From Ancient to Modern Times: a Retrospective of Japan's Relationship with the Middle East
After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, interest in the Middle East and Islam has surged in Japan as well as the rest of the world. This marks the third time in modern history that there has been such a surge in interest in the region. The first oil crisis in 1973 and the Gulf War in 1991 had prompted the other occasions. On the previous occasions, the interest had been fleeting and had not had any lasting effect on the economic and political trends of Japan. In this article, Akira Mizuguchi, senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute of Japan, reflects on Japan's relationship with Islam. In a world of increasing globalization, the role of the nation state is changing. He considers whether Japanese interests within the framework of the nation state should determine strategies for energy, which has an enormous impact on economic activity. Also, he ponders on the best way to respond to the various social problems arising from the increase in multicultural friction.