The Butterfly Project
-A possibility of showing a solution to the North Korea problem-

Masahiro Akiyama
Chairman, SSDP
President, Akiyama Associates

I participated in the Future Consensus Forum that was held in Inchon, Korea from November 25 to 27. From Japan, 4 political leaders, ISHIBA Shigeru, YAMAGUCHI Tsuyoshi, TAIRA Masaaki and KITAGAMI Keiro, and 5 experts, HATTA Tatsuo, MAEDA Tadashi, DAI Elbio, WATANABE Tsuneo and I attended the meeting.

A new institute in Seoul, the Future Consensus Institute (Yeosijae), organized this forum to pursue the establishment of an economic cooperation arrangement in Northeast Asia based upon the Butterfly Project.

The Butterfly Project is a plan for integrating Eurasia and North America into a single economic system by establishing a logistics network. The right butterfly wing consists of the One Belt One Road and the Northern Sea Route (the Northeast Passage) and the left wing is formed by the NSR (the North West Passage) and the Atlantic Ocean-the Panama Chanel-the Pacific Ocean route. Countries making up the body of the butterfly, Korea, Japan, Northeast China and Russia's Far East should unite and endeavor to realize a Northeast Asia economic cooperation arrangement.

There are many difficult problems with this project. Will China, which is promoting the One Belt One Road, join this project? Does the Russia's Far East compete economically with the other countries? Can Japan and Korea, who confront each other over critical historical issues, cooperate?

The most difficult problem, however, is the North Korea issue. No unity of Northeast Asia in the economic sphere can be realized as long as North Korea is isolated.

I didn't just participate in the forum, but I am also deeply engaged in the project. I believe that this project might provide a solution to the issues with North Korea and the worsening relations between Japan and Korea.

I will report frequently on developments with this project and the forum.