How the world views Europe: Ryo Oshiba on Japan


As part of our 'Reinvention of Europe' project, ECFR co-organised* a conference in Prague to examine how Europe is seen by other important global powers. Six eminent academics and thinkers gave their thoughts from the viewpoint of China, Turkey, India, Brazil, Japan and Russia. I recorded interviews with all six, which are being published as podcasts, and also gathering up the abstracts of the papers that each one presented in this short series of blog posts.

This fourth post is from Ryo Oshiba of Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. Here is a short interview with him, and here's an outline of his thoughts:

Japanese scholars of international relations have been very much interested in Europe and the European Union from various perspectives. From a Japanese perspective the West still plays a crucial role as the anchor of World Order. Interest in Europe is partly influenced by exploring differences between the US and Europe with regard to world order, and it is possible to contrast American globalism with Euro-globalism.

American unilateralism was the chief characteristic of US foreign policy under the Bush Administration, and economic globalisation is often discussed as Americanisation. The question arises whether Japan and Europe, independently or jointly, can offer an alternative contribution for global governance. In Japan, there is the notion of "the lost two decades for Japan" in the post-Cold War period, and there is a debate on whether Japan is a global player or a middle power.  In the same fashion, scholars are asking what the role of Europe as a global player has been in the last two post-Cold War decades. The EU and the US have competed for the vision of a world order in the 21st century: the globalism the EU has insisted on is different from what the US proposed. From Japan's perspective it is important to understand exactly what the EU version of globalisation consists of, and how it contrasts with rising Asian concepts of international cooperation.

Click here for China's view of Europe with Zhimin Chen - "over the past few years, the Chinese have begun to realise that their views of the EU have also involved wishful thinking."

Click here for India's view, with Rajendra K Jain - "Unlike in the past, India is determined to play an active interest in the framing of new rules so that they reflect and protect the needs and aspirations of one sixth of humanity"

Click for Turkey's view with Atila Eralp - "Has Turkey’s relationship with the EU departed from being seen as a normative goal or strategic vision, into a framework for a useful but ‘just another’ partnership in international relations?"

Click here for Russia's view, with Sergei Utkin - "the joint potential of the EU and Russia is regarded as essential in building sustainable alternatives to scenarios of Europe’s inevitable decline in the international arena."

* Thanks are due to the other co-organisers of the conference in Prague, the Insitute of International Relations, Prague, and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

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