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

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.