“ How to tackle the weaponization of economics (energy, food, etc.) ”
● As a result of the failure to contain authoritarian great powers such as China and Russia and bring them into the democratic world order based on free trade and the rule of law, the optimistic view that ‘economic interdependence prevents conflict’ has become a thing of the past.
● On the contrary, economic interdependence is being weaponised in reverse, as seen in Russia’s blocking of Ukrainian grain exports, the economic sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russia, and Russia’s retaliatory restrictions on natural gas exports to Western countries. In Japan, an event that is still fresh in people’s minds is when China imposed restrictions on exports of rare earths to Japan over the Senkaku Islands issue.
● To avoid the weaknesses caused by such interdependence, countries have made conspicuous efforts to establish economic blocks through trade restrictions, bring home production from abroad, and otherwise boost self-sufficiency in various ways.
● Is it the case that private-sector companies have no choice but to passively adapt to these heightened geopolitical risks and tighter regulations? Or is there a positive role that they can play in conflict prevention and tension reduction?