18 MAY 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.
Q1. The face of China and Japan relations has changed in recent times. Discuss.
- Recently, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first Japanese leader in 15 years to attend the Chinese Embassy’s annual National Day celebrations in Tokyo. Since then, Mr. Abe and Mr. Xi have met on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.
- Japan and China have one of the most tense, yet economically intertwined relationships. Beijing believes Japan is yet to properly atone for its brutal invasion of China in the run-up to and during the Second World War. In the post-War alignment Japan has remained firmly tethered to the U.S., often putting it in an adversarial position vis-à-vis China. Perhaps the most challenging point of contention is the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands as they are known in China and Japan, respectively, in the East China Sea.
- Nonetheless, Japan was an important player in China’s economic rise, which saw the country’s transformation from an agrarian backwater to a global manufacturing powerhouse. According to the Japan External Trade Organisation, China-Japan trade stands at about $350 billion (by comparison, India-China trade is $84.44 billion).
- China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second largest economy and has also eclipsed it as a global geostrategic player. And the two countries continue to vie for influence in the region, with Southeast Asia in particular emerging as a theatre for this competition.
- U.S. President Donald Trump’s America First policy and the tariffs he has slapped on some $60 billion worth of Chinese products have also impacted Japan, which despite its status as a U.S. ally, failed to get any exemption from new duties on steel and aluminium. This is only the latest example of the increasingly uncertain U.S. policy towards Japan and the wider region. The result is that Japan needs to keep ties with China on an even keel, at least until it can be more sure of the U.S.’s intentions.
- Japan is also hoping that China can use its influence with North Korea to highlight Japan’s concerns, at a time when Tokyo feels somewhat shut out of the flurry of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula.
- And finally the many Japanese businesses invested in China, that have on occasion suffered punitive measures from Beijing, always welcome stronger bilateral ties.
- Conversely for China, the idea of Japan’s leader asking for support on North Korea plays well domestically as an example of Beijing’s international clout. Moreover, given the simmering possibility of a trade war with the U.S., better ties with economic heavyweight Japan are also in China’s interests. In addition, China is keen on getting Japan to play ball with its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Although initially reluctant to participate in the BRI, Tokyo has signalled that it is open to the initiative as long as proposed infrastructure projects meet the criteria of being “open, transparent, fair and economically feasible.” In this way Japan can keep on the right side of China without necessarily committing to participation. Similarly, the Japan-backed Asian Development Bank is exploring co-financing projects with the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment bank, even though Japan has formally steered clear of it.
Q2. In the age of growing influence of all forms of media the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has become more important than before. Comment
- The I&B Ministry is an apex body of the government to formulate and administer the rules, regulations and laws relating to information, broadcasting policy, and administration as enshrined in the transaction of business rules.There has been a tremendous growth in private media in all forms including television, FM radio, Web portals, and print and social media. With such a proliferation of private players in the media, the government, through the I&B Ministry with its vast information and broadcasting infrastructure, should ensure the optimal utilisation of this world and engagement with all the stakeholders.
- The government’s role in making information available to the people in inaccessible areas continues to remain paramount. Social media has become an integral part of our life. Our lives have been impacted with 24×7 news channels, an expanded citizen consciousness and a digital revolution. Not only does news break and spread on social media, but wars on social media shape the action on TV screens, newspaper pages, dinner tables, streets, and thus the minds and hearts of citizens. The protests in the wake of any gang rape are examples of how social media shapes action. Therefore, the challenges posed by social media to the government are huge, and so are the opportunities. Public perception, public order and national security are closely interlinked. The government needs to shape public perceptions so that they reflect the reality and amplify the effectiveness of governance.
- At present, there are many issues engaging the Ministry, such as the outreach of AIR and Doordarshan; planning manpower; budgetary requirements; issues relating to the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill of 2011; cross-media ownership/cross-media monopoly in various segments; the role of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity and its spread amongst small, medium, and regional language newspapers; ensuring that the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune becomes a centre of excellence in filming; expanding the FM radio network; the spread of community radio services; policy for introduction of mobile television; rationalisation of spectrum requirements for various broadcasting services; conversion of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication into an international media university; coordination issues with cable and satellite channels; liaising with the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, and the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council to integrate issues in TV programming and time bands.In a country like India, the media needs to be more responsible and self-regulated considering the sensitivities involved.
- Given the multitude of issues engaging the public’s attention, and to develop a holistic and integrated approach, this is a great opportunity for the I&B Ministry to prepare, plan and evolve a media strategy which can be skilfully executed in a proactive manner through various media platforms. There is a vast pool of talent in the Ministry to execute and effectively implement the objectives of the Ministry.