An annual meeting of business, political and academic leaders from Japan, Europe and North America ended Mar. 24 in Tokyo with a reaffirmation of the importance of the trilateral leadership in dealing with global challenges.

The 28th plenary meeting of the Trilateral Commission — cochaired by Otto Lambsdorff, a member of the German Bundestag, Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, and Yotaro Kobayashi, chairman of Fuji Xerox Co. — brought together some 150 leading figures from the three main democratic regions along with many guest speakers from Asia.

During the three-day meeting, participants discussed a range of issues, such as China’s integration into the global community, Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese sovereignty and challenges of managing the international system in the next 10 years. Speaking at a news conference following the meeting, Volcker said there is a general feeling that the Asia-Pacific region is a very crucial area of the world.

Kobayashi said Japan must seriously rethink its position within Asia, pointing to remarkable development in the neighboring nations. “We had thought that we were far ahead of other Asian nations. In certain areas, however, they are ahead of us,” he said.

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