Could disaster relief and risk reduction be the diplomatic niche that Japan should continue to pursue and expand if it is to lead in the world? In this essay published by the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, Visiting Fellow Goshi Tsukamoto of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes that “Japan has long been an active donor involved in disaster relief and reduction efforts in developing countries and it has offered a wide range of assistance, from financial to technical.” His conclusion:
It is a big challenge for Japan to reconcile the high expectations it faces from the international community with the security and economic restraints it faces at home. Despite these challenges―indeed, as a way to deal with these challenges―Japan can and should remain a leading actor in global disaster reduction efforts. Its experience, expertise, and characteristics have provided Japan with a comparative advantage in disaster relief, and positioned it to contribute in valuable ways to global disaster reduction and relief efforts. Japan should take advantage of its strength in this field and would benefit from featuring disaster relief more centrally in its external policy.