Message from the Chairman
Movement toward New Globalization
Takashi Anzai, Chairman of Toyo University Incorporated Educational Institution
October 1, 2020
The world has been defeated in the fight against COVID-19
COVID-19 has been spreading across the world. It is practically destroying globalization, making the border walls that separate countries even higher than during wartime. It cannot be denied that the speed of the spread was increased due to the excessive pursuit of economic growth and urban concentration that were fostered by the trend of globalization. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, national border control has become almost as strict as the closure of a country to prevent further spread. Restrictions are imposed on outings and interregional movements, and people are also voluntarily refraining from going out within each country. In the fight against COVID-19, however, humankind has been completely defeated, with no country being a winner. Indeed, all countries have lost, and will never be able to control the virus perfectly. We will have to continuously endure the threat of the virus, although we might be able to better defend against it when vaccines become available. Accordingly, in order for all people to smoothly adapt to coexisting with COVID-19, it is urgently necessary for all countries to share their findings and results of clinical tests for vaccines as well as to exchange information about the effects of new pharmaceuticals, equipment, therapies and issues requiring caution. In light of the fact that all countries are losing the fight and facing economic downturns and dramatic changes in their economic structures, we need to build a movement toward a new globalization: one that attributes importance to the enhancement of international cooperation and partnerships, and moves in the opposite direction of global division.
The course of the history is changing
The course of the world’s history is changing. People’s way of thinking is changing, shifting from focusing solely on economic growth to thinking more about the future of humankind and the Earth. Lifestyles that clearly support the attainment of the SDGs are being proposed at the grassroots level by citizens for sustainable development. In developed countries, the trend of urban concentration is being decelerated with changes made also to people’s work styles. In fact, telecommuting is being developed on a global scale, and art and sports seem to be making the transition from relying on commercialism to building harmony with their enthusiasts.
It was indeed shocking to witness the rapid spread of infection in the United States. We found defects in the country’s medical system as well as the vulnerability of risk management by the presidential federal government. These issues are indirectly caused by social problems such as deep-rooted racial divisions and extremely large income gaps between the poor and the rich. I am concerned that people’s respect for the United States, specifically for its leadership in liberalism, democracy, respect for human rights, egalitarianism and the rule of law, has diminished. On the other hand, China, which was once expected to achieve marvelous growth, is now increasingly criticized for its authoritarianism and is becoming isolated. Authoritarian countries that have entrusted their futures to China and Russia, which are the complete opposite of the United States, are becoming unstable politically.
Under these circumstances, Japan is expected to demonstrate its leadership, because the country is in a position that allows it to express its opinions on equal footing with the United States and China, which are apparently seeking hegemony. Moreover, Japan can gain support from the United Kingdom, the EU, Australia, India and Asian countries relatively easily. Therefore, what should Japan aim for as a leader? Now, around the world, young people are loudly calling out for the following for the future of humankind and the Earth: (1) elimination of nuclear weapons and (2) achievement of the SDGs, in particular decarbonization and the reduction of income inequalities. I think that these are indeed what Japan should aim for. I have respect for the young people who have the ability to instinctively and intuitively feel what is necessary for their future, and I would like to join them in the effort to boost the movement toward the new globalization.