Steven Kuo Columnist

In international politics, as in rugby, ignore and underestimate the Japanese at your peril. South Africans — at the receiving end of the greatest sporting upset in history when the Cherry Blossoms trounced the Springboks at the 2015 World Cup — should know this. We should also know that this famous victory was no fluke. It was the result of years of preparation, flawless execution on the day, and a bit of luck.

As in rugby, the Japanese have been working tirelessly for years to understand and work with SA on trade, human security and development. Yet we have ignored Japan’s sincerity and underestimated its economic clout, to our detriment...

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