Periscoping the Future: Will China and Japan Ever Be Like France and Germany?

  • James C. Hsiung


In a comment on the weak Asian regional institutions, Masaru Tamamoto (2005: 18), a noted Japanese commentator, raised a thoughtful question, namely: Will China and Japan act like France and Germany in taking the initiative in community building? The question recalls to mind the long Franco-German rivalry in history, which ran from the late nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century. But after World War II, from which Germany emerged chastened by defeat and France badly shaken by the devastating effects of the “total war,” the two nations learned to bury their hatchets. They joined hands, in concert with other European powers, to build the European Economic Community (later the European Community), laying the groundwork for today’s European Union. They remain the two strong pillars of European integration. Tamamoto’s question is whether China and Japan will ever be able to follow the French-German example of reconciliation. In this last chapter, it is only appropriate for us to entertain this forward-looking question, which without doubt has implications far beyond the future of the bilateral relations between the two Asian giants. At stake is the larger question of regional and even global peace and stability, as well as economic prosperity, throughout the twenty-first century.


Prime Minister Liberal Democratic Party History Textbook Japanese Public Holocaust Memorial 
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© James C. Hsiung 2007

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  • James C. Hsiung

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