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Last weekend, more than 450 national security experts descended on the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany for the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC). Established in 1963, the MSC is the oldest and largest meeting of its kind, an opportunity for heads of state and top officials to discuss their biggest concerns and share those views with a larger audience that includes “thought leaders” — journalists, academics, think tank experts and civil society groups.

The MSC’s longevity and success have encouraged emulation. Similar conferences occur every month or so somewhere around the world, each trying to distinguish itself from the others. Despite the proliferation of gatherings, one does not take place in Japan — a curious omission given the Japanese government’s ambition to carve out a place in discussions of foreign policy and international diplomacy. That problem can be fixed by inaugurating an international forum to address national economic statecraft.

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