It is well known that Japan does not have a strong voice on the global stage. It is a member of the Group of Seven and frequently holds a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. However, in the most important discussions in those international arenas, Japan supports or simply follows the directions of the United States, leaving the impression that it has no independent opinions to contribute to global discussions. As a loyal ally of the superpower and a recipient of security protection, Japan appears satisfied with its second-class status on the international stage.

Given the miserable memories of World War II and the prewar years, people of this country may have come to the conclusion that Japan should never have robust foreign policies and should play a modest role in the world. We can complacently say the economy, rather than political power, is the proud achievement of the Japanese nation.

The lack of political influence, though, irritates some Japanese. When Korean-American organizations succeeded in building "comfort women" statues in some cities in the U.S., or when foreign observers show sympathy to China on its territorial dispute with Japan, conservative Japanese groups complain vehemently that we should strengthen our public relations and push the international media to publish Japan's narratives.