Regarding Hiroaki Sato’s Feb. 27 article, “Indefensible costs of military one-upmanship “: When it comes to national defense, Japan needs to accumulate human capital instead of participating in the arms race. In the 21st century, when many countries are locked in fierce competition to obtain natural resources, diplomatic issues related to national interests are flaring up. Every country that depends heavily on oil is beginning to realize that oil supplies will eventually be exhausted.

In this situation, Japan’s prosperity and security depend on whether it can get beyond oil. Japan, burdened with a heavy national debt, should not follow in the footsteps of other military superpowers. Instead, it should invest in human resources to shift into a new world of clean energy. If Japan distinguishes itself with new energy technologies, it will protect itself by restoring economic advantages.

Another essential point is to revitalize those individuals who are said to take peace for granted. The author Sato refers to Singapore, which has one of Asia’s most modern armed forces. Singapore’s strength, I believe, lies in the good relationship between a trustworthy government and enthusiastic citizens. Whenever I visit Singapore on business, I am impressed to see many people working and studying hard.

Though motivated partly by fierce competition, they retain something crucial that Japanese people used to have. In the Meiji Era (1868-1912), when Japan took its first steps toward national prosperity and defense, many people made strenuous efforts, keeping in mind that “God helps those who help themselves.”

Creating a vital society where citizens can fully demonstrate their ability will lead to tighter national security. In the words of the 16th-century daimyo Takeda Shingen, “People work as a castle, a stone wall and a moat.”

hajime ichiseki

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