The Sasakawa Peace Foundation organized a public seminar featuring Dr. Aaron L. Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, Princeton University on November 1, 2017.
Professor Friedberg is a distinguished scholar in international politics who served as a Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs in the Office of the Vice President from 2003 to 2005. He has published a lot of books and papers, including Beyond Air–Sea Battle: The Debate Over US Military Strategy in Asia (Adelphi series, 2014), and A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia (Norton, 2011).
Recently, He also contributed a special monograph for the SPF entitled “The Authoritarian Challenge: China, Russia and the Threat to the Liberal International Order”.* In this monograph, he examines the deeply rooted factors driving China and Russia to adopt aggressive policies challenging the existing international order and western values, including the resentment, ambition and insecurity of their regimes.
In the course of the seminar, based on the argument of his monograph, Professor Friedberg llustrated the strategies both authoritarian countries have taken in order to survive and preserve their political power, and the implications for the United States and Japan.
* Under the Japan-U.S. Program, the SPF has published a series of special monographs, inviting the distinguished scholars and experts who have been cooperating on various projects of our program as authors. This series aims to raise awareness a wide range of academic and policy topics important to Japan-U.S. relations. PDF file of Professor Friedberg’s monograph is available on our website.
On the October 5th, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the U.S.-Japan Council hosted a panel discussion with six distinguished Asian American state legislators from diverse backgrounds who were participating in the 2017 Asian American Leadership Delegation (AALD) program. The AALD program is funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and implemented by the U.S.-Japan Council, with support from the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators.
The AALD program gives selected state-elected Asian American officials the opportunity to visit Japan for one week to meet and exchange ideas with Japanese political, governmental, business and community leaders at both the national and local levels. It aims to enhance mutual understanding and network building between Japan and the United States.
During the panel discussion, which was moderated by renowned journalist Aiko Doden, delegates talked about their respective political and personal journeys in the United States. Many of the delegates this year have followed non-traditional paths, choosing to become a politician after pursuing different careers. The audience had the opportunity to learn about their personal choices, as well as the important role Asian American politicians play in their political arenas, especially in light of current events. The speakers also reflected upon their week-long experience in Japan.
Dr. Seyed Abbas Araghchi contributed significantly to the establishment of Japan - Iran relations as the Ambassador to Japan from 2007 to 2011. In his recent visit to Japan as the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he held energetic talks with Japan's political and economic leaders. Despite his busy schedule, he kindly accepted our request for an interview.
Jakarta is one of the world's mega cities with the population of ten million. We interviewed Dr. Anies Baswedan, who is set to become the Governor of on 16th October 2017. At the age of 38, he became Indonesia's youngest-ever University Rector. He then went on to serve as the Minister of Education and Culture for two years from 2014 to 2016 under the current government led by President Joko Widodo. We asked him his hopes and ambitions about building a closer cooperative tie between Jakarta and its sister city, Tokyo, and tackling various challenges the city faces as the new Governor of Jakarta.
Northeast India including the State of Nagaland is home to some 400 ethnic groups, and Nagaland shares its borders with Myanmar, China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. It has fostered unique cultures and customs despite adverse turns of history. We interviewed Nagaland's prominent peace activist, Mr. Niketu Iralu, whose calm demeanor reflects his in-depth wisdom and resilient strength, developed through overcoming numerous hardships.
On May 17, 2017, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation hosted Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM).
Admiral Harris is the 24th Commander since the USPACOM was established in 1947. He was born in Japan and reared in Tennessee and Florida. Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978, he started designation as a naval flight officer (NFO). He commanded Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, the U.S. 6th Fleet, Striking and Support Forces NATO, and the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and has served in every geographic combatant command region. His graduate education focused on East Asia security. He attended Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, and Oxford University. He was also a MIT Seminar 21 fellow.
Recently, we have seen the growing threat of North Korean nuclear and missile development, and tension between the United States and North Korea has increased. Looking at the current security environment in East Asia and Asia Pacific, Admiral Harris spoke about the role of Japan-U.S. Alliance, US strategy, and the prospect of the regional stability. Moderator was Dr. Tomohiko Taniguchi, professor of Keio University.
The Sasakawa Peace Foundation has been implementing the project entitled "Asian Opinion Leaders' Exchange" since the fiscal year 2014. The objective of this project is to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen collaboration between Japan and Asian countries through inviting Asian opinion leaders to Japan and engaging them in dialogues with Japanese policy makers, scholars and business leaders.
On March 17, 2017, The Sasakawa Pan Asia Fund held a lecture by Dr. Bambang Widjojanto, Indonesia's renowned human right activist. Dr. Widjojanto served as Deputy Chairman of Corruption Eradication Commission: KPK. Dr. Widjojanto is well-respected leader of Indonesia's civil society for long time and many people freshly remember his endeavors to fight against corruption during his service for KPK from 2010 to 2015.
Here he explored Indonesia's corruption eradication initiatives and its problems with special emphasis on civil society's efforts.
Corruption is deeply rooted in society of Indonesia since Soeharto regime. Considering the increasing number of Japanese companies have developed business relations with Indonesia, the problems revolve around the corruption cannot be ignored. Dr. Widjojanto was staying in Japan as a visiting research fellow of FY2016 at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
We interviewed Hon. Diana DeGette of the U.S. House of Representatives, a Co-Chair of the 8-member bipartisan Congressional delegation that visited Japan in February 2017 under a program promoting the exchange of Japanese and U.S. parliamentarians. Hon. DeGette, who has a political career spanning over 20 years, was born in Japan, and expressed her sense of attachment to Japan in this interview. We asked her views on the current status of women's empowerment and the significance of Japan - U.S. exchange programs.
On March 23, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation hosted Mr. Bret Stephens, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, The Wall Street Journal.
America's 45th President has promised a new foreign policy based around the doctrine of "America First," a phrase he used repeatedly during his campaign and emphasized in his inaugural address. Historically, the term has suggested a policy isolationism, protectionism, pacifism—and xenophobia. It was a potent force in US politics right up to Dec. 7 1941.
Does Mr. Trump use the term in the same way as it was used before WWII? How will the president's version of America First alter the usual course of postwar US foreign policy? Can it succeed on its own terms? Is the US becoming an isolationist nation again? What does it mean for close US allies such as Japan and other Asian democracies? And how should Japan's public and elites think about the US in the age of Trump?
Mr. Stephens emphasized the political, economic and strategic implications of this new American order.