_It is the fate of fallen blossoms to adorn the pond in the shade of the rocks._ (Book 20-4513)
_The grasses worn away by the waves breaking over this island may grow once more._ (Book 2-181)
_Will I never again see that path of azaleas in full bloom as the water rushes round the rocks in the cove._ (Book 2-185)
These poems reflect an ancient culture in which an island built in the middle of a pond was viewed as a garden and stones were arranged around ponds to evoke the wave-beaten shore. Since an island was a garden floating in the sea, gardens were modeled on seascapes. From then on, images of the sea formed the keynote of the history of the Japanese garden.
One of the world_s oldest treatises on landscape gardening techniques, the Sakuteiki, dates from the late Heian period (794_1185). The basic concept of the Sakuteiki is that _stones arranged by man can never surpass their natural state in the mountains and rivers._ When designing a garden, therefore, one must follow the dictates of the stones,_ i.e. the laws of nature; the garden must be subordinate to nature because it is an artificial creation. This concept of creating something just like nature was the essence of the Japanese philosophy of gardening developed in the Heian period. In view of this integration of the island and the garden in the historical consciousness of the Japanese, the ideal of a beautiful garden island represents the core of Japan_s identity.
Making the West Pacific Region a Yen Bloc
What concrete form should this identity take? First we need to determine its focal point in Japan- the new location for the capital to be decided next year or the Aichi Expo in 2005 might provide the required model. Internationally, we should consider abandoning the conventional strategic thinking based on horizontal (east-west) systems such as the five axes of Japan, USA, China, EU and Russia, the three axes of Japan, USA and China, or the two axes of Japan and the USA, replacing this with a vertical (south-north) system. Starting with Japan, the development of garden islands will take place in the south, where most of the world s islands are located. This is naturally linked to the aim of turning this _planet of water_ into beautiful garden islands. In view of this, it would surely be best to take the first step in the West Pacific Region, a crescent in which many of the world s islands are situated, for the West Pacific is a _Sea of Fertile Crescent_ perfectly suited for development into garden islands.
Now that Asia and Oceania account for an increasingly high proportion of Japan_s imports and exports, the West Pacific Region has already become economically more important to Japan that the United States. With the greatest ethnic variety in the world, the West Pacific is a region of considerable cultural diversity. However, although this region embracing Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania has all the required conditions for cultural cooperation, it still uses the dollar, the currency of the world_s biggest debtor nation, as its key currency. As the bitter experience of the successive financial crises resulting from the use of the dollar as short-term capital have shown, this situation is fraught with danger. In view of the huge scale of Japan_s commercial activities in this region, the time has come for us to increase the scope of yen transactions and build an economic bloc that can ensure the stability of foreign exchange. There can be no more worthwhile task for the maritime nation of Japan than the creation of a peaceful region of economic cooperation_a Great Peace Zone_in the west Pacific.