On December 8, CFR and the Asahi Shimbun cosponsored a half-day workshop in Tokyo at which experts weighed in on the aftermath of March 11 and its effect on U.S.-Japan relations. Keynote speaker and CFR President Richard N. Haass praised the resilience and strength of the Japanese people after March 11 and stressed that the strong bond between the two allies will be vital as the U.S.-Japan alliance faces a new era of global unpredictability and complexity. Yoichi Funabashi, former editor in chief of the Asahi Shimbun, suggested that Japan should first examine problems with past policies before taking on an expanded global presence, citing the Fukushima nuclear crisis and Japan's many government reshuffles. Read the Transcript »
Michael A. Levi, CFR David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment, expressed surprise at the relatively limited consequences that Fukushima has had for global nuclear development and stressed the need for the United States, Japan, and other allies to begin a more integrated conversation about energy security and climate change. CFR Senior Fellow for Japan Studies Sheila A. Smith argued that the United States and Japan also need to take the lessons learned from their joint response to March 11 and update their strategic review of the alliance to more adequately respond to new regional challenges. The afternoon panel was moderated by Yoichi Kato, national security correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun. Read the Transcript »
Roundtable Series: What Do Japan's "New Politics" Mean for U.S. Alliance Management?
On November 22, Kurt M. Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, discussed how Japan's domestic changes are influencing the U.S. ability to work with Tokyo on a host of alliance cooperation issues. Campbell noted that the Democratic Party of Japan has had to deal with a series of unprecedented crises since coming into power in August 2009, and that Japan's politics remain very much in transition. While Campbell recognized that recovery will remain the main priority for Japan, he hoped that the United States and Japan could build on the strategic momentum gained from their coordinated response to March 11.
On January 12, J. Thomas Schieffer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, discussed his alliance management experience involving the Futenma relocation, North Korean talks, and three leadership transitions in Japan. He compared his time in Tokyo to his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Australia to stress the importance of developing strong personal relationships to the vitality of the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is about to reshuffle his cabinet, and my friends here in DC are looking at me in amazement, asking "not again?!" The real story is less about these faces, and more about the frequency with which Japan's top policymakers change. Read more »
2011, of course, will be forever remembered as the year of Japan's "triple disaster." Only time will tell what this devastating experience will mean for the Japanese people and their society. Read more »
In these early hours of Japanese reaction to Kim Jong-il's death, Prime Minister Noda's approach of working closely with Washington and Seoul to ensure Japan is prepared for any instability is wise. Read more »
Up until last week, the Japanese and U.S. governments were trying hard to persuade Okinawans that this would in the end dramatically reduce the U.S. military footprint, and ameliorate many of the issues that have confounded local governments. Today, I doubt that anyone in Okinawa is willing to listen. Read more »