Towards Asia’s Community for Peace
By studying EU’s model ’Never Again War!’ – a system of peace overcame hostilities
Dr. Eekelen, who directed Western European Union, spoke in Japan on East Asia’s security and prospects for Japan-Europe collaboration
- Mutual understanding can forge consensus and cooperation
- Suggestions on the post-war arrangements
Japan Unification Church Headquarters: Japan-Europe Special Lecture was held in Tokyo on November 18th with Dr. Willem Frederic van Eekelen, former defense minister of the Netherlands and the secretary general of the Western European Union. He spoke on the title: ‘East Asia’s security and prospects for Japan-Europe cooperation’ under the auspices of the UPF-Japan etc. About one hundred leading figures including diplomats, scholars, religious leaders and journalists listened to Dr. Eekelen’s keynote address in Tokyo.
The forum was opened with remarks by Mr. Masahisa Hayashi, professor emeritus of the Waseda University and director of the Institute for Peace Policies as well as Dr. Eiji Tokuno, president of the UPF-Japan, both representing the organizers.
Stressing the international status of the Netherlands, Director Hayashi mentioned, “Holland was actively involved in the reconstruction of Europe”, as it was one of the five founding nations of Europe’s Coal and Iron Alliance which was the harbinger of the European Union. It was also one of the five original member-states of the Western European Union established in 1948.
President Tokuno said: “Dr. Eekelen’s address will be interesting for us to hear the example of the EU which received the Noble Peace Prize with a view to applying it in East Asia. While Dr. Song Yeon Cheon, now chairman of the UPF’s Japan Region, was engaged as the chairman of the UPF Europe, Dr. Eekelen helped UPF organize many symposium on peace in several European countries“. “Thanks to their friendship, Dr. Eekelen accepted his visit to Japan this time”, Dr. Tokuno said.
In his welcome remark, Dr. Song referred to Dr. Eekelen’s previous visit to Japan four years ago in order to appeal ‘freedom of faith and human rights’. “The East Asian region faces variety of geopolitical challenges such as China’s hegemony-seeking expansion, North Korea’s nuclear adventurism and frictions over Japan’s history.” Dr. Song explained significance of the forum as saying, “The European continent underwent many upheavals including two World Wars, the Cold War and the trials and errors involving ethnicity, race and religion. Dr. Eekelen will offer precious advices to Japanese leaders.”
In his keynote address, Dr. Eekelen first explained the meaning and process of the EU’s establishment. “Based on the past experiences up to the World War Two, Europe was determined never to go to another war. Leaders of the time attempted to set up a system, though not quite perfect, which would prevent a war by overcoming hostilities, giving strong impacts upon Europe.”
“Germany has become one of the most democratic nations in Europe. My country, Holland, was occupied by Germany during the war, but our people have empathy with the contemporary Germany”, Dr. Eekelen said. He even mentioned an episode of a Polish foreign minister by the name of Sikorsky who paid a visit to Berlin several years before. Mr. Sikorsky said, “In the past we used to be annoyed by Germany’s assertive behaviors, but at present we are annoyed by Germany’s inaction.”
Incidentally, during the period of Dr. Eekelen’s Japan trip, his wife separately attended a ceremony of reconciliation between Japan and Holland under the auspices of Japan’s Foreign Ministry in Nagasaki city, west of Tokyo. She was one of the 14 invited relatives of Dutch people who had been encamped in Indonesia by the Japanese army during World War Two.
Dr. Eekelen introduced her positive impression about a new, democratized Japan. Mindful of Japan’s difficult relations with South Korea, Dr. Eekelen suggested, “Why doesn’t Japan apply a similar program with South Korea?”
Finally, Dr. Eekelen pointed out: “As conducted internationally by the UPF, if we can understand why your counterparts in China or South Korea act this way or that way, the mutual understanding could bring about agreement and cooperation with them. That was what Europe has done right.”
Similar lecture programs were held in Nagoya (Nov. 15th) and Fukuoka (Nov. 16th) as well as a dinner lecture (Nov.17th) in Tokyo.
”Freedom without responsibility is useless!” Major media reporters interviewed Dr. Eekelen