New Voices from Japan: Changing Economy, Rivalry with China, and Nuclear Policy


This is a listing of older East-West Center events (newer listed first).  See Events to get the list of current or upcoming events.

In partnership with the Social Science Research Council and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation

When: Mar 3 2015 - 12:30pm until Mar 3 2015 - 2:00pm
Where: 1819 L St, NW, Washington, DC. Sixth Floor Conference Room

New Voices from Japan: Changing Economy, Rivalry with China, and Nuclear Policy

An Asia Pacific Political Economy and Security Seminar featuring:

Dr. Jun Makita
Policy Planner, Japan Association of New Economy (JANE)

Dr. Aki Sakabe-Mori
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsukuba University

Dr. Shinsuke Tomotsugu
Associate Professor, Institute for Peace Science, Hiroshima University

Open communication and the exchange of ideas is a key component of both US-Japan relationship and the New Voices of Japan Program. Three participants in this SPF-sponsored initiative, designed to provide opportunities for international dialogue to a new generation, will present their research on contemporary Japanese policy.

In his presentation on A Change of Japanese Industry Structure and Objectives of the Japan Association of New Economy (JANE), Dr. Jun Dr. Jun Makita Policy Planner, Japan Association of New Economy (JANE)Makita discussed how the Japanese Association of the New Economy (JANE) is aiding representatives of Japan’s new, largely IT service-based economy with forming new business regulation policies to put before the Japanese government. However, JANE must navigate a business climate dominated by the Keidanren, Japan’s biggest economic organization, with which it has certain different characteristics. Keidanren, which represents Japan's "traditional economy" of large-scale and heavy industry, has exiting connections to the Japanese government and the Diet in particular. Therefore, it is much simpler for Keidanren to convey requests and receive dividends than JANE, which still does not enjoy a strong relationship with the government. Instead, rather than personal connections it must rely on data and scientific facts to get its points across.

Discussing Competition or a Strategic Choice: International Politics over China-led New InvestmentDr. Aki Sakabe-Mori Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsukuba University Bank, Dr. Aki Sakabe-Mori addressed the following questions: (1) Why China seeks support from the developed countries for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); (2) Reactions from the US, Japan, Australia and South Korea; and (3) Current discussion in the Japanese government with regard to the AIIB. With the development of AIIB, China has now moved from a reluctant rising power to a proactive institution builder in the Asia-Pacific region. Many developing countries in the region see the AIIB as a means to get much needed infrastructure developed without all of the qualifications and conditions that come from similar pledges from the IMF, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank. But concerns about governance, transparency, and sustainability worry developed countries in the region, particularly Japan. With China holding 50% of the voting share in AIIB, Japan doubts that China will actually work together with other countries on reforms and instead use AIIB as a debt sharing mechanism while other countries foot the billl. Even with this skepticism, Dr. Mori advocated that Japan, along with other developed countries, join AIIB. She argued that key members of the existing financial institutions will more easily exercise leverage if they participate in the AIIB. Participation would lead to better governance, transparency, and economic sustainability of the AIIB.

Dr. Shin Tomotsugu’s talk, entitled From Hiroshima to Fukushima: The Evolution of Japan's Nuclear Policy, focused on the history andDr. Shinsuke Tomotsugu Associate Professor, Institute for Peace Science, Hiroshima University current situation of Japan’s policy on nuclear energy, and the impact of the severe accident at Fukushima on nuclear non-proliferation policy. In accordance with his research, Japan's nuclear development is the political and historical outcome of the evolution of the US-Japan relationship. Japan's ability to access sensitive civilian nuclear technology was aided both by its willingness to give up the capability to build nuclear weapons as well as close contact with the United States on security matters (including reliance on the United States' nuclear umbrella) since the end of World War II. Dr. Tomotsugu argued that this access to sensitive technology has given Japan the latent ability to check China's behavior, from concerns following China's 1964 nuclear test to the present day. In turn, this has undoubtedly led to Japanese nationalists not pushing for full nuclear armament for Japan and that the United States can use the "threat" of a future nuclear Japan to curb China's behavior in the region. The 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, however, has led many in Japan to speculate as to whether Japan should be allowed to continue to have this special privledge since its nuclear plants remain shut down and the plutonium from spent fuel has no place to go. 

Dr. Jun Makita works for the Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) as a policy planner and concurrently as a political science researcher at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Tsukuba University. Before joining JANE and Tsukuba University in 2014, he worked as a secretary to the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (2013), and as a policy secretary to Diet members (2002-2012). He received a doctoral degree in Policy Studies at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (2012), and two master degrees; one in International Studies from Durham University, UK (2007), and another in Political Science from Waseda University (2002). His research focuses on the role of political organizations in the legislative process and on Japan’s new economy, including the rise and current situation of IT and Internet-based businesses.

Dr. Aki Mori is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Tsukuba University. Her research focuses on Chinese foreign and security policy, civil-military relations of China, and international politics in the Asia-Pacific. She has published papers on China’s evolving maritime policy, including naval modernization, China’s interpretation and practice of the UNCOLS, and civil-military relations. She also has been conducting research on the impact of China’s rise on the development of regional cooperation in East Asia. She and her colleagues interviewed more than 100 officials and experts in China, the ASEAN member countries other than Brunei, and the United States. Aki Mori studied Chinese foreign and security policy at the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China during 2007-2008.

Dr. Shinsuke Tomotsugu is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Peace Science at Hiroshima University. He earned his doctoral degree in Law (LL.D.) from Nagoya University in March 2010. He received a Fulbright scholarship to conduct dissertation research concerning the U.S.'s stance on nuclear nonproliferation at George Washington University 2008-09. His recent publications in Japanese include “Japan's Attitude toward Antarctica from 1910 to 1963: At the Intersection of Idealism and Realism,” and “The initiative and setback of the "Asian Nuclear Center": an aspect of the Eisenhower Administration's East Asian diplomacy.” Before joining Hiroshima University, he worked as an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Nagoya College, 2011-13, and an Associate Fellow at the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), 2009-11.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Batiuk
Phone: 202-327-9755