Skip to main content

Modi's effort to woo Japan is nothing but "foolish crush", based on "old-fashioned" dictum of Asian values

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded editorial, Bloomberg, a major source for global business and financial market news, has characterized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to go out of the way to woo Japan as nothing but “India’s foolish crush.” A Bloomberg View comment, it says, “Canceling talks with Pakistan, or rejecting the World Trade Organization deal reached at Bali, Modi could be projecting the India that can say no. But it is hard not to suspect anachronism and naivete in Modi’s plan to model India’s economy on Japan’s postwar achievements.”
Suggesting that India is wooing Japan at a time when the Japanese bubble has already burst, the commentary says, “The export-oriented economies of Japan and its Asian clients achieved their highest growth when most Chinese were still wearing drab Mao suits. The spirit of innovation long ago shifted from Sony to Apple; and Abenomics (named after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe), the engine of a fresh national ascent to glory and power, is now running on empty.”
Pointing out that even Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who once banked heavily on Japanese development, “now thinks Japan made too many irrevocable mistakes, and has switched his affections to the Korea of Samsung and Hyundai”, it says, “Arriving in Japan, Modi will no doubt find some good deals for India. But he will also find the beloved old shrine of Hindu nationalists deserted, the faithful long gone in search of other gods.”
The commentary has been authored by a reputed scholar, Pankaj Mishra, who is author of many books, including "From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia" and "Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond" He is currently a fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature. Mishra thinks that it is no compliment that Modi is being hailed at India’s Abe.
Modi may have visited Japan twice during his long decade of ostracism by the West as Gujarat chief minister, and is “one of only three people that Shinzo Abe follows on Twitter”, but Mishra asks, “Can Modi’s old-fashioned reverence for all things Japanese, from the tea ceremony to nuclear plants, produce the right blueprint for India’s future?”
He points out, After all, Japan today offers less instruction in world-conquering industrial growth and innovation than in the admirable art of "bending adversity" -- the title of a superb new book on Japan by David Pilling that Modi might find more up-to-date than Vivekananda’s musings.”
“The Japanese state’s striking early example of fostering internationally competitive local industries was closely followed by countries such as South Korea and Taiwan”, the commentator says, adding, “Leaders of Malaysia and Indonesia eagerly sought Japanese investment in their economies, primarily to diversify their industrial bases.” They have lost all hope from Japan now.
“The most avid of these Asian Japanophiles was Mahathir, the long-lasting prime minister of Malaysia and unabashed exponent of majoritarian nationalism. His own Look East policy was grounded in economic relations with Japan as well as racial and civilizational assertions of difference, and included an explicit anti-Western posture”, Mishra says.
He further says, “For a while, everything seemed to be going well. Then, in the 1990s the limits of Japanese developmentalism were exposed by the new age of globalization. So much of the Japanese economic miracle had been contingent on US willingness during the Cold War to open its own markets to Japanese manufacturers while turning a blind eye to Japan’s blatantly protectionist trade policies and restrictions on capital movement.”
“Japan’s comparative advantage couldn’t last, and it didn't. The Asian financial crisis then went on to expose, among other things, the dangerous overreliance on foreign investment of countries like Malaysia. We haven’t heard much about Asian Values since then; those who look east now seek out China rather than Japan”, Mishra underlines.
Saying that Modi is only seeking to invoke Asia’s “three outspoken leaders” of the 1980s -- Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad and Japan’s Shintaro Ishihara – who talked of "Asian salues", Mishra comments, “Lee typically argued that the only antidote to ‘the disruptive individualism of Western liberalism’ was renewed stress on ‘individual subordination to the community’.” This “coincides perfectly with the values cherished by the RSS”.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I would and I bet most of us will be ok with "foolish crush" for Japan against China or Pakistan any day.

TRENDING

Junk food push causing severe public health crisis of obesity, diabetes in India: Report

By Rajiv Shah  A new report , “The Junk Push: Rising Consumption of Ultra-processed foods in India- Policy, Politics and Reality”, public health experts, consumers groups, lawyers, youth and patient groups, has called upon the Government of India to check the soaring consumption of High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) foods or ultra-processed foods (UPF), popularly called junk food.

Astonishing? Violating its own policy, Barclays 'refinanced' Adani Group's $8 billion bonds

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by two global NGOs, BankTrack and the Toxic Bonds Network, has claimed to have come up with “a disquieting truth”: that Barclays, a financial heavyweight with a “controversial” track record, is deeply entrenched in a “disturbing” alliance with “the Indian conglomerate and coal miner Adani Group.”

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Jharkhand: Attempt to create red scare for 'brutal crackdown', increase loot of resources

Counterview Desk  The civil rights group Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization in a statement on plans to crackdown on “64 democratic progressive organisations” in Jharkhand under the pretext of the need to investigate their Maoist link, has alleged that this an attempt to suppress dissent against corporate loot and create an authoritarian state.

Victim of 'hazardous' jobs, Delhi sanitary workers get two thirds of minimum wages

By Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, the Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) organized a Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop for sewer workers and waste pickers from all across Delhi NCR. The workshop focused on bringing sanitation workers from different parts of Delhi to train them for organization building and to discuss their issues of minimum wage, contractual labour, regular jobs and social security.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.