Guiding decision makers toward a more secure Asia by 2049

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Japan's Global Engagement and U.S.-Japan Cooperation

The Project 2049 Institute understands the pivotal role that Japan, the United States’ greatest ally, can play in the midst of the U.S. rebalance to Asia. With its unmatched contributions to international organizations, robust economy, and its dedication to democratic values and principles, Japans deserves further attention on the regional and international stages. In line with this conviction, “Japan’s Global Engagement and U.S.-Japan Cooperation” aims to promote a greater understanding of Japan’s foreign policy and its global role among U.S. and Japanese policymakers, experts, and future leaders. The project’s objectives are threefold: researching Japan’s international contributions and global presence; facilitating more opportunities for people-to-people exchanges; and generating a future-oriented vision and collaborative strategy in the U.S.-Japan alliance for both regional and international affairs. Project 2049 Institute has embarked on the second year of this vital initiative made possible by the generous support of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.


Exchanges | Events and Highlights | Publications | Testimonials | Photos

  Exchanges ^Back
Exchanges are a major project component. The Institute organizes two-way exchanges, with a U.S. delegation visiting Japan in the summer and a reciprocal Japanese delegation visiting Washington, D.C. in the winter. Delegation participants span various levels of expertise, sectors, and political affiliations so as to ensure diverse viewpoints and balanced discussion. Previous delegations have included Congressional staffers, Diet members, former senior officials, academics, and private sector professionals. The exchange visits aim to equip participants with familiarity on current issues and long term trends that will come to define policymaking in Japan and the United States. Additionally, Project 2049 organizes conferences in both Tokyo and in Washington, D.C. to generate awareness of Japan’s international role. The exchange component is part of a critical initiative to foster deeper understanding among American and Japanese counterparts and cultivate the next generation of leaders necessary to sustain the U.S.-Japan partnership.

Leaders Program Delegation to Tokyo and Okinawa– November 2013

In November 2013, Project 2049 Institute President and CEO Randall Schriver led a bipartisan delegation of former U.S. government officials, current Pentagon staff, and academics to Tokyo and Okinawa. The group met with Japanese officials, policymakers, and experts from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Economy Trade and Industry (METI), and Defense (MOD), the Kantei, the Diet, and the Nuclear Regulation Authority. During these meetings, the delegates discussed a wide range of issues including regional security trends, the Abe administration's political agenda, Japan-US alliance, Japan's energy plans, and other important topics. In addition, as the program's inaugural trip to Okinawa, the delegation met with a former governor of Okinawa and received command briefs at the Marine Corp Air Station Futenma and USAF Kadena Air Station.

Japan Leaders Program Delegation to Washington D.C. – January 2013

In January 2013, Project 2049 Institute invited four Japanese delegates on a second annual reciprocal visit to Washington, DC as a part of the Leader’s Program exchange. Those invited included parliamentarian Motohiro Oono (DPJ, Former Vice Minister of Defense), Major General Yoshida (Director of the Joint Staff, Ministry of Defense), Tomohiko Taniguchi (Professor, Keio University), and Yukio Tada (President and CEO, Sojitz Research Institute). The delegation participated in a host of events, including a roundtable discussion at the Capitol, public event at Heritage Foundation, and visits with officials from the Department of State, Department of Defense, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Office of the US Trade Representative, and the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.

Leaders Program Delegation to Toyko and Osaka – August 2012

2012 marks the second year of the Leaders Program delegation to Tokyo and the delegation's inaugural visit to Osaka. Project 2049 Institute President and CEO Randall Schriver led a bipartisan delegation of Congressional staff, academics, and private sector leaders to Tokyo for meetings with Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) parliamentarians, and senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) officials, among others. Delegates discussed the political climate in Japan and upcoming elections, the national energy mix and future of nuclear power, changing regional security dynamics, and women’s empowerment with policymakers and opinion leaders. In Osaka, Japan's commercial hub and home to the nascent Ishin no kai party (Osaka Restoration Association), delegates engaged with business leaders from the Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren), academics, and the research and policy planning head of Osaka Ishin no kai to gain a broader understanding of Japan's political and economic landscape.

Japanese Leaders Program Delegation to Washington, D.C. – January 2012

In January 2012, Project 2049 invited parliamentarians Taro Kono (LDP) and Mieko Nakabayashi (DPJ) and scholars Tetsuo Kotani (Research Fellow, Japan Institute for International Affairs) and Sugio Takahashi (National Institute for Defense Studies; Ministry of Defense) to Washington, D.C. on a reciprocal visit. Mr. Kono delivered a keynote address at a widely attended public event:“Reviving Japan: Can It Win the Asian Century?” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). All participants took part in a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill that covered the domestic politics of Japan and the U.S., the strategic landscape in Asia, defense budget cuts, and the state of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Additionally, the delegates met with officials from the Department of State, Department of Defense, National Security Council, Congress, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Leaders Program Delegation to Tokyo – August 2011

In August 2011, Project 2049 expanded its Leaders Program dinner series to a global exchange. Several months after Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear meltdown, Project 2049 Institute President and CEO Randall Schriver led a bipartisan Leaders Program delegation comprised of former government officials, Congressional staffers and professionals from the private sector to Tokyo under the banner: “the future of Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance in regional and global affairs.” The visit itinerary included a roundtable discussion and meetings with parliamentarians and senior officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Economy Trade and Industry.


  Events and Highlights ^Back

Japan's Role in a Globalized World: The US-Japan Alliance and Regional Partnerships

March 4, 2014

2014 holds important prospects for the US-Japan alliance and Japan's role in the Asia-Pacific. As the result of the last “two-plus-two” meeting from October 2013, the US and Japan are currently working on revising the 1997 Guidelines for US-Japan Joint Cooperation, said to be finished by the end of 2014. China’s ongoing military modernization efforts, North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and ongoing regional territorial disputes over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands pose as important regional threats to Japanese forces. Regionally, Japan struggles to better relations with South Korea, while it increases economic and security ties with Southeast Asia and India. In light of these developments, the Project 2049 Institute is hosting this conference to facilitate greater understanding of Japan's foreign policy, clarify Japan's future challenges and objectives, and outline recommendations to promote Japan's global and regional engagements.

Opening Remarks
Ambassador Richard Armitage

Panel 1
The US-Japan Alliance: Challenges and Opportunities

Panel 2
Progress and Obstacles in Japan's Regional Engagement

Security, Alliance, and the Japanese Political Landscape

January 8, 2013

The Project 2049 Institute and the Heritage Foundation co-hosted this event to address the shared interests between the United States and Japan in regional security and stability. The U.S.-Japan alliance is ever more important as North Korea continues to pose threats to the region and China increases its military strength and aggressively presses its own interests. Join us as our distinguished guests explore the impact of Japanese politics on the U.S.-Japan alliance and regional security.

Enhancing Japan-U.S. Partnership in a New Global Order: Insights from Armitage-Nye 2012

August 21, 2012

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation hosted Project 2049 Institute CEO and President Randall Schriver for a discussion on the Asia-Pacific regional security landscape and the U.S.-Japan alliance. Mr. Schriver discussed U.S. goals and priorities in the region and assessed the potential of the Japan-U.S. alliance to play a greater role in the region. Mr. Schriver, a member of the bipartisan "Armitage-Nye" working group led by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and former Dean of Harvard Kennedy School Dr. Joseph S. Nye Jr., will draw his remarks from the findings and recommendations of the third report, released by the working group in mid-August. Eric Sayers, a Leaders Program delegate and Defense Policy Advisor to Congressman J. Randy Forbes moderated the event.

The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Charting a New Way Forward

August 20, 2012

Project 2049 Institute and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) co-hosted a roundtable discussion on the future direction of U.S.-Japan leadership in Asia and new areas for allied cooperation. The event featured two panels: The Strategic Landscape in Asia; A Comprehensive U.S.-Japan Alliance: Advancing Opportunities for Cooperation. Tetsuo Kotani (Research Fellow, JIIA) presented on the first panel. He commented on two parallel trends, namely: the U.S. shift “from the desert to the sea,” referring to the U.S. rebalance to Asia, and Japan’s shift from northeast Asia to southeast Asia. Mr. Kotani argued that there is a new urgency for maritime security, which he defined as sea control and sea power. Eric Sayers of Congressman J. Randy Forbes’s office reaffirmed Mr. Kotani’s maritime security concerns and agued for greater allied interoperability.

During the second panel, Mr. Hirobumi Kayama of METI outlined the devastating effects that eliminating nuclear power from the national energy mix will have on Japan’s industries, economy, and carbon emission reduction goals. He argued that energy security is an important component of the alliance and that Japan and the U.S. should continue leadership on nuclear energy and expand natural gas trade. Following the panelists’ presentations, participants engaged in discussion of the evolving regional strategic landscape, Japan’s dynamic defense force concept, and the role of regional trilaterals.

The Future of Japan and the U.S.-Japan Alliance for Leadership in Regional and Global Affairs

January 5, 2012

The Project 2049 Institute gathered American Asia-Pacific policy experts, members of the National Diet of Japan Mieko Nakabayashi and Taro Kono, along with Ministry of Defense official, Sugio Takahashi, and scholar Tetsuo Kotani for a roundtable discussion on the future direction of the alliance. The Fukushima disaster shone the international spotlight on nuclear power and energy security in the region. U.S. armed forces that supported Japan in disaster relief through Operation Tomodachi demonstrated the depth of the U.S. –Japan Alliance and its value in non-traditional security roles and military operations other than war. 3-11 gave new meaning to the U.S.-Japan partnership. However, the focus of the alliance appears unclear. With defense spending cuts imminent in the United States, weak political institutions in Japan, a new leadership in North Korea, and the 2012 leadership transitions in China, South Korea, and Taiwan, the right way forward remains uncertain. Event speakers and panelists addressed issues and priorities in Japan and the United States, the changing balance of power in the Asia-Pacific, and a new way forward for the alliance.

Reviving Japan: Can It Win the Asian Century?

January 4, 2012

The Project 2049 Institute Leaders Program delegates and president participated in this discussion at the American Enterprise Institute on Japan’s role in the coming "Asian century." During this event Taro Kono, an LDP parliamentarian offered his vision for what Japan needs to win its future. Taro Kono insisted that the Liberal Democratic Party should focus on center-right policies such as small government and economic growth to motivate the general public to participate in the political discussion and future elections. He emphasized the responsibility of Japan's politicians to reinvigorate the country. AEI's Claude Barfield pointed out the significance to Japan of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he noted will be difficult but beneficial to both Japan and the U.S. Tetsuo Kotani of the Okazaki Institute also emphasized the importance of leadership in Japan, calling for leaders with "philosophy and determination." Although Japan currently confronts many difficulties in its political, economic, and national security arenas, AEI's Michael Auslin focused on Japan’s strengths and stability. Finally, Sugio Takahashi of Japan's National Institute for Defense Studies and Ministry of Defense illustrated some dynamics in Japan's security policy, claiming that this is a sphere where the political parties have mostly come to a consensus. On balance, the speakers emphasized that although many problems exist, there is still hope for Japan to enact the policies it needs to win its future.


  Publications ^Back

The program produces a series of short memos on topics that are future-oriented, strategic, and on issues that often go unnoticed.

The Alliance: Toward a Stronger U.S.-Japan Partnership
Occasional Paper

By Project 2049 Institute
July 18, 2014

For the first time in the history of our nation, the Asia-Pacific is more important for the United States than any other region of the world. That is today. Tomorrow it will be even more vital. Indeed, the Asia-Pacific is the new epicenter of global affairs, and it is here that profound strategic changes are unfolding that will transform the international system. As one of the region’s most prosperous, powerful and pivotally located countries, Japan will play a key role in steering the trajectory of future developments in the region. This report is the capstone paper for the U.S.-Japan Exchange Program (2012 - 2014).

America’s Allies and Nuclear Arms: Assessing the Geopolitics of Nonproliferation in Asia
Futuregram 14-002

By Robert Zarate
May 6, 2014

While U.S. policymakers and lawmakers sometimes deeply disagree on precisely how to stop hostile states from getting nuclear weapons, they generally agree on the overall goal of nuclear nonproliferation with regard to adversaries. But what about the goal of nonproliferation with regard to treaty allies? If Japan, South Korea, or other U.S. treaty allies in Asia who are threatened by China’s and North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats, were someday to insist on getting independent nuclear arsenals, should Washington welcome or oppose them?

“Destined to Cooperate”: Japan-ROK Naval Cooperation and its Implications for U.S. Strategic Interests in Northeast Asia
Futuregram 14-001

By Samuel J. Mun
March 4, 2014

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF) are “destined to cooperate” in an increasingly competitive security environment in Northeast Asia. Both parties share bilateral security treaties with the United States, prioritize protection of shared sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and face the challenge of addressing the threat of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program.

The Changing Strategic Landscape in the Asia-Pacific: The Future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and Japan’s Global Engagement
Occasional Paper

By Project 2049 Institute
July 6, 2013

The U.S. “pivot” to Asia has been the defining feature of American foreign policy in President Barack Obama’s first term (2008-2012). Essentially, the pivot is meant to be a strategic "re-balancing" of U.S. interests and resources from Europe and the Middle East toward East Asia. As the United States pulls together its resources from within and afar to bring to bear on the Asia-Pacific region, it will be shaping a new regional order in the process. With the pivot policy already laid out under President Obama’s first administration, the key challenge in his second term (2012-2016) will be contending with how the pivot is sustained.

Managing Expectations in the U.S.-Japan Alliance: U.S. and Japanese Perspectives
Occastional Paper

By Randall Schriver and Sugio Takahashi
July 6, 2013

As a participant in the Armitage-Nye process, I am associated with a set of policy recommendations that have been remarkably consistent over the course of twelve years and three reports (Armitage-Nye reports were produced in 2000, 2007, and 2012 respectively). Some common themes run across all three reports: We are unapologetic about promoting high aspirations for the U.S.-Japan alliance. We attempt to outline an ambitious bilateral agenda in great specificity. We believe that those aspirations and the ambitious agenda can only be met through the intentional and dedicated efforts of senior political leaders on both sides.

Upgrading the Japan-U.S. Defense Guidelines: Toward a New Phase of Operational Coordination
Futuregram 13-005

By Sugio Takahashi
June 7, 2013

The Japan-U.S. alliance has unique organizational characteristics compared to other major U.S. military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S.-ROK (Republic of Korea) alliance. While these two alliances have a single integrated command and control (C2) structure for wartime coalition operation, the Japan-U.S. alliance lacks a permanent institution for combined operation. In the event of a military contingency, Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) and U.S. military forces must operate separately. In the absence of a C2 structure, the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (hereafter “Defense Guidelines”) in effect embody procedures for operational coordination for the Japan-U.S. alliance.


A ‘New Era’ for Japan’s Global Engagement and the U.S.-Japan Alliance
Futuregram 13-004

By Yukio Tada
May 30, 2013

There have been already “many ‘firsts’” in the Abe 2.0 administration. With continued political leadership and bold economic initiatives on both sides, there is now a historic opportunity to help get the U.S.-Japan alliance back on the right track.

Clarifying U.S. - Japan Mine Warfare Roles, Missions, and Capabilities in the Persian Gulf: An Examination of International Legal Issues
Futuregram 13-003

By Sean Henseler
March 18, 2013

The “Armitage/Nye Report” suggests that one area for potential increased alliance defense cooperation is minesweeping in the Persian Gulf. There is no question that Japan has the capability to deploy minesweepers to the Gulf and that doing so might have a deterrent effect were Iran to announce once again that it was planning to close the SOH. The real question for policymakers revolves around Japanese willingness to do so.


The Senkaku Islands and the U.S.-Japan Alliance: Future Implications for the Asia-Pacific
Futuregram 13-002

By Tetsuo Kotani
March 14, 2013

By challenging Japan’s control of the Senkaku Islands, China is testing the resolve of Tokyo and the strategic position of Washington. In other words, China is testing the credibility of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Casual observers tend to overlook or underestimate the confront-ation that ensued between Tokyo and Beijing after the Japanese government formally purchased three Senkaku islets in September 2012.

Coastal Defense in Japan’s Southwestern Islands: Force Posture Options for Securing Japan’s Southern Flank
Futuregram 13-001

By Eric Sayers
January 7, 2013

How Japan chooses to adapt its forces in the Ryukyus and East China Sea to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) actions in these waters is a central question for defense planners in Tokyo in the decade ahead. While the defense investments called for in the Mid-Term Defense Program (2011-2015) budget have initiated this process, the specific defense posture Japan will choose to adopt for this task remains unresolved.


Japan's Global Engagement
Occasional Paper

By Randall Schriver and Isabella Mroczkowski
April 20, 2012

In the aftermath of 11 March 2011, Japan’s frequent political turnovers, and the country’s soaring government debt, the conventional wisdom is that the nation is turning inward. This mapping study seeks to highlight Japan’s continued international contributions in international organizations and official development assistance as well as Japan’s efforts in multiple simultaneous peace-keeping operations and anti-piracy missions. It presents a literature review on Japan’s evolving foreign policy from the Arc of Freedom and Prosperity to present-day and offers recommendations for Japan’s continued global role.

Iran's Nuclear Program: A Case Study in Successful U.S.-Japan Alliance Management
Futuregram 12-004

By Vance Serchuk
April 30, 2012

Speaking at Suntory Hall in Tokyo during his inaugural visit to the Asia-Pacific region as President of the United States, Barack Obama in November 2009 affirmed his Administration’s commitment to “an enduring and revitalized alliance between the United States and Japan.” Noting the impending 60th anniversary of the alliance, President Obama pledged to “deepen” the ties between Washington and Tokyo as a cornerstone of a broader strategy of reengagement with the region. At the same time, Obama cast the U.S.-Japan alliance in global terms, noting Japan’s “important contributions to stability around the world—from reconstruction to Iraq, to combating piracy off the Horn of Africa, to assistance for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”


Counter A2/AD in Japan – U.S. Defense Cooperation: Toward 'Allied Air-Sea Battle'
Futuregram 12-003

By Sugio Takahashi
April 18, 2012

The balance of power in the Asia – Pacific is rapidly shifting. The U.S. and Japan share concerns over China’s increasing military spending and lack of military transparency. This report analyzes the implications of Japan’s National Defense Policy Guidelines 2010 for Japan’s role in the Pacific and for the future of U.S. – Japan defense cooperation.


A New Narrative for the U.S.-Japan Alliance
Futuregram 12-002

By Dana White
March 16, 2012

Former Congressional staff, Dana White, presents a new narrative for the U.S. – Japan alliance. The report addresses the Futenma issue and reallocation of U.S. forces in Japan as well as new areas for non-traditional security cooperation. In the Asian century, the fates of Japan and the United States are inextricably linked. Tokyo and Washington collaboration must adopt a whole of government approach to fare well in this century.


  Testimonials ^Back

“With the increasing focus on the Asia-Pacific region, the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance is only growing in the coming years. The trip [Leaders Program August 2012 Exchange] gave me a greatly enhanced understanding of the alliance, how it came about, where it is going, and what Congress could/should do to maintain and even enhance it. This will help me provide better advice and support to my boss in his role as a policymaker in the Senate.” --Dave Hanke


“Overall, I think the trip [Leaders Program August 2012 Exchange] was fantastic. VERY well organized and the logistics were flawless. Navy Admirals don't have it as good.” --CDR Sean Henseler (ret.)


“I now have a much better sense of how the Japanese government makes decisions, how local politics affect the U.S. alliance and related procurement decisions, and how the business climate will be shaped by energy issues going forward. This will be very useful for me in terms of helping clients think through their approach to the Japanese market.” More broadly, the trip [Leaders Program August 2012 Exchange] helped me understand better the core issues of the U.S.-Japan alliance, which will make me a better citizen in addition to being a better consultant.”--Megan Ortiz.



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