Japan’s Science and Technology Diplomacy: Society 5.0 and its International Projection
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Japan is the third largest economy on the planet but lacks coercive capacity due to Article 9 of its Constitution, which prevents it from having an army and declaring war. This means that it can only rely on persuasion to influence the international sphere and achieve its political objectives. One of the tools it has for this purpose is public diplomacy, which is diplomacy exercised through non-traditional means such as communication, art and culture. One branch of public diplomacy is science and technology diplomacy (S&T Diplomacy), which consists of collaboration in these areas with other nations to strengthen their international projection, as well as the dissemination of scientific knowledge and technology transfer between nations. S&T diplomacy has become a major focus for Japan of its diplomatic action since it launched the Society 5.0 project in 2016, which sought to revolutionize Japan’s economy, society and governance through technology. This S&T diplomacy has the potential to not only strengthen Japan’s external action, but also to transform its industries and research while it is transforming the infrastructures of Japan’s partner nations, like the construction of subway and high-speed rail networks in India. This article will first analyze the theoretical framework of public diplomacy and science and technology diplomacy. Next, Japan’s public diplomacy will be studied by comparing The Soft Power 30 and Global Soft Power Index. Finally, Japanese science and technology diplomacy will be analyzed by assessing the initiatives contained in the Japanese Society 5.0 project.
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