an incessant series of wars…But in recent decades, the Europeans, befitting of a people who invented democracy based on rational thought, are writing a new history based on the lessons learned from their long string of wars. They are creating a new history of peace and coexistence, proving that they are capable of reflecting on their past and re-imagining their future (Roh 2007, p.2; italics added).


To foster the creation of his regional community of peace and prosperity, he lays four pillars for its foundation:


The first is a new regional order for economic cooperation and integration. Although economic interdependence among Korea, China and Japan has intensified in recent years, the countries have not been able to institutionalize economic integration, even in the most rudimentary form, namely, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Cooperation and integration should be further institutionalized in order to maximize the economic potential of the region while mitigating the uncertainties arising from growing competition in the region, as well as to promote a more harmonious regional division of [labour]. In this regard, multifaceted cooperation in such areas as foreign exchange and finance, free trade, energy, transportation and distribution of goods, and the environment is essential for the integration of markets and institutions in the region.


The second is the forging of ‘a regime for multilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe…, which helped bring down the Cold War wall of distrust and laid the foundation for an integrated Europe, provides a valuable lesson for multilateral security cooperation in this region. While it may not be easy to apply the European experience to Northeast Asia, given contextual differences, what is most important for the region in undertaking this initiative is the leadership to present a shared long-term vision to establish a multilateral security cooperation regime and the political will to realize that vision. Such an arrangement in this region need to be founded on mutual trust and respect, and in complementarity with existing security mechanisms. Recent breakthroughs in the Six-Party Talks have profoundly heightened prospects for Northeast Asia’s multilateral security cooperation. The September 19 Joint Statement, adopted in Beijing in 2005, linked the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue to the establishment of a peace regime in Korea and multilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia. More recently, the February 13 Agreement at the Six-Party Talks this year, which set forth initial actions to implement the September agreement, has activated a working group on a “Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism.” I believe these efforts will contribute not only to resolving the North Korean nuclear problem, but also to laying the foundation of peace and security in Northeast Asia. In the future, the Six-Party Talks should evolve into a Six Party Foreign Ministers Talks, and at a separate forum, the directly involved parties should convene to discuss the permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula’.


The third is the underscoring of the ‘role of the [US]…in creating a Northeast Asian peace and security mechanism. To build a thriving regional mechanism, a sense of belonging shared by its prospective members is just as important as geographical proximity. The [US] has historically had wide-ranging interests in Northeast Asia and a strong feeling of attachment to the region. The participation by the [US] as a key player in charting the order and structure of multilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia, therefore, will greatly contribute to enhancing stability and prosperity’.


The fourth is the ‘need to confront the past and build a common ground of historical understanding. Germany thoroughly reflected on its past after World War II, and has helped heal the long-festering wounds of European history. This process laid a psychological foundation for European integration. It also produced a tangible outcome, exemplified by Germany’s initiative in co-authoring history textbooks with France and Poland that have contributed immensely to instilling in the next generation an accurate and common historical perspective. Germany’s actions also represent a strong bulwark against divisive chapters of history that might otherwise stand in the way of progress toward a united future. The European experience suggests that we could benefit from such joint history research projects among scholars in this region. Common history curricula, as well as history textbooks, could be instrumental in helping Northeast Asia to move beyond their respective national identities to a common identity for Northeast Asia…Just as Europeans have done, the countries of Northeast Asia should become partners in resolving their differences and eliminating threats to their common future in pursuit of a new order of cooperation and integration’ (Roh 2007, p6.3/4; italics added).


 Serious considerations


Note from the above that Roh Moo-hyun specifies as member nations only China, Korea and Japan and, by implication, the DPRK, although he adds the US as a necessary overseer. Yet he wants his NEAC to parallel the ‘Six-Party Talks’[24] which raises the question of why Russia is left out. It is therefore not surprising when Lyou, Zongze, Schmitter and Kim, and others have included the DPRK, specifically, as well Far East Russia and Mongolia[25]. Assuming that membership comprises all of these countries, including the US[26], geographically speaking, the NEAC makes perfect sense despite the Pacific divide; after all, Roh Moo-hyun believes that proximity is not of the essence (above)[27]. However, in terms of ‘regional integration’, which is strictly about country associations (below) but is only one element of the NEAC, two serious questions arise: why leave out Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan when they are ‘integral’ parts of China (above); and how can Far East Russia be split from Russia? Rationalising the NEAC, as Roh Moo-hyun largely does, on the basis that its membership is meant to duplicate that of those engaged in the Six-Party Talks, hence to extend support to this evolving and seemingly successful security-promoting arrangement, would obviously be puzzling since the US is not mentioned as a fully-fledged member although ushering in Mongolia would be fairly rational. Note that since peace and security are uppermost in Roh Moo-hyun’s mind, then the splitting of Russia would be in direct contradiction to that; indeed, those advocating the split can only be thinking of purely economic considerations since Far East Russia is vital mainly because of its endowment with vast supplies of oil and gas[28]. Hence a serious consideration of NEAC membership necessitates the raising of moot questions! But what is of particular importance is that this shows that the differences between Roh Moon-hyun’s own specification and Hatoyama’s regarding which countries should belong to their communities are minimal. I must however emphasise that on the whole, Roh Moon-hyun’s rationale for the NEAC seems well articulated while Hatoyama’s for an EAC appears to be not only less so, but is also in a state of flux since it is changing every time he utters something on it.


What do the NEAC and EAC have in common?


 Before addressing the question of what the proposed communities can learn from the ECSC experience, it is important to highlight what the EAC and NEAC have in common. They both want to involve some of the countries participating in the Six-Party Talks, but with the US seen mainly as a security provider/overseer. They both ask for the formation of regional integration schemes, but with the NEAC discarding a mere FTA or PTA for being below what is minimally needed while the EAC deems them as ‘effective ways to promote…economic ties in the region under a common set of rules’[29]; hence the differences here are about the starting point so are a matter of degree. They both seek wider cooperation in a number of areas ranging from the economic to the social, military and environmental, with the EAC being categorical on a common currency, but the NEAC does not rule it out. And they both want to see an end to their historical grievances but are not fully agreed on every item (last section). In other words, they have more in common than meets the eye. Indeed, one can claim that Hatoyama has borrowed extensively from Roh Moon-hyun, but the reason for not mentioning this is a mystery that would require an article of its own to try to settle it. Hence one can proceed on the understanding they can be treated as close kin.


Learning from the ECSC experience


Having established the close similarity of the NEAC and EAC, I am now in a position to deal with the question of what they can learn from the ECSC experience; obviously not of the entire EU experience since that would require a paper on its own right, and I have indeed done so[30]. The ECSC has however been discussed a lot, so I shall be brief[31]. But before doing so I must point to an irony: the creation of the ECSC by the Treaty of Paris in 1951 actually marked the parting of ways in post-war Western Europe since it was undertaken without the British (below) and Scandinavians, with the former, although back in the fold, is still seen as the black sheep of the family!


The immediate factor in the development of the ECSC was the revival of the West German economy. The passage of time, the efforts of the German people and the aid made available by the US through the Marshall Plan all contributed to this recovery. Indeed, the West German economic miracle was then about to unfold. It was recognized that the German economy would have to be allowed to regain its position in the world, and that the Allied control of coal and steel under the International Ruhr Authority could not last indefinitely. The fundamental question was how the German economy in the sectors of iron, coal and steel, being the basic materials of a war effort, could be allowed to regain its former powerful position without endangering the future peace of Europe. The answer was a French plan, elaborated by the now almost household name, Jean Monnet, a French businessman turned adviser, but put forward by Robert Schuman, French minister of foreign affairs, in May 1950. The Schuman Plan was essentially political in character. It was brilliant since it sought to end the historic rivalry of France and Germany by making a war between the two nations not only unthinkable but also materially impossible. This was to be achieved in a manner which ultimately would have the result of bringing about that European federation which was believed to be indispensable to peace. The answer was not to nationalize or indeed to internationalize the ownership of the means of production in coal, iron and steel, but to create, by the removal of customs duties, import quota restrictions and similar impediments on trade and factors of production, a CM in these products. Every participating nation in such a common market would have equal access to the output of these industries wherever they might be located, and, to reinforce this, discrimination on the grounds of nationality was to be forbidden.


The plan had a number of attractive features. First, it provided an excellent basis for solving the ‘Saar problem’: the handing back of the Saar region to West Germany was more likely to be acceptable to the French if Germany was firmly locked in such a coal and steel community. Second, the plan was extremely attractive to Germany since membership of the community was a passport to international respectability; it was the best way of speeding up the end of occupation and avoiding the imposition of dampers on the expansion of the German economy. Third, the plan was also attractive to the federalists who had found the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) far short of their aspirations for the Council of Europe (its unanimity rule and that no powers could be delegated to an independent commission or Commissariat were extremely frustrating for them), and, in any case, the prospects for the OEEC were not very good since by 1952 the four-year period of the Marshall Plan would be over, and the UK attitude was that thereafter the OEEC budget should be cut and some of its functions passed over to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).


As it turned out, the ECSC was much more to the federalists’ taste. That is because its executive body, the High Authority, was given substantial direct powers which could be exercised without the prior approval of the Council of Ministers, the ECSC’s second institution; it also had a Parliamentary Assembly and a Court of Justice.


The plan received favourable responses from the Six (the BENELUX nations – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, who had agreed in 1944 to create a customs union, but which became effective in 1948 – France, Italy and West Germany). The UK was invited to join but refused. Clement Attlee, British Prime Minister at the time, told the House of Commons that his government was not prepared to accept that the most vital economic forces of the UK should be handed over to ‘an authority that is utterly undemocratic and is responsible to nobody’.  The Six were however not to be deterred, and on 18 April 1951 the Treaty of Paris, valid for fifty years, was signed. The ECSC was born and it embarked on an experiment in limited economic integration (since iron, coal and steel were but a sector of the economy, albeit a substantial one then, hence Attlee’s vehement utterance) on 1 January 1952.


At least three points about the ECSC are of direct vital relevance to the EAC and NEAC. The first is that it was run by the High Authority which acted independently of the governments of the member nations. In other words, the High Authority was a truly supra-national institution. Given the experience in East and Northeast Asia is it likely in the foreseeable future that a similar institution can be created? I believe that most serious analysts would respond in the negative. The second is that it is simply misguided to try to justify either community on the grounds that the extent of trade between the countries concerned today matches that of intra-Six trade in coal, iron and steel as a proportion of total trade then[32]. This is because in the case of the ECSC not only the location and ownership of production, but also the free movement of labour were of the essence when coal, iron and steel loomed large as the driving locomotive of the economy; hence the devastating wars. But, in the case of China, it is not even possible for Chinese citizens to move freely from one city to another and China, Japan, Korea do not want to have foreign workers in their midst, when especially Japan is in dire need for them to shore up its pensions system[33]. And, more to the point is the fact that the ECSC marked the beginning of European integration, but today the EU is a vastly different animal; it is therefore of the essence to go past the ECSC.


Moreover, if an ECSC-like association is out of research, how feasible would be the attainment of higher levels of integration, leading to a full community? Even without a full community, the establishment of a single currency would require the creation of single central bank, as is the case in the EU, which would issue it, control the interest rate for the entire membership and be in charge of their foreign exchange reserves, i.e. another supra-national institution would be needed[34]. And what are the prospects for resolving those ‘sensitive’ issues that both Roh and Hatoyama have mentioned but not specified?   I believe it is vital to state something on these before concluding the paper.


Some Sensitive Issues


Due to space limitations, I will consider only four: the Nanking massacre, the official visits by Japanese prime ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine, the DPRK abductions and ‘Comfort Women’. I leave out the vital issue of history texts since it is too obvious to warrant discussion: if the nations under consideration cannot come to terms on what should be included and how, there is no hope whatsoever for the creation of a true community.


The Nanking Massacre


Disputes between China and Japan over the nature and significance of the Nanking Massacre have been a stumbling block to a true normalization of political relations between the two nations. Indeed, without settling this issue, one cannot rest assured that even normal relations between the two countries will ever be on good terms.

The Nanking Massacre, commonly known as the Rape of Nanking, was an infamous war crime committed by the Japanese military in Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, after it fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on 13 December 1937. The duration of the massacre is not clearly defined, although it is claimed that the violence lasted until early February 1938. During the occupation of Nanking, the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities, such as rape, looting, arson and the execution of prisoners of war and civilians. Although the executions began under the pretext of eliminating Chinese soldiers disguised as civilians, it is claimed that a large number of innocent men were intentionally misidentified as enemy combatants and executed as the massacre gathered momentum. A large number of women and children were also killed, as rape and murder became more widespread. According to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East,[35] estimates made at a later date indicate that the total number of civilians and prisoners of war murdered in Nanking and its vicinity during the first six weeks of the Japanese occupation was in excess of 200,000. That these estimates are not exaggerated is borne out by the fact that burial societies and other organizations counted more than 155,000 buried bodies.[36] Most were bound with their hands tied behind their backs. These figures do not take into account those persons whose bodies were destroyed by burning, by throwing them into the Yangtze River, or otherwise disposed of by the Japanese.

The extent of the atrocities is debated between China and Japan, with numbers ranging from some Japanese claims of several hundred, to Chinese claims of a non-combatant death toll of 300,000.[37] Several Japanese researchers consider 100,000–200,000 to be an approximate figure. Other nations usually believe the death toll to be between 150,000 and 300,000. The casualty count of 300,000 was first promulgated in January 1938 by Harold Timperley,[38] a journalist in China during the Japanese invasion, based on reports from contemporary eyewitnesses. Other sources, including Chang (1997), also conclude that the death toll reached 300,000. In December 2007, newly declassified US government documents[39] revealed an additional toll of about 500,000, found in the area surrounding Nanking just before its occupation. In addition to the number of victims, some Japanese nationalists have even disputed that the atrocity ever happened.[40] While the Japanese government has acknowledged the incident did occur,[41] some Japanese nationalists have argued, partly using the Imperial Japanese Army's claims at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East[42], that the death toll was military in nature and that no such civilian atrocities ever occurred.[43] This claim has been criticised by various figures, citing statements of non-Chinese at the Tribunal, other eyewitnesses and by photographic and archaeological evidence that civilian deaths did occur.

Condemnation of the massacre is a major focal point of Chinese nationalism. In Japan, however, public opinion over the severity of the massacre remains widely divided; this is evidenced by the fact that whereas some Japanese commentators refer to it as the 'Nanking massacre' , (Nankin daigyakusatsu), others use the more ambivalent term 'Nanking Incident' , (Nankin jiken). However, this term can also refer to a separate Nanjing Incident that occurred during the 1927 Nationalist seizure of the city as a part of the Northern Expedition, in which foreigners in the city were attacked. The 1937 massacre and the extent of its coverage in Japanese school textbooks continue to be a point of contention and controversy in Sino-Japanese relations; these textbooks have to be approved by the Ministry of Education, so they reflect the government’s policy stance, hence the dispute with China.


Visits to the Yasukuni Shrine


Strong feelings by both China and Korea over official visits by Japanese prime ministers to the Yasukuni shrine, which honours both those who died fighting for Japan as well as  war-time prime minister Hideki Tojo and Class-A war criminals.[44] Since this is a real stumbling block in the efforts to normalise relations, a few words may be in order, but it should stated here that Hatoyama has publicly declared that he will not visit as such.


Yasukuni shrine is a ‘Shinto’ shrine located in Tokyo that commemorates Japan's war dead. The shrine was founded in 1869 as Tokyo Shokonsha, and was renamed Yasukuni Shrine in 1879. It was built in order to commemorate and worship those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives to help build the foundations for a peaceful Japan; the meaning of Yasukuni is ‘peaceful country’. The deities of about two and a half million people who died for Japan in the conflicts accompanying the ‘Meiji Restoration’, the Satsuma Rebellion and similar domestic conflicts, the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, the ‘Manchurian Incident’, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War are enshrined there in the form of written records, which note everyone’s name, origin and date and place of death. The Yushukan, a museum commemorating Japan's wars, is located just next to the shrine's main buildings.

The political controversy surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine is due to the above mentioned fact that since 1978, fourteen class-A war criminals are among the 2.5 million people enshrined there. Because of this, the ‘official’ visits by several Japanese prime ministers to the shrine since 1975 have been causing concerns regarding a violation of the principle of separation of church and state. For some people, especially in the Asian countries which suffered most under past Japanese imperialism, mainly China and Korea, the shrine has become a symbol for Japanese militarism and ultra-nationalism, and many are taking the official prime ministers' visits as a sign that Japan's political leaders are not looking critically enough at their country's history. This is especially so when the visits take place just after a prime minister has apologized for the suffering caused by Japan on its Asian neighbours!

Attempts to remove the war criminals from the Yasukuni Shrine have failed due to the shrine's refusal. Other discussions to solve the problem centre around plans to create a currently non-existent alternative to the Yasukuni shrine for commemorating and worshipping Japan's war dead, but Japanese prime minister Taro Aso was known to favour the building of a separate facility for the war-dead.


The abductions


Although the number of the abductees is in dispute, in the case of Japan, the DPRK, on 17 September 2002 during a visit by then Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, officially admitted to thirteen of the sixteen claimed by Japan; a possible seventeenth, concerning Kyoko Matsumoto, has been under evaluation for official recognition since November 2006. Following that meeting, five abductees were returned to Japan, including Hitomi Soga, and later her two children and husband (a US citizen who deflected to the DKPR while with the forces in Korea). 

Most of the abductees were in their twenties, although the youngest, Megumi Yokota, was 13 when she disappeared in November 1977 from the Japanese west coast city of Niigata. The DPRK claims that she committed suicide on 13 March 1994, but her remains did not meet the Japanese DNA test. It is believed that the victims were abducted to teach the Japanese language and culture at DPRK spy schools. Older victims were also abducted to obtain their identities, but these abductees are believed to have been killed immediately. It is also speculated that Japanese women were abducted to become wives to a group of DPRK-based Japanese terrorists after a 1970 Japan Airlines hijacking, and that some may have been abducted because they happened to witness DPRK agents in Japan, which may explain Yokota's kidnapping.

For a long time, these abductions were denied by the DPRK and were often considered a conspiracy theory. Despite pressure by Japanese parent groups, the Japanese government itself took no action because the now-defunct Socialist Party of Japan, which had maintained close ties with the DPRK, vehemently denied the abductions.[45] There are also claims that this issue is now being used by Japanese nationalists, including former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to further militarization, push for revision of the Constitution in order to allow Japan to have an army, revise the Basic Education Law and forward other political goals. However, there are also counterclaims: Kyoko Nakayama, Tokyo Special adviser to the Japanese prime minister on abductions, stressed that the issue is about rescuing Japanese citizens from ongoing abduction, who deserve all possible support to regain their freedom and dignity, and it is the Japanese government’s ‘duty to retrieve them’.

The Comfort Women


‘Comfort Women’ is a euphemism for women forced into prostitution and sexual slavery for Japanese military brothels during World War II. Young women from countries under Japanese imperial domination were reportedly abducted from their homes against their will. In some cases, women were also recruited with offers to work in the military. It has been documented that the Japanese military itself recruited women by force. Many military brothels were run by private agents and supervised by the Japanese Army. Some Japanese historians, using the testimony of ex-comfort women, have argued that the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy were either directly or indirectly involved in coercing, deceiving, luring, and sometimes kidnapping young women throughout Japan's Asian colonies and occupied territories. Historians and researchers have claimed that the majority were from Korea, China and Japan, but women from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Dutch East Indies, Indonesia, and other Japanese-occupied territories were also used in ‘comfort stations’. Such stations were located in Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, then Malaya, Thailand, then Burma, then New Guinea, Hong Kong, Macau, and what was then French Indochina. It is estimated that about 200,000 have been procured, but some Japanese scholars believe it to be 20,000 while some Chinese scholars raise it substantially to 410,000.

The disagreement about the exact numbers is still continuing, leading to heated debates and encouraging further discord. The size and nature of sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II is still being actively debated because as the issue is still highly political in both Japan and Far East Asia, mainly due to Japan’s refusal to fully acknowledge the matter and pay appropriate compensations especially to those abductees who are still alive. There is extensive literature on the subject, but Hicks (1995), Himeta (1996) and Yoshimi (2000) provide excellent coverage.


These cases clearly show the deep rift that exists between the members of the proposed communities, especially between China, Japan and the Koreas. Between China and Japan stand the deep disagreements about the Nanking massacre and the official visits by Japanese prime ministers to the Yasukuni shrine, as well as the lack of a truly sincere apology by the Japanese government for the war, which colour their perception of war history. Between Japan and Korea, the visits to the Yasukuni shrine, the deletion of certain items from Japanese history textbooks and lack of a sincere Japanese government apology for the war do likewise. Between the DPRK and Japan due to the same considerations as in the case of Japan and Korea as well as the abductions. Note that despite the abhorrence of the abductions of the Japanese now in the news it should not be forgotten that after the end of World War II, Japan forced a number of Koreans to come to Japan to do the work that the Japanese no longer wanted to. These Koreans were brought to Japan against their will and without their families and are still not granted Japanese citizenship.


There are also disagreements between China, the DPRK and Korea; between Korea, China and the DPRK; and between the DPRK, China and Korea. These are however not as major stumbling blocks to the creation of the NEAC as are those between them and Japan. What is a real problem is that Japan is the only country facing serious problems with the other three and one cannot envisage a resolution of the disputes causing them within the foreseeable future.


What is of vital importance however is that all these cases are interconnected since they all emanate from Japan’s adventures in Asia. The resentments surrounding them will never be resolved by simply Japan offering sincere categorical apologies. This is because apologies would be followed by demands for appropriate compensation when Japan is adamant that all such matters were settled immediately after WWII was over. And if Japan were to change direction and so apologize, the number of those seeking compensation would become of the essence; hence the disputes surrounding the figures will never disappear as long as the economic factors entailed remain in the picture. Moreover, and most vitally, there are many Japanese who feel that Japan’s Asian adventures were no different from those carried out by the British and their ilk and that at the same time they were meant to liberate their fellow Asians from such doom. Unbelievable as all this may sound, there is a growing movement in Japan in support of this twist in events. It should be added however that if Hatoyama’s declaration regarding  the impossibility of resolving some issues bilaterally is meant to include these, then there would some hope for his community.




Several conclusions arise from the examination of the EAC and what it can learn from the ECSC. First, the EAC is not well articulated since Hatoyama does not offer concrete guidelines on a number of pertinent critical issues related to it. Indeed, his actions clearly indicate that he is in the process of figuring out what it means:  every time he utters something on the EAC it comes as a surprise. One day it is a ‘community’, i.e. a deeply involved association; the next day it is a cooperative effort in certain fields; and then it is ‘open regional cooperation’.  Also, he does not indicate how long it would take to become a reality except that ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and that a single currency may be possible after a decade. Moreover, he is not even specific on which particular countries it should comprise except that China, including Hong Kong and Korea must be in and that the US must continue to offer security for the region without being a member, with Taiwan never mentioned. Furthermore, he is not categorical on how precisely it relates to the EU experience. He mentions the historical background, the desire for eternal peace and the single currency, but does not depict these within the overall nature of club EU and how got to its present state.

Second, it does not bode well for the EAC when Hatoyama fails to acknowledge that the idea was not only fully articulated before him by the late President of Korea Roh Moon-hyun, but was also clearly set out in Roh’s election manifesto and made a major pillar of his government. If the failure is due to ignorance, then how can he expect to be taken seriously by China and Korea when they lie at the very heart of his community? If the omission is for his belief that his fellow citizens would be offended by such acknowledgement, due to unfavourable sentiment towards the Koreans, then that would be even worse. There is no hope for a ‘community, if its initiator cannot publicly demonstrate his confidence in the integrity of those he wants to entice into it.


Third, the drive for such communities is bound to be frustrated. This is because the impediments that have been the cause of friction in the region, the ‘sensitive issues’, the removal of which is fundamental to the creation of such communities will be around for a very long time. Given these impediments, the most that can be hoped for is a ‘preferential trade and investment arrangement’, precisely what Roh Moo-hyun ruled out for being minimal. Yet the experience with regional integration in this area shows that it has been difficult to go beyond that.  For example, ASEAN is still not a free trade area and the APEC forum is nowhere near there despite its vehement statements after each summit to commit to one. This leaves one wondering in this particular context why another arrangement is needed, rather than the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 that are presently in the making.


Thus there is very little that the EAC and NEAC can learn from the ECSC experience. The ECSC had a High Authority which was an independent institution, taking its decisions without reference to the governments of the member nations. In other words, it was a supra-national institution. Clearly, no such institution would be feasible in this region and for a very long time to come.


Fourth, China’s actions and public utterances have made it very clear that it aims to be the ‘leader’ in Asia and even beyond.  How does Hatoyama plan to entice it into his community under the circumstances? Arranging a hurried meeting between Japan’s Emperor and visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on 15 December 2009, although most welcome, will not do the trick: witness the resentment this has generated amongst Japanese politicians concerned with using the Emperor for party political purposes, especially when it is China that has asked for the meeting after the deadline of one-month noticed has elapsed.


Nevertheless, the proposed communities are admirable and should be desired by the whole world, not just the parties directly involved, so should receive our full and support.




1.      Chang, Iris (19917), The Rape of Nanking: the Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (Penguin Books).

2.      Democratic Party of Japan (2005), DPJ Manifesto for the 2005 House of Representatives Election: Nippon Sasshin: Toward a Change of Government, to be found at http://www.dpj.or.jp/english/policy/indexhtml

3.      El-Agraa, Ali M. (ed.) (1997), Economic Integration Worldwide (Macmillan: London; St. Martin’s Press: New York). 434 + xix. A major revision of the 1988 second edition of International Economic Integration.

4.      El-Agraa, Ali M.  (1999), Regional Integration: Experience, Theory and Measurement (Macmillan: London; Barnes & Noble: New York).  460 + xix. A major revision of The Theory and Measurement of International Economic Integration (1989).

5.      El-Agraa, Ali M. (ed.) (2007), The European Union:  Economics and Policies (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge and New York). Eighth edition of The Economics of the European Community, a major revision, including new chapters and new and changed contributors, of the seventh edition. 600 + xxiv; the first edition was published in 1980.

6.      El-Agraa, Ali M.  (forthcoming), “What can the East and Northeast Asian Communities learn from the EU?”

7.      Fukukawa, Shinji (2009), “East Asian Community primer”, The Japan Times, 2 December.

8.      Hata, Ikuhiko (1998), “The Nanking atrocities: fact and fable”, Japan Echo, vol. 25, no.4, and at: http://www.wellesley.edu/Polisci/wj/China/Nanjing/nanjing2.html

9.      Hatoyama, Yukio (2009a), “A new path for Japan”, The New York Times, Op-ed Contributor, 27 August to be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/opinion/27iht-edhatoyama.html, with the original Japanese version at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/opinion/27iht-edhatoyama.html

10.  Hatoyama, Yukio (2009b), “Address by H.E. Dr. Yukio Hatoyama,  Prime Minister of Japan, at the Sixty-fourth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations”, 24 September. Can be accessed at: http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/UN/asembly2009/pm0924-2.html.

11.  Hatoyama, Yukio (2009c), “Japan’s new commitments to Asia – towards the realization of an East Asian Community’, address delivered on 15 November 2009 in Singapore, following the conclusions of the APEC Leaders Summit. It can be found at http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/address0911.html

12.  Hicks, George (1995), The Comfort Women: Japan’s Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War (New York: W. W. Norton & Company).

13.  Himeta, Mitsuyoshi (1996), Nippon gun ni yoru ‘sankoo seisaku.sankoosakusen o megutte’ (Concerning the Three Alls Strategy/Three Alls Policy by the Japanese Forces, but not available in English) (Tokyo: Iwanami Bukkuretto).

14.  Hirano, Ko (2009), “China wary of Hatoyama’s ‘East Asian Community’”, The Japan Times, 3 October.

15.  Lipgens, Walter (1982), A History of European Integration, vol. 1 1945-1947 (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

16.  Lyou, Byung-Woon (2004), “Building the Northeast Asian Community”, Journal of Global Legal Studies, vo. 11, no.2, pp. 257-310.

17.  NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (1998) ‘I am sorry?’, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec98/china_12-1.html

18.  Ogoura, Kazuo (209), “Significance of East Asia”, The Japan Times, 30 October.

19.  Roh, Moon-hyun (2007) “On history, nationalism and a Northeast Asian Community”, Global Asia, April 16, posted in Japan Focus on 19 May 2007: http://japanfocus.org/products/topdf/2424 and can be found also in http://www.japanfocus.org/articles/print_article/2424

20.  Sahashi, Ryo (2009), Hatyoama’s new path and Washington’s anxiety’, East Asia forum, 6 September to be found at:


21.  Schmitter, Philippe C and Kim, Sunhyuk (2008), “Comparing processes of regional integration: European ‘Lessons’ and Northeast Asian reflections”, Current Politics and Economics of Asia, vol. 17, issue 1, pp. 11-58.

22.  Times Online, ‘Nationalists fight ‘lie’ of Rape of Nanking’, http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article1455529.ece

23.  Zongze, Ruan (2006), “China’s role in a northeast Asian Community”, Asian Perspective, vol. 30, no.3, pp. 149-157.

24.  Yoshimi, Yoshiaki (2000), Comfort Women, Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military during World War II: Asia Perspectives (New York: Columbia University Press).

[1] On 30 August 2009, DPJ transformed Japanese politics by dethroning the LDP, which, apart from nine months, had ruled Japan uninterruptedly and singlehandedly since the end of World War II (from 9 August 1993 to 28 April 1994, the coalition led by Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa was the first non-LDP government of Japan since 1955). It captured 308 of the 480 Lower House seats and with its prevailing majority in the Upper House, the less powerful of the two Diet chambers, its leader, Dr Yukio Hatoyama, had no match hence duly elected Prime Minister on 16 September 2009.

[2] Hatoyama (2009a).

[3] Hatoyama floated his EAC idea in a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in New York on 21 September 2009 before including it as one of the main pillars of his government in his address to the United Nations on the 24th (Hatoyama, 200b). It was also high on the agenda at the Second Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and Korea, held in Beijing on 10 October 2009 when Hatoyama met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Moreover, it was mentioned at the 15th ASEAN summit meeting, held in Cha-am Hua Hin in Thailand on 25 October 2009. He also talked about it in the meeting with the leaders of the countries of the Mekong region, held in Tokyo on 6-7 November 2009.  Furthermore, he addressed it after the APEC Economic Leaders meeting held in Singapore during 14-15 November 2009 when he delivered a lecture on the subject on 15 November (Hatoyama, 2009c).


[4] The promotion of voluntary regional cooperation in Asia has a longer history: it goes back to the 1979 Pacific Rim cooperation initiative by Japanese prime minister Masayoshi Ohira; see, inter alia, Fukukawa (2009).

[5] Roh Moo-hyun (2007).

[6] The Korean manifesto simply mentions the development of Korea into an economic hub of northeast Asia by pursuing inter-Korean economic exchange and cooperation, establishing a system of Northeast economic cooperation in, inter alia, railways, energy and finance and building infrastructure for a logistics and business hub. The DPJ manifesto is less vague, but is still far from being categorical: ‘We will build a peaceful and prosperous East-Asian Community’ (Democratic Party of Japan, 2005, p. 9). And it elaborates a bit: ‘We will strive to build a relationship of mutual cooperation and trust with other countries in Asia and promote the conclusion of FTAs and…EPAs, thereby strengthening ties and cooperation with each country and region of Asia not only in agricultural trade and other trade areas, but also in various fields such as the facilitation of cross-border mobility, energy, environment, education, public health, and crime-fighting. We will seek to make the creation of a non-combat zone in the region a common goal of the countries of Asia and we aspire to develop and expand such a zone to cover the whole Asia-Pacific region in the future…We will revamp the current compartmentalised bureaucracy in foreign and trade policy and promote economic cooperation with other Asian countries under strong political leadership (Democratic Party of Japan, 2005, p. 23, italics added).


[7] Hatoyama (2009a).

[8] In the original Japanese version of his paper, Hatoyama has this to say about fraternity: ‘Individuals have to solve what individuals can cope with. Families help individuals when solely individuals cannot. Regional communities and non-profit organizations help families when they cannot. If problems [cannot] be solved,…the public administration needs to be engaged. Basic municipalities have to undertake what they can solve. Region-wide municipalities have to undertake what basic municipalities cannot. Central government is in charge of what region-wide municipalities cannot undertake, such as diplomacy, national security, and macro-economic management. Also, as the next step, partial sovereignty, such as currency circulation control, can be transferred to international organizations, as [is] embodied in the EU (translated by Sahashi, 2009; italics added). No wonder the International Herald Tribune deleted it from its translation.

[9] Hatoyama (2009b).

[10] The APEC forum was established in 1989 by the then six ASEAN nations (see footnote 13) plus Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and the US. These were joined by China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1991. In 1993 President Clinton galvanized it into eighteen nations, adding Chile, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. In November 1998, Peru, Russia and Vietnam joined, making for a total membership of 21.

[11] yu-ai”, pronounced yuu-ai, is a combination of two Chinese characters, called kanji in Japanese, with the first meaning ‘friend’ and the second ‘love’.


[12] See Shashi (2009) and Ogoura (2009).

[13] The ten members are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Union of Myanmar (or Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.


[14] Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (who in 1923 was the Austrian founder-leader of the Pan-European Movement, calling for the formation of a United States of Europe, his reason being the successful assertion of Swiss unity in 1848, the forging of the German empire in 1871 and the independence of the US in 1776) was the second son of Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi (1859-1906), an Austro-Hungarian Count and diplomat of mixed European origin, and Mitsuko Aoyama (1874-1941), a Japanese descendant of a samurai family. The couple met in Tokyo when the future Countess helped the Austro-Hungarian diplomat after his falling off a horse.

[15] Hatoyama (2009c).

[16] Hatoyama (2009c).

[17] Hatoyama (2009c).

[18] See, inter alia, El-agraa (2007) for a discussion of this term.

[19] The 12 years were to be over by the end of December 1969, but the removal of tariffs on intra-trade and the establishment of the common external tariffs were achieved by 1 July 1968. See El-Agraa (2007).

[20] At the joint press conference by the leaders of Japan and the Mekong region countries following the Mekong-Japan summit meeting on 6-7 November 2009, available at  http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/hatoyama/statement/200911/07mekong_e.html

[21] Hatoyama (2009a).

[22] See, inter alia, Hirano (2009).

[23] Roh Moo-hyun (2007).

[24] The purpose of the Six-Party Talks between China, DPRK, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US, is to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns generated by the DPRK nuclear weapons programme. These talks were a result of the DPRK withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003. Five rounds of talks from 2003 to 2007 produced little net progress until the third phase of the fifth round of talks, when the DPRK agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities in exchange for fuel aid and steps taken towards the normalization of relations with the US and Japan. In September 2008, however, it was reported that the DPRK has begun to restore its key nuclear facilities, hence reneging on its agreement, although some analysts believe that the move is merely a tactical manoeuvre to gain a bargaining leverage. Since then the DPRK has conducted a nuclear test, fired missiles and is still playing the on-off game.


[25] See Lyou (2004), Zongze (2006) and Schimtter and Kim (2008) and the references they cite.

[26] US participation has been a reality for sometime. In 1995, the Korean Peninsular Energy Development Organization (KEDO) was established including as a member of the Executive Board the US, South Korea and Japan. Other countries joined later and so did the EU. Since its foundation, KEDO’s aim has been to freeze the DPRK’s indigenous nuclear power plant development based at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre, which was suspected of being a step in a nuclear weapons programme. In return for freezing its nuclear development programme, KEDO promised to construct a light water reactor in DPRK. Although China has not participated in this scheme of cooperation, it has acted as a venue in which at least Japan and Korea exchange their views and implement a common policy, which seems to be of great significance in building a sort of political networks. In short, cooperation has a somewhat longer history.

[27] Sarah Palin, US Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008, claims to see the Russian Federation (Russia) from her home in the State of Alaska!

[28] The splitting up of Russia for regional integration purposes is of course out of the question. And in any case why would Russia be interested in the NEAC rather than the EU when most of Russia’s population is more proximate to Europe and the bulk of its economic activity (93.3%) is with the EU and USA?

[29] Hatoyama (2009b).

[30] See El-Agraa (forthcoming).

[31] See, inter alia, El-Agraa (1999 and 2007) for a detailed specification and discussion.

[32] See, inter alia, Hirano (2009) and Ogoura (2009).

[33] See El-Agraa  (2009a,b).

[34] See El-Agraa (forthcoming).

[36] See Hata (1998) for details on the numbers involved and their sources.

[37] See, inter alia, Hata (1998).

[38] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre

[43] See Japanese lawmakers say ‘No massacre in Nanking’ and the refutation by Masaaki Tanka in, respectively: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/19/news/nanking.php and http://www.ne.jp/asahi/unko/tamezou/nankin/index-e.html



[44] Those so indicted by the Tokyo Tribunal following the end of World War II; for details, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Military_Tribunal_for_the_Far_East

[45] The Socialist Party of Japan and a number of others, including academic researchers, have pointed out that, despite the abhorrence of these abductions, it should never be forgotten that Japan forced a number of Koreans to come to Japan to work where the Japanese no longer wanted to do so. These Koreans were brought to Japan without their families and have been refused Japanese citizenship.

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