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Japan’s Reaching Out to the Global South

  Feb 16, 2023

Japan’s Reaching Out to the Global South

Q. Why is this in news?

A. Japan has taken the initiative to raise the Global South to the top of the G7 agenda.

  • Japan is hosting G7 summit 2023 at Hiroshima. With India wanting to make the voice of the Global South heard at this year’s G20 summit, there is much new room for global political collaboration between Delhi and Tokyo.

Q. What is Global South?


  • The term ‘Global South’ began by loosely referring to those countries that were left out of the industrialisation era and had a conflict of ideology with the capitalist and communist countries, accentuated by the Cold War.
    • It includes countries that are mostly in Asia, Africa and South America.
    • Moreover, Global North is defined essentially by an economic division between the rich and poor countries.
      • Global North’ refers loosely to countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
  • ‘Global South’ is significant because of its large population, rich cultures, and abundant natural resources.
    • Understanding the Global South is important for addressing global issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.

Q. What are the Concerns of the Global South?

  • Poverty and Inequality:
    • Many countries in the Global South struggle with extreme poverty, which can manifest in a range of issues such as malnutrition, lack of access to education, and inadequate healthcare.
    • The Global South is often marked by significant inequalities, both within countries and between countries. For example, there may be significant disparities in wealth and access to resources between urban and rural areas, or between different ethnic or socioeconomic groups.
  • Environmental Challenges:
    • Many countries in the Global South are particularly vulnerable to environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution. These issues can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of local communities.
  • Political Instability:
    • Political instability is one of the major issues in some countries in the Global South, with challenges ranging from coups and civil wars to corruption and weak governance.
  • Lack of Infrastructure, Education and Health:
    • Many countries struggle to provide access to quality education for their populations, which can limit economic opportunities and perpetuate poverty and inequality.
    • Health issues are also a major concern, where access to quality healthcare may be limited or non-existent. This can lead to a range of health issues, including infectious diseases, malnutrition, and chronic conditions.

Q. Why Does Japan Want to Reach Out to the Global South?


  • Japan Fears Ukraine-Like Implications:
    • Japan has transformed its foreign and security policies, since it fears similar Ukraine-Like Implications.
    • The Ukraine war, coming on top of the long-standing threats from North Korea and mounting security challenges from China, has pushed Japan towards sweeping reform of Japan’s defence policy.
  • Diplomacy and Defense:
    • Japan thinks that the war in Ukraine has made it recognise the essential relationship between diplomacy and defence.
    • Diplomacy needs to be backed by defence capabilities and reinforcing defence capabilities will also lead to persuasiveness in carrying out our diplomatic efforts.
  • Acknowledging Negligence from West:
    • The West has neglected political engagement with the Global South in recent decades.
      • In the Cold War, the West competed fiercely with Russia for strategic influence across the Global South.
    • After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the G7 simply took the Global South for granted and was more interested in lecturing rather than talking to the leaders of the Global South.
    • This, in turn, left much room for China and Russia to play in the developing world.

Q. What is the Way Forward for India?


  • Championing the Global South today would demand more active Indian engagement with the messy regional politics within the developing world.
  • India must also come to terms with the fact that the Global South is not a coherent group and does not have a single shared agenda. There is much differentiation within the South today in terms of wealth and power, needs and capabilities.
    • This demands a tailored Indian policy to different regions and groups of the developing world.
  • India is eager to become a bridge between the North and the South by focusing on practical outcomes rather than returning to old ideological battles. If India can translate this ambition into effective policy, there will be no contradiction between the simultaneous pursuit of universal and particular goals.