How do Asians see their future?

Asia is rising. Economically, socially, and technologically, Asia’s nations are taking strides towards increased welfare and prosperity. On the one hand, this is the story of a region rising together: Trade and political ties are flourishing as the region draws into closer cooperation. On the other hand, it is a story of an unbalanced rise, of uneven growth rates and asymmetrical global influence, exacerbated as old disputes come back to haunt the region. Asia’s future holds risks and chances, and it is not least Europeans that will be affected by any development – be it in economy, policy or security – of the Asian continent. It is clear that Europe and Asia stand to benefit immensely from its relationship with each other – and might benefit even more from a deeper understanding of each other.

 In order to explore this question, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the Robert Bosch Stiftung have organised a study tour in June 2014 to find out how Asians see their future. Government officials, scientists, think-tanker and journalists from Europe went to Japan for one week to hold talks with over 50 discussion partners from Asia. This anthology comprising essays reflecting selected views of Asians is one of the results of this trip. The authors, Hahm Chaibong, Richard Koo, C. Raja Mohan, Chung in-Moon, Chun Young Park, Rajiv Sikri, Yoshihide Soeya, Akio Takahara, Kazuhiko Togo, Tsuneo Watanabe, and Steven C. Wong, give their insights on history and memory, democracy and authoritarianism, and what kind of order will be formed in Asia.

In his introduction to the anthology François Godement, Director of ECFR’s Asia & China programme, reflects on the most recent developments in and around Asia, and whether this had any impact on how Asians see their future. Meanwhile, Volker Stanzel, Senior Advisor to the Asia & China programme and ECFR Council Member, explains in his conclusion why it is time for a European “pivot to Asia”.

Picture source: Future Atlas

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of its individual authors.