Takako Doi: ‘Politics, Future, and Hope’
The underpinnings of our lives is hope. If we have the smallest margin of hope, we can continue to exist. I believe what is sought from politics is to expand that hope even by the smallest margin. When we think of it, however, it seems politics has cast a shadow over people’s hopes. I cannot ask help but ask myself if there has ever been so much urgency embodied in the words “future of hope.” However, even knowing the absolute destructive capacity of nuclear weapons, and having experienced its atrocity, mankind still has not been able to walk the road to the destruction of nuclear arms. To the contrary, some countries see the retention of nuclear arms as the symbol of a national power. In the 21st century, are we going to gain richness with science and technology, or will humanity be subjugated to science and technology. We will be faced with the choice of one or the other. I believe the advances of telecommunication technology will present us with similar choices in the future. Fifty years after the war, the Japanese society is caught in a very perplexing stagnation. When I look back on the last 50 years of Japanese history, I am beset by the deepest soul searching and painful frustration, when I find that we Japanese have not been able to overcome our mistakes on our own volition. We still have not been able to reach a reconciliation with many of our Asian friends. Politicians should speak of the future, of ethics, and life. A discussion of hope should be based on fundamental principles. In particular, politicians must speak with children and young people and women if we are to retain hope for the future. Politicians must be accountable for their decisions, and they must also question the criteria in which their responsibility would be assessed. That is why our enlightened forebears and predecessors who have translated ideals into reality continue to be respected and be a source of encouragement. Emmanuel Kant wrote, “Truly lasting peace is not an empty ideal, but a challenge given to us.” This challenge will be solved gradually and we will eventually reach our goal. We must all share a firm resolve to realize our goals. The critical stimulus for that will be the recognition of human rights and coexistence. However, there are many problems that face us. But when we think of how we can respond to such difficulties and challenges, I question where we can place our starting point. It is at this fundamental question that the future of hope must be questioned. That is the question I entertain for myself and which I believe has to be resolved.