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Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s proposal for an East Asian Community along the lines of the European Union is an excellent idea. I made the same proposal in my 2008 book, “Peace in East Asia” (published by Edward Elgar).

Asia is recovering more quickly from the global economic crisis than much of the world, which demonstrates the coherence and vitality of this region. Japan, South Korea and China must play the role of Germany and France in building the new community. An Asian economic community is the ultimate solution to the North Korean problem, just as the existence and vitality of the European Community ultimately “solved” the problem with East Germany.

Twenty years from now, Japanese young people, like my grandson Renno, will be able to live and work anywhere in Asia, including China, Korea or any member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, because we will have free movement of people, products, services and technology in Asia, just as there is now free movement in 27 nations of the EU. This will also lead to monetary union and an Asian currency, just as in the EU. Above all, it is the best chance for lasting peace.

thomas j. schoenbaum