Asian Perspective on Global Economic Crisis
February 10 and 17, 2009
Consul General Mitsunori Namba, of the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle, brought the Japanese perspective on the economic crisis and other world issues to Shoreline Community College on Tuesday, Feb 10. 2009.
Namba spoke for more than an hour to about 150 students, faculty and campus visitors on a variety of issues. On the now-global economic crisis, he said there are similarities and differences to the one experienced by Japan in 1990. Namba counted as similarities irresponsible lending practices, a decline in real estate prices, a spillover to the general economy and a system-wide crisis. Namba then pointed out differences. He said the current situation has scattered the risks, while Japan's was more confined to commercial banks. The key difference, he noted, is that the current crisis has spread worldwide, where Japan's was more contained.
On other issues, Namba quizzed the audience, asking several times for answers with a show of hands. Namba made a point of showing the degree of Japan's international aid and support. "Japan has made significant contributions to the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. He also touched on energy and the environment.
"The most important subject at the (2008) G8 summit was climate change," Namba said of the annual meeting of leaders from the top eight industrialized nations in the world. Japan hosted the 2008 version at the northern island of Hokkaido. He said Japan has decided to change from an energy consumption society to an energy saving society.
"Japan is very glad that new President Obama (has embraced the idea of) climate change," Namba said. "We very much appreciate that position."
Namba said that Japan has an active program to help developing countries in Africa, noting the country has funded the Tokyo International Conference on African Development for 15 years. "It is vital to start development of African countries," he said.