Experts

Sheila A. Smith

Senior Fellow for Japan Studies

Programs

About the Expert

Expert Bio

Sheila A. Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She is the author of Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (Columbia University Press, 2015) and Japan's New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance (Council on Foreign Relations, June 2014). Her current research focuses on how geostrategic change in Asia is shaping Japan's strategic choices. In the fall of 2014, Smith began a project on Northeast Asian Nationalisms and Alliance Management.

Smith is a regular contributor to the CFR blog Asia Unbound, and frequent contributor to major media outlets in the United States and Asia. She joined CFR from the East-West Center in 2007, where she directed a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. She was a visiting scholar at Keio University in 2007-08, where she researched Japan’s foreign policy towards China, supported by the Abe Fellowship. Smith has been a visiting researcher at two leading Japanese foreign and security policy think tanks, the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus.

Smith is vice chair of the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange (CULCON), a bi-national advisory panel of government officials and private sector members. She also serves on the advisory committee for the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Asian Studies Department of Georgetown University and serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. She earned her MA and PhD degrees from the department of political science at Columbia University.

Affiliations: 

CULCON/Japan-United States Friendship Association, vice chair
East-West Center, consultant
Georgetown University, adjunct professor
Guidepoint Global Advisors, advisor

Current Projects

  • Asia

    Experts discuss the rise of China and the U.S.-Japan alliance.
  • Asia

    Experts discuss the economics of Asia in the context of the U.S.-Japan relationship.
  • Asia

    Following the agreement reached on the Trans-Pacific Partnership by the United States and eleven other countries, Council on Foreign Relations experts assessed the trade deal’s consequences for the global trade regime, geopolitics, and the international economy.
  • Japan

    Experts discuss the leadership style, personality, and policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  • Asia

    Experts discuss the U.S. alliance system in East Asia.
  • Asia

    Experts discuss the foreign policy priorities of recently elected leaders in Asia.
  • Asia

    CFR Senior Fellow Sheila A. Smith introduces her new book, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China.
  • Asia

    CFR Senior Fellow Sheila A. Smith joins CFR President Richard N. Haass to introduce her new book, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China.
  • North Korea

    Bonnie S. Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and CFR Senior Fellow Sheila A. Smith join Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, to discuss Chinese and Japanese perceptions towards North Korea since the death of Kim Jong-il.
  • Disasters

  • United States

    This workshop was cosponsored by Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Asahi-Shimbun. It took place in Washington, DC.Widely acclaimed as the most respected and credible source of news in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, the Asahi Shimbun is one of Japan's oldest and largest national newspapers, with a daily circulation of over eight million. Based in Tokyo, its overseas network includes five general bureaus covering America from Washington DC, Europe from London, the Middle East from Cairo, Asia from Bangkok, and China from Beijing, with an additional bureau newly opened in Havana, Cuba, in 2007. It has a presence in about 30 locations worldwide with 53 correspondents. The company has a news website, Asahi.com.This event has also been made possible by the generosity of the following corporate sponsors of CFR's Japan program: Canon USA, Mitsui & Company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Mitsubishi International Corporation, Sony Corporation of America, and Toyota Motor North America. Sessions: The United States and Japan at 50: Remarks by Yoichi Funabashi Speaker: Yoichi Funabashi, Editor-in-Chief, The Asahi ShimbunPresider: Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations Where We Are Today Panelists: Yoshihide Soeya, Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, and Professor of Political Science, Keio UniversityEdward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign RelationsSheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign RelationsYoichi Kato, National Security Correspondent, The Asahi Shimbun New Opportunities, New Synergies, New Challenges Panelists: Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc.Fumihiko Yoshida, Editorial Writer, The Asahi Shimbun and Lecturer, Princeton UniversitySebastian Mallaby, Director, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, and Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics, Council on Foreign RelationsPresider: Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations Keynote Address Speaker: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
  • China

  • Defense and Security

    This symposium was cosponsored by Council on Foreign Relations and the Asahi-Shimbun. Widely acclaimed as the most respected and credible source of news in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, the Asahi Shimbun is one of Japan's oldest and largest national newspapers, with a daily circulation of over eight million. Based in Tokyo, its overseas network includes five general bureaus covering America from Washington DC, Europe from London, the Middle East from Cairo, Asia from Bangkok, and China from Beijing, with an additional bureau newly opened in Havana, Cuba, in 2007. It has a presence in about 30 locations worldwide with 53 correspondents. The company also broadcasts nationwide in Japan via TV Asahi and has a news website, Asahi.com. This event has also been made possible by the generosity of the following corporate sponsors of CFR's Japan program: Canon USA, Mitsui & Company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Mitsubishi International Corporation, Sony Corporation of America, and Toyota Motor North America. Symposium Summary Report (PDF, 148K) Sessions: Global Transformations and the U.S.-Japan Partnership Introductory Speaker: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign RelationsPanelists: Tanaka Akihiko, Professor of International Politics, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies and Institute of Oriental Culture, University of TokyoMichael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, and Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign RelationsSheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign RelationsPresider: Funabashi Yoichi, Editor-in-Chief, Asahi Shimbun The Global Economy-Instabilities and Reforms Panelists: Takenaka Heizo, Professor and Director, Global Security Research Institute, Keio UniversityRoger M. Kubarych, Henry Kaufman Adjunct Senior Fellow for International Economics and Finance, Council on Foreign RelationsBenn Steil, Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign RelationsPresider: Paul Sheard, Former Global Chief Economist, Lehman Brothers Ensuring Stability in Northeast Asia Panelists: Elizabeth C. Economy, C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign RelationsTanaka Hitoshi, Senior Fellow, Japan Center for International ExchangeGary Samore, Vice President and Director of Studies, Council on Foreign RelationsSheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign RelationsPresider: Evans J.R. Revere, President, Korea Society