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Event Summary

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jim Zumwalt highlighted at an AEI event on Wednesday, Japan is already considered a valuable US partner on a wide range of issues, even those not related to the Asia-Pacific region. Even so, as two panels of experts discussed, the problems Asia is encountering will likely demand even greater cooperation.

Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation pointed to North Korea as an immediate concern, forecasting another North Korean tactical attack. Taking a long-term view, Tetsuo Kotani of the Japan Institute of International Affairs laid out three scenarios Asia could face because of China’s rise: a “Pax Sinica” (peace on Chinese terms), an uneasy balance of power, or the creation of a liberal regional order.

Ernie Bower of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argued that Japan should encourage the US to demonstrate greater political will in engaging with Southeast Asia. Ely Ratner of the Center for New American Security maintained that the US “rebalance” to Asia needed to place more emphasis on the nonmilitary initiatives in the economic and political spheres. Ambassador Yoshiji Nogami concluded the discussion by emphasizing the importance of and great potential for enhanced US-Japan cooperation if the relationship is placed in a broader context, raising several other avenues that required further discussion, including US-Japan-India relations.

–Lara Crouch

Event Description

Both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and US President Barack Obama have been gifted with “do-overs,” affording a new chance to reinvigorate Japan’s relationship with the United States. Indeed, Abe had a message for the United States during his recent visit in February: Japan is back.

How can the United States and Japan capitalize on areas that are ripe for collaboration? How will Abe, in cooperation with Obama, confront the uncertain security environment in Asia, including the troubling trajectory of China’s foreign policy and Asia’s myriad territorial disputes? Can Abe prove that Japan’s success and international involvement is crucial to global stability? Please join us for two panel discussions among American and Japanese security experts as they debate these issues and more.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


1:15 PM

1:30 PM
Michael Auslin, AEI

Opening Remarks:
Yoshiji Nogami, Japan Institute of International Affairs
Jim Zumwalt, US Department of State

1:45 PM
Question-and-Answer Session

2:00 PM
Panel I: The challenges of the Asia-Pacific
Yusuke Anami, Tohoku University Graduate School
Bruce Klingner, Heritage Foundation
Tetsuo Kotani, Japan Institute of International Affairs

Michael Auslin, AEI

2:45 PM
Question-and-Answer Session

3:00 PM
Panel II: The US-Japan alliance in East and Southeast Asia
Ernie Bower, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Yukio Okamoto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ely Ratner, Center for New American Security

Hideki Asari, Japan Institute for International Affairs

3:45 PM
Question-and-Answer Session

4:00 PM
Michael Auslin, AEI

Closing Comments:
Yoshiji Nogami, Japan Institute of International Affairs

4:15 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 [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Yusuke Anami is an associate professor at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Law, where he both researches about and teaches courses on contemporary Chinese politics and modern Chinese military history. He also heads a workshop dealing with Japan’s public diplomacy toward China at the School of Public Policy of Tohoku University. Anami has been studying the history of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for the past 20 years. He has published one book and nine papers dealing with the PLA and China’s defense strategy. In addition, Anami has been researching China’s maritime strategy and various maritime issues between Japan and China. He has given several lectures on this issue to various Japanese government agencies. His 2007 paper on maritime issues between Japan and China correctly predicted that a skirmish between Chinese fishermen and the Japanese coast guard would trigger a major diplomatic confrontation between Japan and China.

Hideki Asari is deputy director general of the Japan Institute of International Affairs. He was minister at the Embassy of Japan in the US before assuming his current position in September 2011. Asari joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 1986. At MOFA, he was involved in various bilateral and multilateral diplomatic negotiations. His positions at MOFA included counsel for trade negotiations in the International Legal Affairs Bureau (2004–05) and director of the Oceania Division in charge of Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific island countries (2005–07). His overseas posts included political counselor at the Japanese embassy in the Republic of Korea (2003) and economic counselor and later minister at the Embassy of Japan in the US (2009–11). He was also cabinet counselor in the office of the assistant cabinet secretary for diplomatic affairs (2007–09). His teaching experience includes lecturer at the School of Law of Waseda University (2003–05) and student supervisor at the Japan Ground Self Defence Force Staff College (2011–present).

Michael Auslin, AEI’s director of Japan Studies, was an associate professor of history and senior research fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University before joining AEI. A frequent commentator in US and foreign media, Auslin is also a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. His writings on Asia and Japan include the book “Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations” (Harvard University Press, 2011) and the report “Security in the Indo-Pacific Commons: Toward a Regional Strategy” (AEI, 2010). He has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, and a Fulbright and Japan Foundation Scholar.

Ernie Bower is codirector of the Pacific Partners Initiative, senior adviser, and Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is concurrently president and CEO of BowerGroupAsia, a well-known business advisory firm he created and built. Before forming his company, he served for a decade as president of the US Association of Southeast Asian Nations Business Council, the top private business group composed of America’s leading companies in Southeast Asia. For over 20 years, he helped establish and build the council from the ground level, working with government and private-sector leaders from the United States and Southeast Asia. Bower has been an adviser and innovator in creating programs and vehicles to broaden and deepen bilateral and regional ties in Asia. He engineered key private-sector initiatives such as the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Coalition, the US-Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Coalition, and numerous campaigns resulting in significant expansion of commerce. In recognition of his work, the King of Malaysia has awarded him the Darjah Panglima Jasa Negara, pronouncing him holder of the title “Datuk” in Malaysia. The president of the Philippines also awarded him the rank of Lakan, or commander, for his service to the Philippines. Bower is currently the US chair of the Advisory Council on Competitiveness for the Vietnamese prime minister and serves on the boards of the Special Olympics, the Institute for Religion & Public Policy, the American Australian Education and Leadership Foundation, the United States-New Zealand Business Council, the Malaysian-American Society, and the United States-Indonesia Society. He also served on the US Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Trade and Investment.

Bruce Klingner is the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Klingner joined Heritage in 2007 after 20 years in the intelligence community, during which time he worked at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Defense Intelligence Agency. In 1993, he was the selected as chief of the CIA’s Korea Branch, which provided analytic reports on military developments during the nuclear crisis with North Korea. From 1996 to 2001, Klingner was the deputy chief for Korea in the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence, where he was responsible for analyzing Korean political, military, economic, and leadership issues for the president and other senior policymakers. Klingner also spent several years at the Eurasia Group, a global political risk assessment firm. Previously, he worked as the director of analysis and senior Asia analyst at the Intellibridge Corporation, which provided intelligence and analysis to government and business decision makers. His articles have appeared in numerous American and international publications, including the Financial Times, Chosun Ilbo, Far Eastern Economic Review, Nikkei Weekly, and the Asia Times.

Tetsuo Kotani
is a research fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affiars and teaches at Hosei University in Tokyo. His research focuses on the US-Japan alliance and maritime security. He is also a senior research fellow at the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS) in Tokyo and a member of the International Advisory Board at the Project 2049 Institute in Washington, DC. He received a security studies fellowship from RIPS in 2006 and won the 2003 Japanese Defense Minister Prize. Kotani has published numerous articles in English and Japanese and is preparing his first book on maritime security.

Yoshiji Nogami is president and director of the Japan Institute of International Affairs and executive adviser of the Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. He was Japanese ambassador to the UK and Japan’s vice minister for foreign affairs. Nogami entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1966. While there, he was deputy director general of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau and the Foreign Policy Bureau, director general of the Economic Affairs Bureau, and deputy minister for foreign affairs. His overseas posts include economic counselor at the embassy in the US and consul general in Hong Kong. Nogami was also ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris in 1997–99. He was also a senior visiting fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Yukio Okamoto was a career diplomat in Japan from 1968 to 1991. His overseas postings included Paris, Cairo, and Washington. He retired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1991 and established Okamoto Associates Inc., a political and economic consultancy. Post-retirement, Okamoto served in a number of advisory positions. From 1996 to 1998, he was special adviser to former Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. From October 2001 to March 2003, he was special adviser to the Japanese cabinet. From March 2003 to March 2004, he was special adviser to former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi. Concurrent with the last two posts he was chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Foreign Relations. Okamoto sits on the board of directors of a number of major Japanese multinational companies. He is now a senior fellow at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Ely Ratner is a fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He recently served on the China Desk at the US Department of State as the lead political officer covering China’s external relations in Asia. Before joining the State Department, Ely was an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation. His commentary and research have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Quarterly, the National Interest, Democracy, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, and Chinese Journal of International Politics. Ratner previously worked as a professional staff member on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Jim Zumwalt began his tour as deputy assistant secretary of state for Japan and Korean affairs on January 3, 2012. He previously served as the deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo. Zumwalt was director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the US Department of State (2006–08) and has served prior assignments in Japan as economic minister counselor (2002–06), embassy Tokyo economic officer (1989–93), and consulate Kobe consular officer (1983–85). His other assignments abroad have been as economic minister counselor at the Embassy of the United States in Bejing (1999–2002) and as economic officer in the Embassy of the United States in Kinshasa (1981–83). In Washington, DC, he has worked in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs’ Korea and Philippine desks and in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs’ Front Office. He has also worked in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and on a detail to the United States Trade Representative’s Office of Japan and China.

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