German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had a retirement ceremony on December 2, gave a lecture at the Asahi Hall in Hamarikyu, Tokyo in March 2015, saying:
World War II triggered Germany’s liberation from Nazism, war and the Shoah (genocide of Jews), but the trust of neighboring countries greatly contributed to the peaceful development of Germany after the war. Germany has faced the past, such as the Holocaust, and has evolved from reconciliation with its long-time enemy, France, to a relationship through friendship. The Nazi era when the world had to be experienced by Germany. Fortunately, despite the painful times of the Holocaust, they accepted us into the international community. Why was it possible? For one thing, Germany has faced the past properly.
This statement by Chancellor Merkel also gave valuable suggestions to Japan, the defeated nation of World War II. Germany may also have right-wing forces that do not look back, but historical revisionism is probably stronger in Japan than in Germany, saying that Japan has not been barbaric during the war in recent years. In order for Japan to gain the trust of the international community, including neighboring countries, it is necessary for Japan to face the past seriously.
The spiritual world of Chancellor Merkel may be surprising, but it has something in common with that of the Japanese. In a lecture by Chancellor Merkel at the Harvard University graduation ceremony held in May 2019, she said that “what looks immutable can actually change.” Saying this, Chancellor Merkel referred to the Berlin Wall, which was a symbol of the Cold War that robbed her of various opportunities from East Germany, and the Cold War structure itself.
This is an idea that leads to the Buddhist impermanence that everything changes and does not stay in the same state. “Impermanence” is also an indispensable viewpoint when thinking about international politics, and is also necessary idea for Japanese politicians. China’s authoritarian regime could change, and so might the Japan-US alliance, which now looks strong. Looking at diplomacy mainly through alliances with the United States can lead to misjudgement about Japan’s future. In fact, the United States did not seem to attach great importance to its alliance with Japan during the Trump administration. I think again that it would be in the interests of the Japanese to think about diplomacy in a well-balanced manner, rather than focusing solely on the United States.
On December 5, 2020, Chancellor Merkel explained the government’s economic support measures as the new coronavirus became more serious in Germany. He states that culture has great significance for the German people and that it is especially painful that cultural facilities such as theaters, cinemas, opera houses and museums must be closed. He expressed his determination to provide the necessary support for Germany to continue to be a country where people can enjoy culture and art.
Regarding the significance of culture on the website of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, “It is extremely important for human beings to live like human beings, it creates a sense of solidarity between human beings and forms the foundation of a society where we live together. Maintaining the diversity of the world. It will be the cornerstone of world peace. ” There is no doubt that the Japanese government is also required to pay particular attention to the support and relief of cultural activities after the end of the pandemic.
Chancellor Merkel also said that Islam is part of Germany, but Japan is also accepting Muslim immigration activities such as Indonesia, especially in the fields of agriculture and fishing. In Germany, the same defeated country as Japan, I think that the words and actions of Chancellor Merkel continued to give the Japanese an opportunity to look after themselves.