Spotlight on Japan

January 29, 2010


For too long, the U.S. debate over regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific has focused on U.S. interests, and has not taken into account the energy and focus of creating more effective regional institutions and agendas among Asian countries. The Council on Foreign Relations' New Regional Security Architecture for Asia project brought together experts from Japan, South Korea, China and the United States in a trans-Pacific dialogue that culminated in eight essays that offer the U.S. policy community a window into the rapidly expanding opportunities for Washington to engage more forcefully and more deeply in the effort to build relationships designed to address shared challenges.

This project has been made possible by grants from the Robina Foundation, the United States-Japan Foundation, and the Korea Foundation, and by support from CFR's International Institutions and Global Governance program.


The Japan Studies program was delighted to offer two roundtable discussions on the domestic challenges within Japan and their impact on Japan's foreign policy choices. The first roundtable, A Conversation with Koichiro Matsuura, examined the former director-general's ten-year leadership at UNESCO and Japan's capacity for international leadership in the years ahead. At the second meeting, A Conversation with Shigefumi Matsuzawa and Hirokazu Nakaima, governors of Kanagawa Prefecture and Okinawa Prefecture, respectively, discussed the U.S. military presence in Japan and argued the need for new approaches on environmental management within the framework of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.


President Obama's trip to Asia offered an opportunity for the United States to reshape its relationship with Japan in the face of "historic" political change. In her Washington Post op-ed, Sheila A. Smith says the relationship can no longer remain static or isolated from the tremendous global and regional changes afoot.


Asia Unbound is a new blog where CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today. Sheila A. Smith's most recent entries include, "Nago Election Ushers in 'Plan B' on Futenma," which discusses the impact of the election on relocation plans for Futenma, and "The Hatoyama Cabinet Changes a Key Player," which analyzes what is stake in the current Diet session.

A Conversation with Shigefumi Matsuzawa and Hirokazu Nakaima

November 5, 2009, in Washington, DC
A Conversation with Shigefumi Matsuzawa and Hirokazu Nakaima with Shigefumi Matsuzawa, governor, Kanagawa Prefectural Government, and Hirokazu Nakaima, governor, Okinawa Prefectural Government

A Conversation with Koichiro Matsuura

October 29, 2009, in New York City
A Conversation with Koichiro Matsuura, then director-general, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)