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Spotlight on Japan Summer 2016

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Summer 2016

Spotlight on Japan

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A Personal Reflection on Obama's Visit to Hiroshima

Sheila A. Smith

An entry message written by U.S. President Barack Obama is seen on a guestbook after he visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (KYODO/REUTERS).

An entry message written by U.S. President Barack Obama is seen on a guestbook after he visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (KYODO/REUTERS).

Sheila Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), reflects on President Barack Obama's historic visit to Hiroshima and how far the United States and Japan have come since World War II. As voices of the wartime generation grow faint, she calls for leaders across the world to take heed of Obama’s message to find courage in our shared humanity. She also shared her views on New York Public Radio's Brian Lehrer Show, NPR's All Things Considered, and Morning Edition with both Renee Montagne and David GreeneRead the reflection »

 

For Japan, a Summit to Remember
Sheila A. Smith
(POOL/REUTERS)  

(POOL/REUTERS)

 

The Group of Seven (G7) summit—held in Ise-Shima, Japan, from May 26 to 27—came at a time of rising strategic tensions in Asia. In this Expert Brief on CFR.org, Smith discusses Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's desire to see the G7 reassert its role of global leadership in an increasingly complex world. Read more »

 
Looking Back to Look Ahead
Sheila A. Smith
(CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)  

(CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)

 

In World Politics ReviewSmith places Obama's visit to Hiroshima in the context of the evolving history of the U.S.-Japan alliance. This visit is more than just symbolic; Tokyo and Washington are strengthening their long-standing partnership to guard against regional tensions.  Read more »

 

How Congress Can Support the Rebalance to Asia
 
(U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION)  

(U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION)

 

Smith testified at a U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on China and the U.S. “rebalance to Asia.” In her March 30 testimony [PDF], Smith emphasized the critical role Congress can play during this tumultuous U.S. presidential election to reassure U.S. allies and partners. Elizabeth Economy, CFR senior fellow and director for Asia studies, also joined the hearing.  Watch the video »

 
Evaluating the U.S.-Japan Security Relationship
 
(SASAKAWA PEACE FOUNDATION USA)  

(SASAKAWA PEACE FOUNDATION USA)

 

Smith moderated a May 6 panel with former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former Japanese Minister of Defense Satoshi Morimoto at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA's third annual security forum. The speakers provided an overview of the U.S.-Japan alliance and its prospects in light of the new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines and Japan’s security legislation that came into effect this year.  Watch the video »

 

JAPAN PROGRAM EVENTS

The Memory Trap
 
(KAVEH SARDARI)  

(KAVEH SARDARI)

 

Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at Boston Universityspoke at CFR on May 23 as part of the Northeast Asian Nationalisms and Alliance Management project. He explained his concept of the memory trap—the persistent yet evolving history debates that have limited diplomatic cooperation among the nations of northeast Asia.

 
China-Japan Economic Ties: Back on Track?
 
(KAVEH SARDARI)  

(KAVEH SARDARI)

 

On June 1, Kiyoyuki Seguchi, research director at the Canon Institute for Global Studies, shared his analysis on the Chinese economy and prospects for China-Japan economic relations. He spoke as part of the Northeast Asian Nationalisms and Alliance Management project.

 

JAPAN PROGRAM IN ACTION

Japan on Film
 
(SASAKAWA PEACE FOUNDATION USA)  

(SASAKAWA PEACE FOUNDATION USA)

 

Smith participated in an April 6 panel organized by Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA to discuss American perceptions of Japan through film. She was joined by Jeffrey Lyons, Emmy Award–winning movie critic, as well as Yoko Narahashi, casting director and producer of The Last Samurai, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Emperor. The presider was Frederick Katayama, anchor and producer of Reuters Television. Read more »

 
Intimate Rivals at the U.S. Air War College
 
(AIR WAR COLLEGE)  

(AIR WAR COLLEGE)

 

Smith shared findings from her book Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China at the U.S. Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 15. She was joined by more than sixty officers from various branches of the U.S. military.

 
Understanding Japan’s Strategic Calculus
 
(PRINCETON UNIVERSITY)  

(PRINCETON UNIVERSITY)

 

Smith gave an April 20 talk as part of the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program at Princeton University. She explored the role of the United States in the evolving competition between China and Japan, and how Tokyo’s changing strategy could raise new expectations for how to manage Washington’s most important Asian alliance. The talk was moderated by Thomas Christensen, William P. Boswell professor of world politics of peace and war at Princeton University. Read more »

 
Harvard Symposium: The Future of East Asia
 
(HARVARD UNIVERSITY)  

(HARVARD UNIVERSITY)

 

SmithAkio Takahara, professor at the University of Tokyo, Victor Cha, professor at Georgetown University and senior advisor for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Zheng Wang, associate professor at Seton Hall University, discussed the trajectory of East Asian politics and diplomacy. This April 29 event was presided over by Susan Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer professor of Japanese politics at Harvard University.  Read more »

 
Ryozo Kato Award for Service to the U.S.-Japan Alliance
 
(JOY YOUNG)  

(JOY YOUNG)

 

Smith participated in the May 2 ceremony for Ryozo Kato Award for Service to the U.S.-Japan Alliance, established in 2008 in honor of Ryozo Kato, Japanese ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2008. This year's awardees were Emma Chanlett-Avery, coordinator and specialist in Asian Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, and Shuji Maeda, political counselor at the Embassy of Japan.

 

RECENT WRITING ON JAPAN

2016 Opens With a Bang
Sheila A. Smith/Charles McClean
(KYODO/REUTERS)  

(KYODO/REUTERS)

 

In Comparative Connections, Smith and Charles McClean, PhD student at the University of California, San Diego, highlight the regional and domestic challenges the United States and Japan face in 2016. The authors examine how the two countries dealt with North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, China’s continuous maritime assertiveness, the base relocation issue in Okinawa, and the “Trump shocks” caused by Donald Trump's rhetoric on Japan. Read more [PDF] »

 
Asian Powers' New Trilateral Dynamic
Sheila A. Smith
(KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS)  

(KIM KYUNG-HOON/REUTERS)

 

The track 1.5 trilateral meeting, organized by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, recently released a conference report. In the report, published in American Foreign Policy Interests, Smith emphasizes the need for a formal discussion among Beijing, Tokyo, and Washington to ensure the future prosperity and stability of Asia.  Read more »

 
Trump's Plan for Japan Would Be a Nightmare for Asia
Sheila A. Smith
(CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)  

(CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)

 

Trump has said that he would consider ending the U.S. commitment to Japan’s defense and encouraging it to develop its own nuclear arsenal. In an essay for VoxSmith warns that such action would not only be a nightmare scenario for Japan, but would profoundly alter the strategic dynamics that have maintained peace in the Asia-Pacific for generations.  Read more »

 

FROM ASIA UNBOUND

 

On the Asia Unbound blog, CFR experts analyze issues emerging in Asia today. 

 
A Trilateral on the Mend
Sheila A. Smith

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