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APAPAsia Pacific Agenda Project

Fifth Forum: Okinawa, Japan
March 25-26, 2000


The Fifth APAP Forum, held on March 25-26, 2000, may be remembered as the last international conference attended by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. More significantly, the forum was viewed by the late prime minister as an important occasion for him to hear the views of Asian intellectual leaders and those of the intellectual leaders of Okinawa as he prepared for the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit. While he was not able to preside over the G-8 gathering, a synopsis of the dialogue between Obuchi and the forum participants was provided to the summit leaders, as well as to other policymakers and analysts, with the hope of fulfilling his desire that they hear those "Asian voices."

The first session featured a presentation of a joint report by three leading intellectual leaders from Okinawa, headed by Professor Takara Kurayoshi, which analyzed the role and place of Okinawa in the Asia Pacific region. The report, titled the "Okinawa Initiative," provided the basis for intense discussions, and has since generated substantive policy debate in Okinawa—where two major local newspapers carried the full text of the paper—as well as in Japan as a whole.

In the second and third sessions, four research papers analyzing the present state of Asia Pacific community building were discussed. This reassessment of regional cooperation based on well-researched case studies was felt to be very important in light of growing concerns about the future evolution of the Asia Pacific community-building process that stem largely from what has been regarded as a failure by regional institutions to respond effectively to the recent crises (and particularly to the contagious economic crisis).

In the final session, Prime Minister Obuchi participated in the dialogue, using the discussions of the previous sessions as a springboard for contemplating the future direction of regional policy research and dialogue efforts.

As noted above, a report on the forum was published in 2000 in time for the G-8 Summit.

Forum Report (click on link for description and ordering information):