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A year after the tragic triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant explosion in Japan on March 11, 2011, the world has witnessed Japan’s remarkable recovery. Simultaneously, there is a recognition that much remains to be done. At an event held Monday at AEI, experts on Japan presented on both the achievements and challenges of the post-disaster age. Keynote speaker Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese ambassador to the United States, analyzed Japan’s successes and future trials, emphasizing the government’s difficult task of articulating an energy policy that would balance the public will with Japan’s energy needs. He also expressed heartfelt gratitude to the U.S. for its help, imploring the global community to continue to assist Japan on its “road to recovery.”

During the following panel discussion, Rust Deming of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies highlighted the strengthening of the U.S.-Japan relationship during this crisis, which he hoped would be reinforced by tighter bonds between individuals, increased joint military training and cooperation on energy policy. Sheila Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations pointed out that we can all learn lessons from Japan with a global perspective for disaster management in the future. Finally, Marc Knapper of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Japanese Affairs argued that Japan is still globally engaged in spite of the crisis, citing Japan’s contributions on the issues of Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Burma. Although they all acknowledged that Japan still faces serious challenges, the speakers reached a consensus that Japan had made substantial progress domestically and that this disaster will not prevent it from continuing to make positive contributions to the U.S.-Japan alliance and the global community.
–Mayuko Yatsu

Event Description
On March 11, 2011, and in the weeks that followed, the world watched as natural and man-made disasters shook Japan to its core. More than 15,000 Japanese citizens lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands more were displaced by the earthquake, tsunami and ensuing Fukushima nuclear crisis. The catastrophe was a blow to a country already suffering from economic hardship. How far has Japan come on the road to recovery, and what steps still need to be taken? How has the government handled this crisis, and what lessons has it drawn from this experience? How has the population responded? Featuring a keynote speech by Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki, followed by a panel of experts, this AEI conference on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy will examine the pressing questions surrounding these events.

Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


1:15 PM

1:30 PM

Keynote Address:
1:45 PM
Question and Answer Session

2:00 PM
RUST DEMING, School of Advanced International Studies
MARC KNAPPER, U.S. Department of State
SHEILA SMITH, Council on Foreign Relations

2:45 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Lara Crouch at [email protected], 202.862.7160.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.

Michael Auslin is resident scholar in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies and concurrently director of Japan Studies at AEI. He is also a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and writes on Japan and Asian security. He specializes in U.S.- Asian relations, U.S. security policy and Asian regional security issues. Mr. Auslin was an associate professor of history at Yale University and senior research fellow at Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies prior to joining AEI. He also has been a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo. He received the Nakasone Yasuhiro Award for Excellence in 2010, and has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund and an Asia 21 Fellow by the Asia Society, in addition to being a former Fulbright and Japan Foundation Scholar. His writings include the award-winning book “Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy” (Harvard University Press, 2004), the report “Security in the Indo-Pacific Commons: Towards a Regional Strategy” (AEI, 2010) and the book “Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations” (Harvard University Press, 2011). In addition to his Wall Street Journal column, he appears regularly in U.S. and foreign media, commenting on current Asian and security issues.

Rust M. Deming joined the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 2005, after a 38-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Mr. Deming’s last overseas post was as the Tunisian ambassador from 2000 to 2003. Prior to that, he served as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (1998 to 2000). He was senior advisor to the assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1997 to 1998. From October to December 1997, he was the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau’s senior advisor to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Mr. Deming has spent much of his career dealing with Japanese affairs, having served in Japan as chargé d’affaires, ad interim, from 1996 to 1997, and as deputy chief of mission from 1993 to 1996. From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Deming was director of the Office of Japanese Affairs in Washington, DC. He served as minister counselor for political affairs at the American Embassy in Tokyo from 1987 to 1991. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Defense Department’s Civilian Meritorious Award in 1995 and 1997and the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award in 2003. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Foreign Service Association and the Stanford Alumni Association.

Ichiro Fujisaki became the Japanese ambassador to the United States on June 4, 2008. Mr. Fujisaki served as ambassador and permanent representative to the International Organizations in Geneva from 2005-2008. Prior to that, he served as Japan’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, during which time he also acted as the prime minister’s personal representative (Sherpa) to the Group of Eight Summit and Japan’s chief negotiator for free trade agreements (2002-2005). From 1999-2002, Mr. Fujisaki was the director-general of the North American Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which he joined in 1969.

Marc Knapper is currently serving as the director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Japanese Affairs. Prior to this assignment, he was political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He has also served as deputy chief of the Political Section in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and political counselor in Hanoi, Vietnam. Previously, he had assignments in the Office for Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and in Tokyo as the aide to Ambassador Walter Mondale. Marc has traveled twice to North Korea on U.S. State Department business, once in 1997 as the Department’s representative to the Spent Fuel Team in Yongbyon, and again in 2000 as part of the advance team for former secretary Albright’s visit to Pyongyang.

Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Before joining AEI, she served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. She writes frequently on national security matters with a focus on domestic politics in the Middle East and South Asia regions, U.S. national security, terrorism and weapons proliferation. Ms. Pletka is the co-editor with Micheal Rubin and Jeffrey Azarva of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author with Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan of “Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2008). At AEI, she developed a conference series on rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, and designed a project tracking global business in Iran. She is currently leading a project on the impact of a nuclear Iran.

Sheila A. Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Ms. Smith directed CFR’s New Regional Security Architecture for Asia Program and currently leads a project on China and India as emerging powers. She also writes for the blog Asia Unbound. Ms. Smith joined CFR from the East-West Center in 2007, where she specialized in Asia-Pacific international relations and U.S. policy toward Asia. She was also recently affiliated with Keio University in Tokyo, where she researched and wrote on Japan’s foreign policy toward China and the Northeast Asian region. From 2004 to 2007, 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. Prior to joining the East-West Center, Ms. Smith was on the faculty of the Department of International Relations at Boston University (1994-2000) and on the staff of the Social Science Research Council (1992-1993). She 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; she has also been a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus in Japan’s Ryukyu Islands. She previously served on the editorial board of the “Contemporary Issues of Asia Pacific,” a book series published by Stanford University Press and the East-West Center. She is a trustee for Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, and an executive committee member for the National Association of Japan-America Societies.


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