Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

President Van Rompuy’s Message: Haiku, Harmony, and Peace Go Together
NUMATA Sadaaki / Chairman, The English-Speaking Union of Japan

August 2, 2022
As the world was focusing in mid-July on President Putin’s posture to continue the war in Ukraine for the long haul, Dr. Herman Van Rompuy, Emeritus President of the European Council, was talking online to a group of members and friends of the English-Speaking Union of Japan, a volunteer organization dedicated to fostering global communicators in Japan, and friends from the Haiku International Association. President Van Rompuy’s message, which can be summed up as “haiku, harmony, and peace”, gave us much to think about and act on.

He spoke on the current geopolitical situation, based on his decades of experience in Belgian national politics culminating in his leadership as Prime Minister (2008-2009) and his stewardship of the European Union as the first President of the European Council (2008-2012). He received the Nobel Peace Prize of 2012 on behalf of the European Union with President José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, for the Union’s decisive contribution to the peaceful development of Europe over the past six decades, and for its actions in the current times of crisis.

His key points were as follows:

Russia evolved from a strategic partner to an outspoken opponent already in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and the de facto occupation of parts of eastern Ukraine. Today it is an enemy. The dangerous war in Ukraine is deeply troubling. It is not democracy that is at stake, but sovereignty, the right of Ukraine to have its own state. While national borders are the absolute key, Russia has violated relevant international agreements

The conflict in Ukraine could last a very long time militarily and so could the sanctions against Russia. No one can predict with certainty how the war might end, but, unlike World War II, it might not be a clear-cut case of victory and surrender. It is up to Ukraine to decide on peace talks. There could even be a frozen conflict where Russia might decide that the war is over, upon the establishment of control over and annexation of the Donbas region. Then Ukraine would find itself on the offensive and have to fight a propaganda war.

China is a big trading partner and an indispensable partner in tackling the existential challenge of climate change. However, it is the EU’s systemic rival because it promotes a completely different political and social system, and after the 24th of February became the friend of an enemy, Russia. When asked if the EU and NATO would fight in Taiwan should China invade Taiwan, President Van Rompuy stated clearly that fighting on the island was not under consideration, just as they would not fight ‘in’ Ukraine.

The EU, NATO, G7, and the West are coming out of this crisis stronger and more united. The West is back, and G7 is now more relevant than G20. Within the EU, there is more multipolarity and less bipolarity (with France and Germany) because of the imprudent and too accommodating policy of France and Germany toward Russia and China. There is deep mistrust between the three global actors, the US, China, and Russia. Each of them pursues a policy of ‘strategic autonomy’, i.e., to be less dependent on others in key areas such as energy, defense, digital technologies including chips, food, migration flows, etc. The EU wants to do this within the multilateral framework.

These points would find resonance in Japan, especially the emphasis on the rule of law as applied to sovereignty and national borders, the recognition of China as the friend of an enemy, and the pursuit of strategic autonomy in the multilateral framework.

President Van Rompuy made one thought-provoking point about being an ally as it applies to Japan. He argued that values such as peace, freedom, and human dignity must prevail, not the primacy of the nation, of nationalism. If one has only common interests, one is an ally, but if one shares both, interests and values, one has a common destiny. This applies to Japan, as seen from the EU, he said.

Having been involved in the management of the Japan-US security alliance in my diplomatic career, I asked him what he thought about the conventional Japanese view that considers the military component, i.e., the US extended deterrence, as an integral part of the alliance. In response, he referred to the fact that Japan came to be protected by the US nuclear umbrella as a result of its defeat in World War II, and also drew attention to the fruits of the “like-mindedness” between the EU and Japan over the years, such as the defense of multilateralism in trade, the conclusion in 2018 of the biggest FTA that the EU has ever negotiated, the Connectivity Partnership in 2019, the Green Alliance in 2021, and the launch of the Digital Partnership in May 2022. He further said that we can explore further opportunities, while “it takes two to tango”. It has led me to feel that we in Japan should perhaps take a broader view of “alliance” and figure out how best we can tango with our European partner in pursuit of our common destiny.

President van Rompuy has been serving as Japan-Europe Haiku Ambassador since 2015 when he was appointed to that position by Fumio Kishida, then Foreign Minister and now Prime Minister. I was intrigued to know how he came to be interested in this allegedly shortest poem in the world. I found the answer when he said, “Our world is so well organized, too perfect, too complicated that one failure disrupts the whole world. … Haiku excels at the opposite, at simplicity”. “The Haiku poet has a deep desire for harmony, does not stand violence and war.” Hence haiku, harmony, and peace.

These words came from a consummate politician who was once described by Le Figaro as the painstaking builder of impossible compromises (l'horloger des compromis impossibles ). He said in his Nobel lecture in 2012, “The Union has perfected the art of compromise. No drama of victory or defeat, but ensuring all countries emerge victorious from talks.” I can well empathize with him when he finds solace in composing haiku as he did in the course of his sojourn in Japan:

Written in Onjuku 16 July 2022

The ocean is still
Softly landing waves
A Pacific of peace

We, at the English-Speaking Union of Japan, have been playing our own part to promote Haiku in English. On our website, we have the ESUJ-H: English Haiku column "https://www.esuj.gr.jp/event/5_index_detail.php" in which we publish every month 5~7 haiku poems selected by two experienced haiku poets, Mrs. Emiko Miyashita and Mr. Tetsuya Kodaki. Over the past year, there have been 325 haikus posted by poets (high school students and older) from 50 countries, encompassing Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

The following haiku by a Romanian poet evokes the image of harmony and peace that are sorely needed today.

Earth Day
refugee children embrace
an old cherry tree

Cezar Florescu

Sadaaki Numata is a former ambassador to Canada and Pakistan.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

ファン·ロンパイ欧州理事会元議長のメッセージ : 俳句と調和と平和
沼田 貞昭 / 日本英語交流連盟会長

2022年 8月 2日
プーチン大統領がウクライナでの戦争をずっと続ける構えに世界の耳目が集中していた7月半ば、ファン・ロンパイ欧州理事会元議長は、日本英語交流連盟(グローバルコミュニケーター育成を目的とする非営利ボランティア団体)の会員、会友および俳句国際連盟(Haiku International Association)関係者に対してオンライン講演を行なった。「俳句、調和、平和」の3語に集約されるファン・ロンパイ元議長のメッセージは、我々が考え行動するにあたり示唆に富むものであった。

ファン・ロンパイ元議長は、首相(2008−2009年)として頂点を極めたベルギーの国内政治における数十年間の経験、そして欧州理事会の初代議長(2008−2012年)として欧州連合(E U)の采配を振るった経験に基づいて、今日の地政学的状況について話をした。彼は、2012年に、ホセ・マニュエル・デュラオ・バロソE U委員長と共にE Uを代表して、過去60年間にわたる欧州の平和的発展への決定的貢献および当面の危機的状況における行動についてノーベル平和賞を受賞した。



中国は大きな貿易パートナーであり、気候変動という実存的チャレンジに取り組むにあたり不可欠のパートナーである。しかし、中国はE Uと全く異なる政治・社会体制を信奉しているので、E Uの本質的ライバルであり、2月24日以降は敵(ロシア)の友となった。
(仮に中国が台湾に侵攻した場合、E UとN A T Oは台湾で戦うことになるのかとの質問に対して、)この島(台湾)において戦うことは、ウクライナの中で戦うことと同様に考慮の対象とはなっていない。

EU、N A T O、G7および西側はこの危機を通じて一層強くなり結束を固めた。西側はその勢いを取り戻し、G7は今やG20よりも意味のある存在となっている。E U内部は、仏独が露中に対して無分別で妥協的すぎた政策を取ったが故に、仏独の2極というよりも多極的な体制になっている。米、中、露というグローバルなアクターの間には深い相互不信がある。3者のうちどの国も‘戦略的自立’、すなわち、エネルギー、防衛、半導体を含むデジタルテクノロジー、食料、移民の流れなどの重要分野において他国に頼らずに自立しようとしている。E Uはこのことを多国間の枠組みの中で追求しようとしている。



筆者は外交官として日米の同盟関係の運営に関わってきたこともあって、日本では米国の拡大抑止といった軍事的要素を同盟の不可欠な一部と考えることが一般的であるがどう思うかと質問した。これに答えて、ファン・ロンパイ氏は、日本は第2次世界大戦での敗北の結果米国の核の傘で守られることとなったと指摘した。また、同氏は、日本とEUの「志を同じくする」同士としての繋がりが、貿易における多国間主義の擁護、E Uが交渉した最大の自由貿易協定である日・E U経済連携協定の締結(2018年)、日・E U連結性パートナーシップ(2019年)、グリーン・パートナーシップ(2021)およびデジタル・パートナーシップ発足(2022年5月)といった幾多の成果に結実していると述べ、さらに、「タンゴを踊るには二人が必要」だが、もっと色々な可能性を探求することは可能であると述べた。これを聞いて筆者は、日本にいる我々としても「同盟」の意味をもっと広く取って、E Uと共通の運命を追求しつつタンゴをどう踊るかを工夫しても良いのではないかと思った。

ファン・ロンパイ元議長は、2015年に 岸田文雄外務大臣(当時、現首相)より任命されて以来日欧俳句大使を務めている。彼が、世界で最短の詩と言われる俳句になぜ関心を持つようになったのか筆者は知りたいと思っていたが、彼が講演の中で、次のように述べたのを聞いて、その答えが見つかったと思った。

かつて仏紙ル・フィガロはレンラルの政治家ファン・ロンパイ氏を「不可能な妥協を苦労して作り上げる職人」(l’horloger des compromise impossibles)と評した。彼は、ノーベル賞受賞時の講演で、「欧州連合は妥協の技能を完璧なものに仕上げた。ドラマも敗北もないが、全ての国が話し合いの結果勝利を味わうことができる。」彼は訪日中に次の俳句を詠んだが、俳句を詠むことに慰めを求める彼の気持ちがよくわかるような気がする。

御宿にて 2022年7月6日


我々日本英語交流連盟も、英語俳句振興のために一役買ってきている。連盟ウエブサイトに設けたコラムで、経験豊富な俳人宮下恵美子氏および小瀧徹矢氏が選んだ毎月5〜7句を発表している。 ESUJ-H: English Haiku column この1年で欧州、アジア太平洋、中央アジア、北米、中南米、アフリカ、中東といった世界各地50カ国の俳人(高校生以上)からの投句は325に上った。



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English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > President Van Rompuy’s Message: Haiku, Harmony, and Peace Go Together