Ambassador of Japan T. Ozaki: How we could and should avoid war? - MRU

2 April, 2024
Ambassador of Japan T. Ozaki: How we could and should avoid war?

On March 28, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Lithuania, Tetsu Ozaki, gave a lecture entitled "War: how/why we can/should avoid it, and the related Eastern thoughts" at Mykolas Romeris University.

The lecture focused on the avoidance of war and Eastern thought, and offered a comparison of Eastern and Western thoughts, as well as views on building peace by Eastern philosophers. Ambassador emphasized that Cultural Diplomacy and Japan's Diplomacy are the key to improving international relations and contributing to peace, while showing the importance of "efforts to discuss" for the development of culture.

The lecture began with a quote from a historical letter between the famous physicist Albert Einstein and the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in 1932. In his letter, Einstein rhetorically asked “Is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war?". Freud replied comprehensively and interestingly finalized by: “whatever makes for cultural development is working also against war."

Then, T. Ozaki presented various perspectives and views on how to avoid war and realize peace, presenting prominent Eastern philosophers such as YOKOI Shonan, Laozi, Sunzi, and Mozi and SHAKU Shyoen.

In comparing Western and Eastern models of thought, T. Ozaki pointed out that while "division" such as "analysis" and "differentiation" is necessary for the scientific development, West is building a civilization only with like-minded countries which is causing unconscious division of the world and even isolating themselves without including different groups in the cultural whole. T. Ozaki also emphasized the importance of discussion and dialogue for cultural development, quoting YOKOI Shonan's words, claiming that "strenuous and persistent efforts to discuss” are necessary.

In the Ambassador’s view, the challenges we now face are complexly interconnected and cannot be resolved without dialogue and cooperation between all responsible actors in the world. “The key to solving these problems is "cultural diplomacy," which is dialogue and exchange between individuals and nations, rather than armed resistance, and "Japan's Diplomacy," which is dialogue and cooperation.

Ozaki quoted the words of former Foreign Minister Mr. Hayashi: "Since ancient times, Asia has nurtured a variety of values based on diverse religions and cultures, such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Islam. Japan has cultivated a spirit of tolerance common to these various values, and fostered respect for diversity.” Referring to the historical background of Japan's history, T. Ozaki also noted that the approach of Japanese diplomacy is deeply rooted in Japan's history and experience, and is a concept that has been developed over a long period of time by Japan’s predecessors.

"In my dialogues with my counterparts from various countries, when I officially took up my duties as Ambassador to Lithuania in November 2021, I was once again convinced that it is in this difficult period that Japan should take the lead and conduct well-intentioned cultural diplomacy, which I believe is the strength of Japanese diplomacy," said Mr. Ozaki. “I believe it is a way of thinking that is needed in this new era of international society, when we find it difficult to unite around a single set of values", he added.

Ozaki emphasized that Japan, which has continued to recover with the support of the international community after its defeat in World War II, will continue to contribute to the development of the international order through "dialogue and cooperation," which is one of the strengths of Japan’s diplomacy

To commemorate the visit to the University, the Rector of MRU, Prof. Dr. Inga Žalėnienė, handed over the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, translated into Japanese and other foreign languages, to the Ambassador of Japan, T. Ozaki.  The Rector also told the Ambassador about MRU's cooperation with Japanese universities and shared about the future plans of MRU.

Tetsu Ozaki was born in 1958 in Nagasaki Prefecture. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, he started his career in the investment bank “Nomura” Group. In 2008, after “Nomura” Group acquired the US investment bank “Lehman Brothers”, which had gone bankrupt during the financial crisis, T. Ozaki was responsible for restructuring the Western model of the bank business into the Asian model, especially in foreign countries. In 2016 he was appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the “Nomura” Group. In this position he focused on the process changing from conflict between the Western and Japanese thinking to a complementary thinking.

10 years ago he started studying Chinese classics in an oriental philosophy circle and has been practicing Zazen meditation as a daily routine for 7 years. In 2020 he became one of the founders of the "Japan Liberal Arts Promotion Committee" and until 2021 chaired an online school exploring the origins of the Japanese mind, which seeks to put the Japanese liberal arts into practice.

Appointed as Ambassador of Japan to Lithuania in October 2021, Mr. Ozaki is actively contributing to the development of political and economic relations between Lithuania and Japan, as well as cultural exchanges and people-to-people connections