Keynote Proposal 2

"Overcoming wars and earthquakes"

Picture Keiko Chino

Keiko Chino
  • Editor and Osaka Resident Columnist, The Sankei Shimbun

Modern Japan has experienced two major wars and two major earthquakes. While World War I left the European countries damaged and impoverished, Japan, along with the United States, reaped the benefits of victory. Osaka, in particular, benefited from the wartime boom, developing into the top industrial city in Japan as well as Asia. In World War II, however, the "wealthy country and "strong army" of Japan met with utter defeat. Japan suffered the world's first atomic bombings, and for Japanese people, the latter half of the 20th century was a time of destruction and rebirth.

At the same time, Japan is unique among countries in the world in that it faces the danger of the natural disaster earthquakes. The Great Kanto Earthquake and the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred, strangely enough, in Kanto and Kansai, Japan's two major regions. Social and economic changes in modern Japan are deeply connected not only with war, but also with earthquakes. What effect have wars and earthquakes had in shaping the mentality of Japanese people? What lessons can be drawn for the future? I would like to take a look at security and crisis management issues in light of these points.

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