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Council on Foreign Relations Spotlight on Japan
Spring 2014

Japan Program Events

Promoting Nuclear Nonproliferation

On April 25, Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, outlined his efforts to forge new initiatives in the field of nuclear disarmament. As one of only two cities to experience the detonation of a nuclear bomb, Yuzaki said that Hiroshima can play a unique role in advancing global nuclear disarmament negotiations and convincing other nations of the terrible human costs that accompany nuclear weapon use.


Bending Adversity

On March 18, David Pilling, Asia editor of the Financial Times, shared his observations of Japan, its regional relationships, and the challenges that lie ahead. Pilling discussed the findings of his new book, Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival, inspired by Japan's recovery after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters of March 11, 2011.


Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story

On March 13, the Japan program hosted a film screening and discussion of Live Your Dream, a touching story about the life of Taylor Anderson, who dedicated herself to teaching English in Japan via the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program and lived her dream right up to the events of March 11, 2011. Andy Anderson, Taylor's father, described the work of the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund in helping students, schools, and families in the Ishinomaki area recover from the disasters. The director, Regge Life, discussed the making of the film.


After the screening, there was a panel discussion on civil society initiatives in the wake of the March 11 triple disasters. James Gannon from the Japan Center for International Exchange gave an update on the state of philanthropic giving in Japan, and Paige Cottingham-Streater from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission spoke about educational exchanges and the JET program. Masato Otaka from the Embassy of Japan and James Zumwalt from the U.S. State Department described government initiatives to encourage more Japanese and American students to study abroad.


Recent Policy Commentary

Sheila A. Smith is CFR's senior fellow for Japan studies and director of the Japan studies program.

Nouveau Asia and Giving Kids

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sheila Smith, and Anish Goel discussed the challenges and opportunities for President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia" strategy ahead of the president's trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Listen to New America's Weekly Wonk podcast »

President Obama and Japan-South Korean Relations

Smith says President Obama's Asia trip should strengthen some important relationships and stimulate constructive attention on a diplomatic logjam between Tokyo and Seoul. Read the Asan Forum article »

North Korea's Role in Japan's Strategic Thinking

In her testimony before the Senate foreign relations subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific affairs, Smith discussed the strategic importance of the U.S. relationship with Japan and South Korea. Read the Senate testimony »

From Asia Unbound

On the Asia Unbound blog, six CFR experts analyze issues emerging in Asia today. Sheila A. Smith analyzes Japan's domestic politics and foreign policy. Subscribe to Smith's blog posts via RSS »

Anxiety as the President Heads to Asia

Rather than declare President Obama's trip to Asia doomed from the start, it might be wise to consider on balance the accomplishments as well as the limitations of U.S. policy initiatives in Asia. Read the post »

The President as Facilitator in Chief

President Obama should continue to facilitate a trilateral conversation on regional security cooperation, but it will be up to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Park Geun-hye to develop a concrete agenda for restoring trust between their two nations. Read the post »

Japan's Painful Choice on the Ukraine Crisis

Japan's energy dependence on Russia makes the idea of sanctions troubling. Yet Tokyo is also particularly sensitive these days to the global opposition to seizing territory through the use of force. Read the post »

East China Sea Update

In the East China Sea, the acute political tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over the Senkaku Islands have not abated nor has Beijing responded to Japan's call for developing maritime risk reduction mechanisms. Read the post »

The above articles are also available via Forbes Asia, where Sheila Smith is a contributor. Her profile page and list of recent articles can be found here:


Japan Program in the News

PBS NewsHour: "What's The Beef? U.S. and Japan Tackle Thorny Trade Issues During Obama's Visit" (April 24, 2014)

CNBC: "Obama Reassures Ally Japan, No Breakthrough on Trade" (April 24, 2014)

Voice of Russia: "U.S. Wants to Demonstrate Long-Standing Interest in Asia-Pacific Region" (April 24, 2014)

NBC's Today Show: "Obama Greeted in Japan by Caroline Kennedy" (April 23, 2014)

Christian Science Monitor: "Obama' Asia Trip: A Balancing Act, Amid Doubts About U.S. Resolve" (April 22, 2014)

Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese): "歴訪オバマ氏、中国にどう向き合う…同盟国注視" (April 22, 2014) "Ukraine Crisis Puts Pivot in Question" (April 21, 2014)

Asahi Shimbun (Japanese): "日韓復縁、霧の中 オバマ大統領仲介、3カ国首脳会談 対米改善を優先、残る不信" (March 27, 2014)

Mainichi Shimbun (Japanese): "クローズアップ2014:日米韓首脳会談 「日韓」展望開けず" (March 27, 2014)

NHK News (Japanese): "日米韓首脳会談へ 米専門家 オバマ氏が強い意志で橋渡し役 良い第一歩" (March 21, 2014)


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