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.
Ocean acidification is one of the issues caused mainly by CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Recent discovery of its current status has highlighted the need for further investigation and research. Dr. Carol Turley told us how today's scientists must broadly communicate about this issue, which relates to every one of us who live on Earth. This interview demonstrated her sense of mission as a scientist and her personal affection toward the ocean.
On February 1st, 2017, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation hosted Dr. George H. Nash, Senior Fellow of the Russell Kirk Center.
As an independent historian of American Conservatism, Dr. Hash has published a lot of books, including the very famous The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (1976; 3rd ed. 2006), and The Life of Herbert Hoover.
Among others, Dr. Nash examined the intellectual development and current configuration of modern American conservatism: a coalition with many diverse tendencies. Since the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, the conservative coalition has undergone many challenges. Dr. Nash analyzed these growing challenges, including the recent "volcanic eruption" of populism and the remarkable rise of Donald Trump.
On January 18, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), in cooperation with The Asia Foundation hosted a panel discussion on “Asian Views on America’s Role in Asia: The Future of the Rebalance.”
On January 20, Mr. Donald Trump will take the oath of office as America’s new President. People all over the world pay a great deal of attention to Mr. Trump’s statecraft. Announced in 2010, the Obama administration’s “rebalance” towards Asia has provoked sometimes-heated debate and drawn mixed reactions in Asia regarding U.S. motives and intentions in the region. How will the Trump administration manage its policy towards Asia?
What is the future of the “rebalance” policy in the Asia-Pacific region?
In November 2016, The Asia Foundation published policy recommendations on U.S. foreign policy toward Asia (http://asiafoundation.org/what-we-do/asian-views-americas-role/).
The Foundation’s “Asian Views on America’s Role in Asia” report suggests the importance of continuity of American engagement in Asia, and emphasizes Asian views from Northeast, Southeast and South Asian experts, along with an American response. Having this opportunity, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation welcomed Prof. Yoshihide Soeya of Keio University as a commentator for the panel to discuss the future of America’s engagement in Asia including Japan views. Prof. Fumiaki Kubo of the University of Tokyo presided at a panel as a moderator to facilitate active discussion.
Situated at the meeting point of West and East, Turkey has historically tolerated and embraced different cultures and values. Today, the country is serving an important international role as a host for a large number of migrants and refugees under its Open Door policy.Yet, domestically, it has suffered a series of issues including terrorism and attempted coup d'etat. We interviewed Dr. Bahadir Pehlivanturk, Turkey's expert in international politics, about the country's 'now' and 'future', with some reference to Turkey's relations with Japan. [Related Link]https://www.spf.org/e/spf-now/0043.html
On December 13, 2016, The Sasakawa Pan Asia Fund invited three senior members (including the founder, Dr. Parni Hadi Kasanpuro) of Dompet Dhuafa, Indonesia's largest NGO and recipient of the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award - commonly referred to as Asia's Nobel Peace Prize - to participate in this year's Asian Opinion Leaders' Exchange.
Dr. Transform Aqorau (Technical and Legal Adviser at the Office of Parties of Nauru Agreement) has managed to enforce thorough management of his country's fisheries resources and successfully developed a new fisheries business scheme with the aim of bringing true independence to Pacific Island countries. He started this interview by reminiscing about his association with Japan in his younger days, and went on to present his clear vision and passion about the new era of the Pacific Island nations. [Related Link]https://www.spf.org/e/spf-now/0041.html