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Council on Foreign Relations Spotlight on Japan
Fall 2011

Japan Program Events

The foreign policy choices of the United States and Japan will be increasingly influenced by the rise of new global powers. The third and final workshop of the CFR project China and India as Emerging Powers: Challenge or Opportunity for the United States and Japan? brought together leading regional experts to discuss how the emergence of these two new powers is affecting their respective foreign policy choices.

The discussions over the course of the day explored how the rise of China and India is reframing the Asia-Pacific regional agenda, and tackled two difficult questions that inform our national foreign policy debates: can we cooperate with these increasingly influential global actors in solving shared global problems, and can we compete with their economic dynamism? The day concluded with current officials from the U.S. White House and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense discussing the implications for U.S.-Japan policy coordination and the bilateral and regional agenda ahead.

This project is made possible by a generous grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

The Rise of China and India: The Emerging Asia-Pacific Regional Agenda

Zhu Feng, Peking University; Ryosei Kokubun, Keio University; Frank Jannuzi, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Chiharu Takenaka, Rikkyo University; Sheila A. Smith, CFR (presider)

Domestic politics and regional dynamics were the focus of this panel, and all panelists addressed the perception of insecurity that dominates public opinion in China, Japan, and India about future regional relations. The anxieties that abound in each major nation seemed to overshadow the diplomatic dialogue on building new cooperative frameworks for problem solving. However, there was also a rich discussion of the disparate visions of regional tensions, from the maritime concerns seen from the East of continental Asia to the potential for water scarcity in the Himalayas to drive conflicts to the other side of the Eurasian land mass.


Can We Cooperate? Nuclear Nonproliferation and Environmental Protection

Michael J. Green, CSIS; Stuart Levey, CFR; Yasuko Kameyama, National Institute for Environmental Studies; Michael A. Levi, CFR; Elizabeth C. Economy, CFR (presider)

In the second session, panelists turned their attention to two of the greatest global challenges: nonproliferation and climate change. U.S.-Japan cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation has been fruitful to date and continues to grow. Yet, though the United States and Japan have both expended significant effort on climate change agreements in the past, experts recognized that the two allies have not always acted in tandem. Panelists concluded that cooperation with China and India has been sporadic on nonproliferation, while grave doubts remain for significant progress on climate change goals.


Obama's Nuclear Security Initiative

Laura S.H. Holgate, senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and threat reduction for the National Security Staff, discussed the accomplishments of President Obama's nuclear security initiative. Holgate addressed efforts to expand cooperation to prevent the spread of nuclear materials and the agenda of the United States for next year's Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. She also discussed important Asia-Pacific regional issues, including North Korea and post-Fukushima nuclear safety.


Can We Compete? Energy, Innovation, and Economic Growth

Tsutomo Toichi, Institute of Energy Economics, Japan; Carl J. Dahlman, Georgetown University; Adam Segal, CFR (presider)

The tremendous economic growth in China and India over the past decade has raised questions about what this means for U.S. and Japanese global competitiveness. Experts agreed that innovation, good governance, and infrastructure were likely to determine future economic competitiveness in all four nations, but they disagreed on the precise mix of policy priorities. U.S.-Japan competitiveness could be constrained by differences with China and India over rules of the road for global governance, trade, or intellectual property rights.


Structural Shifts and Policy Consequences

Matthew P. Goodman, National Security Staff; Masafumi Ishii, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Nobushige Takamizawa, National Institute for Defense Studies; Sheila Smith, CFR (presider)

Policymakers across the Asia Pacific are preparing for a full diplomatic agenda this fall, from the upcoming APEC meeting in Honolulu on November 8-13 to the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia a week later. Speakers agreed on the need to expand U.S.-Japan cooperation with China, especially in managing peaceful regional relations. However, the strategic needs of both the United States and Japan also require close cooperation with India, not only in East Asia but on a host of global challenges.


Sheila Smith's Recent Writings on Japan

Japan's New Prime Minister

Yoshihiko Noda will need to stitch together a frayed party and a fractured public to lead Japan—and stay in power. Read the Foreign Affairs Article »

A Fiscal Expert Takes Reins in Japan

Prime Minister Noda could be a reassuring presence amid economic and political turmoil, but it's not clear what energy he will have for global affairs. Read the First Take »

Japan's Nuclear Quandary

The short-term prognosis for Japan's electricity supply is uncertain, yet it is the longer term effort to reform energy policy that is vital to resolving the current impasse in Japan's nuclear debate. Read the East Asia Forum Article »

From Asia Unbound

On "Asia Unbound," six CFR experts analyze cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today. Sheila Smith contributes analysis on Japan's leadership transition and the aftermath of the March 11 disasters. Subscribe to Sheila Smith's blog posts on Japan via RSS.

Noda Outlines His Priorities in New York

Let's hope that Prime Minister Noda's calm and clear articulation of his priorities, and of our bilateral agenda for cooperation, sets the tone for our next several months of alliance dialogue. Squabbling over Futenma is an indulgence we can no longer afford. Read more »

Is Japan’s New PM a “Nationalist” or a “Moderate”?

Noda is both a moderate, and a nationalist. At home, in the context of Japan's leadership politics, he is a self-described "midle of the road" politician...His nationalist label in my mind, however, doesn't conjure up extreme views on Japan's wartime behavior, or of conservative ideology. Rather, the prime minister seems quite in the middle of the national axis of ideological positioning. Read more »

The Race to Replace Kan

This is a time of unprecedented challenge for Japan. The DPJ can no longer afford to offer a tentative response to the nation's call for strong and concerted political leadership. Read more »

Japan's Nuclear Quandary

The short-term prognosis for Japan's electricity supply is uncertain, yet it is the longer term effort to reform Japan's energy policy that is the key to resolving the current impasse. Read more »

Japan's Nuclear Quandary (continued)

A broader debate in Japan is unfolding, and the temptation is to draw the battle lines so that industry and government are on one side and Japan's citizens are on the other. But this would be a flawed—and from a policy perspective, deeply damaging—premise. Read more »

A Vote of Confidence by Toyota

Japanese corporations must invest in Tohoku and other regions of Japan that so badly need capital and jobs. Recovery cannot be achieved without private sector leadership, and foreign firms will not invest if Japan's own companies are hesitant to do so. Read more »

Japan's Heroines

For soccer fans, it was a heart-stopping finale. For American fans who have been consumed with the vitality of their women's soccer team, it was so close...But for the people of Japan, it was a miraculous demonstration of what determination and skill can bring. Read more »

Harnessing Technological Prowess for Japan's Recovery

Most impressive is not simply the amazing technology that allowed Tohoku to avoid further loss of life than might be expected, but rather that JR East's story—like many stories one finds in post-March 11 Japan—reflects Japan's capacity to organize that technology in support of a society that seeks to go further and do better at each step of its way forward. Read more »


CFR's Japan Program in the News

NHK: "World Wave Tonight" (September 22, 2011)

The Globe and Mail: "Typhoon Roke Further Ravages Japan, Still Reeling From Tsunami" (September 21, 2011)

Reuters: "Analysis: Japan's PM Noda: Warm to Washington, Wary of China" (September 15, 2011)

BBC World TV: "Newsday" (September 4, 2011)

Voice of America: "On the Line" (September 1, 2011)

Mainichi Shimbun: 日米関係:「野田新首相」でどうなる 米研究員に聞く (August 30, 2011; in Japanese)

ABC Radio Australia: "Japan Lifts Nuclear Evacuation Orders" (August 10, 2011)