Sunday, March 19, 2023

Abe Government's War on the Press

 Biased Pressure on Broadcasters

By Takuya Nishimura, Chief Editorial Writer, The Hokkaido Shimbun

The views expressed by the author are his own and are not associated with The Hokkaido Shimbun

March 12, 2023

It should be pointed out that the former administration led by Shinzo Abe did not fully understand what democracy was. Last week, a lawmaker from the main opposition party revealed a document that described attempts by Abe's colleagues to pressure broadcasters that they thought were biased against the administration. While the minister who was in charge of the issue argued that the document was fabricated, the ministry admitted it as authentic. It is highly strange that a minister denies the truthfulness of a ministry’s document. But the point is not about whether it was true or not, but whether the Abe administration tried to oppress the freedom of expression.

A member of the House of Councillors, Hiroyuki Konishi, exposed a document of the Ministry for Internal Affairs and Communications that indicated that the Abe administration tried to change the interpretation of the Broadcasting Act on political impartiality. Article 4 of the law requires every broadcaster to be politically impartial in producing the programs and the government had been interpreting the provision as applied to the broadcasting station's programs as a whole. According to the revealed document, an adviser to the prime minister, Yosuke Isozaki, in a meeting with the officials of the ministry in 2014, questioned that interpretation and argued that there were obviously inappropriate cases among actual broadcasting programs.

The meetings on the interpretation were consecutively held and some secretaries of the Prime Minister's Office often joined. In one meeting in 2015, a secretary warned Isozaki that if the government, which had the authority to stop the broadcasting wave, would assess political impartiality by only one program, it might be an oppression of freedom of speech. Not only Isozaki, however, then Prime Minister Abe was willing to review the interpretation to make things straight, arguing he would be right to say no to some extreme programs. Among the programs discussed in the series of meetings, there were Sunday Morning and News 23 of TBS or Hodo Station of TV Asahi.

"Is there any unbiased program in TV Asahi, anyway?" was the words of Sanae Takaichi, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communities at the time, in a meeting. She was willing to answer the questions on revising the interpretation in Diet discussion, expecting positive support from Prime Minister Abe. After the documents including those exchanges were revealed, Takaichi, the current Minister in charge of Economic Security, immediately denied the description and dismissed her conversation as fabricated. 

Asked whether she would resign as the minister and lawmaker if the documents were found not to be fabricated, she said "Very well." But, a few days later, the documents were acknowledged as made in the ministry. There appeared a great contradiction that the head of the ministry denied the credibility of documents made by the ministry officials, because every policy delivered by the minister would be based on such documents.

Takaichi still insists that the description in the documents was incorrect and refused to resign. It is possible that she hoped the ministry would protect her by admitting their fabrication, as the Ministry of Finance did for Abe by admitting manipulation of internal documents on the Moritomo scandal in 2018. Upon refusing to resignation, she apologized for the incorrectness of the documents under her leadership.

What we can see in the documents is an amazing fact that Abe's colleagues believed that they could, with the approval of Abe, pressure the broadcasters they didn't like. Abe had been a politician who had a tendency of intolerance of criticisms against him and showed little hesitation in blaming news organizations skeptical of him. That kind of approach reminds of the oppression of the Hong Kong media by the Xi Jinping administration of China or the strong grip on the media by Vladimir Putin in Russia. What is biased is such a kind of politics. It might be inappropriate for Japan to advise some foreign countries to share common values of freedom of speech, rule of law and human rights.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Asia History Events February 2023

KENNAN: A LIFE BETWEEN WORLDS. 2/6, 4:00-5:30pm (EST), ZOOM. Sponsor: Washington History Seminar, Wilson Center. Speaker: author, Frank Costigliola, University of Connecticut; Beverly Gage, Yale University; Barbara Keys, Durham University. 


PRISONERS OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC WAR: HISTORY, MEMORY, AND FORGETTING. 2/7, JAPAN 4:00-7:30pm (JST), 2/8, 9:00am-5:00pm (JST); US EAST COAST 2/7, 2:00-5:30am (EST), 2/7 7:00-10:30pm (EST).  ZOOM. Sponsor: Kyoto University and JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science). This symposium brings together scholars researching the histories, memorialization and forgetting of prisoners and prison camps of the Asia Pacific War. Speakers include: Robert Cribb, Australian National University; Sarah Kovner, Columbia University; Anoma Pieris, Melbourne University; Taeko Sasamoto, POW Research Network, Japan. Organizer: Daniel Milne, Kyoto University.  [THIS CONFERENCE WILL NOT BE RECORDED]

THE 30 ANNIVERSARY OF WASHINGTON COALITION FOR COMFORT WOMEN ISSUES: CELEBRATING THE LEGACY OF COMFORT WOMEN. 2/7, 11:00am–1:00pm (EST). IN PERSON ONLY, 2168 Rayburn House Office Building (The Gold the Room). Speakers: Margaret Stetz, Professor of Humanities at the University of Delaware; Yangmo Ku, Associate Director of the
Peace and War Center at Norwich University; Bonnie Oh, Georgetown University Emeritus; Dennis Halpin, former staff member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Screening of a clip from the documentary: Cry Out: The 30 Years of Comfort Women Redress Movement, Written and Directed by Professor Jungsil Lee, George Washington University. 

THE GHOST AT THE FEAST: AMERICA AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE WORLD ORDER, 1900-1941. 2/8, Noon (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: Alexander Hamilton Society. Speaker: Author Robert Kagan, Stephen & Barbara Friedman Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution. 

2/14, 5:00-6:00pm (JST), 3:00-4:00am (EST), 12:00-1:00am (PST). IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Temple University Japan. SPEAKERS AND POW PROFILES. [THIS CONFERENCE MIGHT NOT BE RECORDED]

MILITARY HISTORY FOR THE MODERN STRATEGIST: AMERICA’S MAJOR WARS SINCE 1861. 2/15, 6:30-7:30pm (EST), IN-PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsor: New-York Historical Society. Speakers: Author Michael E. O’Hanlon, Phil Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy at Brookings; Moderator: General David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.), Commander of coalition forces during the Surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan and Former Director of the CIA. 

THE GENERAL VS. THE PRESIDENT: MACARTHUR AND TRUMAN AT THE BRINK OF NUCLEAR WAR. 2/16, Noon (EST), LIVE WEBCAST. Sponsor: Korea Society. Speaker: author, Dr. Henry W. Brands, Professor and Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. 

IMPERIAL GATEWAY: COLONIAL TAIWAN AND JAPAN’S EXPANSION IN SOUTH CHINA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA, 1895-1945. 2/24, 4:30PM (EST), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Sigur Center, GW. Speaker: author, Seiji Shirane, Assistant Professor of Japanese History, City College of New York. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday January 30, 2023 Event on Asia

. 1/30, 10:00am (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: Washington Post Live. Speaker: Gen. David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.), Partner, KKR & Chair, KKR Global Institute. 

BEFORE THE WEST. 1/30, Noon-1:30pm (EST), IN-PERSON AND ZOOM. Sponsor: American University School of International Service (SIS). Speakers: Author Dr. Ayse Zarakol, Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge, Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders; Amitav Acharya, SIS; Yang Zhang, SIS; Moderator: Ji-young Lee, SIS.

BLINKEN’S TRIP TO BEIJING: U.S.–CHINA RELATIONS AT A CROSSROADS. 1/30, Noon-1:00pm (EST), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: Quincy Institute. Speakers: Michael Swaine, Senior Fellow, Quincy Institute’s East Asia Program; Kendra Schaefer, Head of Tech Policy Research at Trivium China; and Michael Davidson, Assistant Professor, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy and Jacobs School of Engineering; Moderator: Jake Werner, Research Fellow in the Quincy Institute’s East Asia Program. 

BUCHA AFTER RUSSIAN OCCUPATION: BUCHA’S MAYOR ON THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY AND HOPES FOR THE FUTURE. 1/30, 12:30-1:30pm (EST), IN-PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsors: Kennan Institute, Wilson Center; Global Europe Program, Wilson Center. Speakers: Anatolii Fedoruk, Mayor of Bucha, Ukraine; Ambassador Mark Green, President, Director, & CEO, Wilson Center; Mykhailyna Skoryk-Shkarivska, Deputy Mayor, Bucha City Council; Robin S. Quinville, Director, Global Europe Program; Moderator: Brock Bierman, CEO, Ukraine Friends.

LESSONS FROM THE RUSSO-UKRAINE WAR AND ITS U.S.-CHINA CONFLICT APPLICATION. 1/30, 5:00-6:00pm (EST), IN-PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speaker: Mr. Robert Roseberry, IWP M.A. Candidate for Strategic Intelligence Studies. 

EUROMISSILES: THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT NEARLY DESTROYED NATO. 1/30, 4:00pm (EST), ONLINE. Sponsors: American Historical Association; Wilson Center. Speakers: Author Susan Colbourn, Associate Director, Program in American Grand Strategy, Duke University; Giordana Pulcini, Global Fellow, Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project; Aaron Bateman, Assistant professor of history and international affairs, George Washington University.

1/30, 5:30-7:00pm (AEDT), IN-PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsor: Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University. Speakers: Rogier Creemers, Assistant Professor, Leiden University.

A SOUTH KOREAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM? ASSESSING THE RISKS. 1/30, 7:00-8:30pm (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: 38 North Program, Stimson. Speakers: Siegfried S. Hecker, Distinguished Professor of Practice, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Robert Gallucci, Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; Jamie Kwong, Fellow, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Moderator: Jenny Town, Senior Fellow, Stimson Center and Director, 38 North. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Kishida's audience with Biden

No Big Deal, but Small Progress

By Takuya Nishimura, Chief Editorial Writer, The Hokkaido Shimbun
The views expressed by the author are his own and are not associated with The Hokkaido Shimbun
January 23, 2023

The headlines of newspapers covering Prime Minister Kishida’s meeting with President Biden on January 13th mainly focused on enhancement of the deterrence capability of the Japan-US alliance, but the outcome of the meeting lacked substantial deals. During the meeting, Kishida appealed for U.S. support of Japan’s security buildup. Biden had no reason to be unhappy with Japan’s positive stance on the security in East Asian region. However, the Joint Statement issued after the meeting was mainly filled with the predictable words. While the agreement leaned toward military measures against actual or potential threats, diplomatic solutions received little attention, which has caused public uneasiness in Japan. It is too early to say that bolstering the alliance has achieved broad consensus in Japan.

Both leaders celebrated the bilateral relationship noting that it had “never been closer.” Kishida told Biden that the Japanese government had renewed major security documents and would expand the security budget in coming five years. Biden praised Japan’s effort, saying “We are modernizing our military alliance.”

While the joint statement stressed that the bilateral cooperation was unprecedented, rooted in the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and a peaceful and prosperous world, there was no significant news in it. The two leaders “reaffirmed” that the alliance remains the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. Biden “reiterated” the unwavering commitment of US to the defense of Japan under Article V of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, and “reaffirmed” the application of the article to the Senkaku Islands. These are reconfirmations of the agreements of former leaders of both nations.

Biden commended Japan’s security reinforcement through the new National Security Strategy and the new National Defense Strategy and Defense Buildup Program, which actually are the renewals of earlier documents. One of the selling points of the new NSS is the capability to strike enemy bases, that is described as “counterstrike” capability in the joint statement. But it does not necessarily mean preemptive attack. Kishida has been insisting that the capability to strike back against an attacker would not violate Japan’s traditional security principle of exclusively defense-oriented policy. Japan’s expansion of its security budget, which Biden called an “historic increase,” is still a matter of planning. Kishida failed to include it in last month’s budget, however.

Both leaders had the reasons for making the outcome dramatic. Kishida needs to persuade the Japanese people that the US is firmly committed to the security of East Asia, where Chinese advances have been growing as seen in the missile launch at Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Biden answered Kishida’s request by saying: “Let me be crystal clear: The United States is fully, thoroughly, completely committed to the alliance.” Biden needs to assure the US people that the Japanese are ready to make enough effort to defend themselves.

Japan’s new NSS and defense budget may be the preferable tools for his Kishida’s domestic politics. However, their political boost has not been seen. In addition, Biden's controversy involving classified documents precluded a joint press conference with Kishida. Meanwhile, there remains certain unpopularity in Japan about Kishida’s handling of important policies, including tackling infectious diseases and inflation. Some even argue that Group 7 summit meeting this May may result in an exit for Kishida administration.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Monday Asia Events December 12, 2022

MAPPING CHINA’S PATHWAY TO A CARBON-NEUTRAL FOOD SYSTEM. 12/12, 9:00–10:15am (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Min Hu, Principal and Co-Founder, iGDP; Meian Chen, Program Director and Senior Analyst, iGDP; Kevin Mo, Principal, iGDP; Patty Fong, program director on Climate and Health & Wellbeing at FOF; Moderator: Jennifer L. Turner, Director, China Environment Forum & Manager, Global Choke Point Initiative, Wilson Center.

RAMACHANDRA GUHA ON MODI’S INDIA. 12/12, 11:00am (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: Foreign Policy. Speakers: Ramachandra Guha, Historian and biographer, author, Environmentalism: A Global History and India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy; Ravi Agrawal, Editor in chief, Foreign Policy.

THE OUTLOOK FOR STRATEGIC COMPETITION IN THE SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY. 12/12, 2:00-3:00pm (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Duncan Wood; Vice President for Strategy & New Initiatives; Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute; Alexandra Helfgott, Office of VP of Strategy and New Initiatives; Former Research Intern, Mexico Institute; Kellee Wicker; Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program, Cordell Hull; Global Fellow; Jimmy Goodrich, Vice President, Global Policy, Semiconductors Industry Association; Moderator: Don McLellan, International Co-Chair, Woodrow Wilson Center National Cabinet.

REIMAGINING THE TPP: REVISIONS THAT COULD FACILITATE U.S. REENTRY REPORT LAUNCH EVENT. 12/12, 2:00-3:00pm (EST), WEBINAR: Sponsor: Asia Society. Speakers: Co-authors Wendy Cutler, ASPI Vice President and Clete Willems, partner at Akin Gump; Moderator: Bob Davis, Wall Street Journal, Senior Editor.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Monday Asia Events December 5, 2022

, 8:30–9:30am (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Stimson. Speakers: Nobukatsu Kanehara, Professor, Faculty of Law, Department of Political Science, Doshisha University; Moderator: Yuki Tatsumi, Director, Japan Program, Stimson.

CHINA AND THE GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM. 12/5, 11:30am (BST), VIRTUAL. Sponsor: St Antony’s Asian Studies Centre, Oxford, UK. Speakers: Sarah M. Brooks, Program Director, International Service for Human Rights; Rosemary Foot, Professor and Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Rana Siu Inboden, Senior Fellow, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, University of Texas at Austin; Moderator, John D. Ciorciari, Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement, Ford School.

THE VATICAN AND PERMANENT NEUTRALITY. 12/5, Noon-1:30pm (EST), ZOOM. Sponsor: Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Speakers Include: Marshall Breger, Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America; Dr. Herbert Reginbogin, Catholic University of America; Dr. Suzanne Brown Fleming, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Dr. Piotr Kosicki, University of Maryland; Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Catholic University of America; Dr. Matthew Shadle, Marymount University; Moderator: Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., Georgetown University.

THE DRAGON ROARS BACK. 12/5, 4:30pm (EST), ONLINE WEBINAR. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: author, Suisheng Zhao, Professor and Director, Center for China-US Cooperation, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver; Jude Blanchette, Freeman Chair, CSIS. PURCHASE BOOK

NEW FORM OF CAPITALISM IN JAPAN AND THE NORDIC VISION: LABOR PARTICIPATION, GENDER EQUALITY, AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE. 12/5, 5:00-6:30pm (JST), ZOOM. Sponsor: Embassy of Finland, Royal Danish Embassy, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Iceland, Norwegian Embassy. Speakers Include: Atsushi Sunami, President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; Tanja Jääskeläinen, Ambassador of Finland to Japan; Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland; Masanobu Ogura, Minister of State for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Monday Asia Events November 14, 2022

, 8:30am-12:30pm (EST), ONLINE WEBCAST. Sponsor: Center for Global Development (CGD). Speakers Include: Minouche Shafik, Director, London School of Economics; Masood Ahmed, President, CGD.

UKRAINE AND THE FUTURE OF AIR WARFARE. 11/14, 10:00-11:00am (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speakers: Margarita Konaev, Deputy Director of Analysis and a Research Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology; Tom Karako, Senior Fellow with the International Security Program and Director of the Missile Defense Project, CSIS; Sam Bendett, Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center; Kelly A. Grieco, Senior Fellow with the Reimagining US Grand Strategy Program at the Stimson Center.

TOWARD A DATA-DRIVEN SOCIETY: FROM BUSINESS TO POLICY TO SOCIAL VISION. 11/14, 11:30am-12:30pm (EST), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB), Columbia Business School. Speakers: Yusuke Narita, Assistant Professor, Yale University; David E. Weinstein, Director, CJEB.

US DEFENSE INNOVATION AND GREAT POWER DETERRENCE. 11/14, 2:00-3:15pm (EST), IN PERSON AND WEBCAST. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Michael E. O’Hanlon, Director, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; David A. Ochmanek, Senior Defense Analyst, RAND Corporation; Caitlin Talmadge, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; Christian Brose, Chief Strategy Officer, Anduril Industries.

SCIENCE AND DEMOCRACY: A TRANSATLANTIC PERSPECTIVE. 11/14, 2:00–7:30pm (EST), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Embassy of France. Speakers: Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Professor, Panthéon-Sorbonne University; Bruce Lewenstein, Professor, Cornell University; Mireille Guyader, Science Counselor; Alondra Nelson, Deputy Director for Science and Society, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Mark B. Brown, Professor, California State University; Alexandra Givens, President and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology; Etienne Klein, Philosopher of Science and Physicist, French Atomic Energy Commission; Rashada Alexander, Director, Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, American Association, Advancement of Science; Gaël Giraud, Director, Environmental Justice Program, Georgetown University; Pierre Henriet, Member, French National Assembly; Craig McLean, Former Chief Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Sheila Jasanoff, Professor, Harvard University; Aurélie Bonal, Deputy Chief of Mission; Moderators: Bryan Walsh, Editor, Future Project, Vox; Julia MacKenzie, Chief Program Officer, American Association, Advancement of Science; Jim Acosta, Anchor and Chief Domestic Correspondent, CNN.

, 3:00–4:00pm (EST), ONLINE AND IN PERSON. Sponsor: George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies. Speakers: Ambassador Taeyong Cho, Ambassador, Republic of Korea to United States; Moderator: Alyssa Ayres, Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. 

THE UKRAINE WAR AND THE CAUCASUS: IS RUSSIA LOSING BOTH? 11/14, 3:00–4:00pm (EST), IN PERSON. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speakers: Erik Khzmalyan, Geopolitical Analyst, U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security.

IDEOLOGY IN U.S. FOREIGN RELATIONS: NEW HISTORIES. 11/14, 4:00-5:30pm (EST), ZOOM. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: Author Christopher McKnight Nichols, Oregon State University; Mary L. Dudziak, Professor of Law, Emory University; Michaela Hoenicke Moore, Associate Professor of History, University of Iowa; Penny M. Von Eschen, Professor of History and American Studies, University of Virginia; Moderators: Christian F. Ostermann, Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project, Wilson Center; Eric Arnesen, Former Fellow, Director, National History Center of the American Historical Association. 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HEIHACHIRO TOGO. 11/14, 6:30pm (JST), IN-PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Yokosuka Council on Asia Pacific Studies (YCAPS), Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Speakers: Hiroshige Togo, Surface Ship Officer, JMSDF, Tanaka Precious Metals; Moderators: Jenna Lindeke Heavenrich, YCAPS; Ed Thompson. 

MILITARY OPERATIONS OTHER THAN WAR IN CHINA’S FOREIGN POLICY. 11/14, 7:00-8:00pm (EST), ONLINE. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speakers: Courtney J. Fung, Associate Professor in the Department of Security Studies & Criminology at Macquarie University; Andrea Ghiselli, Assistant Professor, School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA), Fudan University; Jesse Marks, Nonresident Fellow, China Program, Stimson Center. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Japan's Stimulus Budget

An Uneasy Stimulus Package for Japan

By Takuya Nishimura
, Chief Editorial Writer, The Hokkaido Shimbun
The views expressed by the author are his own and are not associated with The Hokkaido Shimbun

November 7, 2022

To prepare for the risk of worldwide economic decline, the Kishida administration announced in late October a new stimulus package amounting to ¥39 trillion ($264 billion). Hoping to ease the Japanese people’s growing anger over relentless price hikes, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is offering families financial support for their utilities bills. However, it is not clear whether the new measures can keep up with the consistent inflation caused by the fall in the value of the Japanese yen. Meanwhile, disregarding widespread demands for economic stabilization, the Bank of Japan shows no sign of ending current efforts to ease monetary policy.

The administration argued that the Japanese economy is on its way to a normal condition after a significant slump caused by COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Those events led to higher prices for international raw materials, while the plunging yen caused increases in the prices of energy and food products. The stimulus package aimed at moderating inflation and improving workers’ wages, by using the cheap yen to restore sales capacity.

The highest priority in the stimulus package is to moderate the unusual increase in commodity prices, a trend that other major economies in the world are also attempting to address. Japan’s stimulus package may be unique, however, in that is the government will subsidize household electricity and fuel bills through payments directly to those utilities rather than through payments to households. The government has explained the subsidies will result in a 20% reduction in the monthly electric power charges of an average family. The public is skeptical about whether the electric power companies pass the subsidies along through reductions in monthly charges, but the government has said that the reductions will be described on monthly bills. There remains the possibility that the stimulus package will be the salvation of electric corporations, without improving consumers’ purchasing power. The same can be said about gas prices.

Another key to economic revitalization is raising workers’ wages. While former administrations recognized the need for better wages, the financial benefits of tax cuts and programs for major corporations did not trickle down to small or mid-size businesses. And the wages of a majority of workers has remained low. The Kishida administration looks to be more aware of the problem than were its predecessors. The stimulus package will back small businesses on the condition that employee salaries rise. Companies will be penalized if they hesitate in reflecting governmental support on the price, or financial back-up for the companies suffered from COVID-19 or current inflation. But employers would not be required to sacrifice their businesses to get their employees to the proper wage level.

The rest of the policies in the package are politically motivated. Neo-capitalism is one of the pillars of Kishida’s policy. To promote investment in human capital, the package expands the budget for the next five years, creates a new system for “reskilling” and job transfer, removes expiration of the Nippon Individual Savings Account and improves the personal pension system. To improve job education, Japan will send one thousand young entrepreneurs to technology and finance centers in United States, including Silicon Valley and business districts in the east coast.

Subsidies for the construction of infrastructure is a traditional stimulus policy of any Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) administration because local constructors are fundamental supporters of the party. Firmly believing in Keynesian economics, the Kishida administration, as well as former LDP ones, will encourage improvements to the transportation system to better withstand disasters and will support the growth of a digital-transformation-friendly infrastructure. Finally, although the relationship to economic stimulus is unclear, the stimulus package also includes: support for the countries or regions affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine; a fund for releasing into the sea the water used for cooling Fukushima’s damaged nuclear reactors; and security enhancements for G7 leaders meeting in Hiroshima next year.

On the same day that Kishida announced his new stimulus package, the Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Haruhiko Kuroda said in a press conference that the Bank will maintain its inflation targeting policy known as “yield curb control.” Kuroda then predicted that “Although commodity prices for consumers will keep rising through the end of this year, the speed of inflation will be slowed down by mid-2023.” The Governor’s term ends next April. Supposedly frustrated with slow progress in reaching the target 2% inflation rate, Kuroda insisted that the monetary policy should support a rise in workers’ wages. But the BoJ is not necessarily responsible for workers’ wages. News reports thus focused on who will be his successor.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Monday Asia Events November 7, 2022

PREPARING FOR NEW GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND A PACT FOR THE FUTURE: THE ROAD TO THE 2024 SUMMIT OF THE FUTURE. 11/7, NOON (EST),  6:00PM (CEST), IN PERSON AND ZOOM. Sponsors: Foundation for European Progressive Studies and Stimson Center. Speakers: Richard Ponzio – Director for Global Governance, Justice & Security Program at the Stimson Center and author of the report “Road to 2023. Our Common Agenda and the Pact for the Future”; Discussants: Ann Linde – Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden; Adam Day – Co-Lead to the High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism and Head of the United Nations University Geneva Office; Jo Leinen – FEPS Senior Fellow, Former Member of the European Parliament, and Chair of Key Committees of the European Parliament. 

ECONOMIC SECURITY IN THE INDO-PACIFIC: IMPLICATIONS FOR US-JAPAN RELATIONS. 11/7, 3:00-4:15pm (EST), IN-PERSON AND WEBCAST. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Jun Kazeki, Executive Advisor, GRIPS Alliance; Scott Kennedy, Senior Adviser and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics, CSIS; Mihoko Matsubara, Chief Cybersecurity Strategist, NTT Corporation; James L. Schoff, Senior Director, U.S.-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA; Moderator: Mireya Solís, Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies.

PRC CYBERATTACKS ON TAIWAN: WHAT THE U.S. SHOULD LEARN FROM THEM. 11/7, 5:00-6:00pm (EST), IN-PERSON. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics (IWP). Speaker: Gillian Hand, IWP National Security Affairs M.A. Candidate ('22).

DIGITALLY TRANSFORMING JAPAN: A CONVERSATION WITH FORMER DIGITAL MINISTER KAREN MAKISHIMA. 11/7, 5:00–6:15pm (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speaker: Karen Makishima, House of Representatives, Japan, Kanagawa 17th district; Kenji E. Kushida, Senior Fellow, Japan Studies, Carnegie’s Asia Program; Kiyoteru Tsutsui, Professor of Sociology, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

THE TAO OF ALIBABA AND LESSONS FOR BROADER U.S.–CHINA BUSINESS RELATIONS. 11/7, 5:30-6:30pm (PST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Asia Society. Speakers: Author Brian Wong, Alibaba Executive, Former Special Assistant to Jack Ma, The Tao of Alibaba: Inside the Chinese Digital Giant That is Changing the World; Moderator: Frank Lavin, CEO and Founder, Export Now.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Monday Asia Events October 31, 2022

CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF THE US-PAKISTAN RELATIONSHIP. 10/31, 8:30-10:00am (JDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: TBA.  

THE INTERSECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS CRIMES AND NATIONAL SECURITY. 10/31, 10:00-11:00am (EDT), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speaker: Heather Fischer, Senior Advisor, Human Rights Crimes, Thomson Reuters Special Services. 

NUKES, PROTESTS, AND IRAN WITH ROBERT MALLEY. 10/31, 10:00-10:45am (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran. 

MACHIAVELLI: ON HOW TO BE A GOOD DIPLOMAT WITH REFERENCE TO JAPAN. 10/31, Noon-1:30pm (EDT), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Reischauer Center. Speaker: Amb. David Shear, Senior Advisor, Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins. 

HOW THE WAR IN UKRAINE COULD END. 10/31, Noon-1:15pm, (PDT), IN-PERSON AND ZOOM. Sponsor: Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University (FSI). Speakers: H. R. McMaster, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute, Lecturer, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, 26th Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; Kathryn Stoner, Director, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), Senior Fellow, Center on International Security and Cooperation, FSI. Professor, Stanford University; Steven Pifer, Affiliate, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution. 

WHAT SHOULD PRESIDENT BIDEN DO IF CONGRESS CHANGES HANDS? 10/31, 2:00-2:45pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Speakers: Lisa Desjardins, US Capitol Correspondent, PBS NewsHour; Tevi Troy, Director, Presidential Leadership Initiative, BPC. 

NEW THINKING ABOUT JAPANESE SECURITY. 10/31, 6:30-8:00pm (JST), 5:30-7:00am (EST), WEBINAR. Sponsor: ICAS, Temple University Japan Campus. Speakers: Hiroyuki Akita, Commentator, Nihon Keizai Shinbun; Moderator: Robert Dujarric, Co-Director; Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Monday Asia Events October 24, 2022

WHEN MCKINSEY CAME TO CHINA. 10/24, 10:00-11:00am (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Hudson. Speakers: Nate Sibley, Research Fellow, Kleptocracy Initiative, Hudson; Michael Forsythe, Investigations Reporter, New York Times, Co-author, When McKinsey Comes to Town. PURCHASE BOOK:

THE INDISPENSABLE DOMAIN: THE CRITICAL ROLE OF SPACE IN JADC2. 10/24, 10:00am (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Mitchell Institute. Speakers: Tim Ryan, Senior Fellow, Mitchell Institute; Lt Gen Philip Garrant, Deputy Chief of Space Operations, Strategy, Plans, Programs, and Requirements, United States Space Force; Dr. Brad Tousley, Vice President of Strategy and Technology, Raytheon Intelligence and Space; Moderator: Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean, Mitchell Institute.

ALL EYES ON CHINA – REVIEWING THE 20TH PARTY CONGRESS. 10/24, Noon-1:00om (BST); 7:00-8:00am (EDT), ONLINE ONLY. Sponsor: Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Speakers: Rana Mitter, Professor, University of Oxford; Veerle Nouwens, Research Fellow, RUSI. 

INDIA, CHINA AND THE UN CHARTER ORDER IN THE AGE OF THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS. 10/24, 1:20-2:20pm (EDT), IN PERSON AND ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: U.S.-Asia Law Institute. Speakers: Dr. David M. Malone, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations. José E; Alvarez, Professor, New York University School of Law. 

THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL DEMOCRACY. 10/24, 3:00-5:00pm (EDT), LIVE STREAM. Sponsor: Open Society Foundation. Speakers: Nazanin Ash, CEO, Welcome.US; Laleh Ispahani, Co-Director, Open Society-U.S.; Tom Perriello, Executive Director, Open Society-U.S. 

. 10/24, 3:00-4:00pm (EDT), IN-PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs of Indonesia; Moderator: Gregory B. Poling, Senior Fellow and Director, Southeast Asia Program and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. 

AFGHAN CRUCIBLE: THE SOVIET INVASION AND THE MAKING OF MODERN AFGHANISTAN. 10/24, 4:00-5:00pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsor: Wilson Center. Speakers: author, Elisabeth Leake, Tufts University; Jayita Sarkar, University of Glasgow; Amna Qayyum, Yale University. PURCHASE BOOK:

OVERREACH: HOW CHINA DERAILED ITS PEACEFUL RISE. 10/24, 4:30-7:00pm (EDT), IN-PERSON AND WEBINAR. Sponsor: Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program. Speakers: Author Susan Shirk, Research Professor and Chair, 21st Century China Center, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise?; Thomas J. Christensen, James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations, Director, China and the World Program at Columbia University; Susan A. Thornton, Senior Fellow, Visiting Lecturer, Law at the Yale Law School Paul Tsai China Center; John K. Culver, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global China Hub, Atlantic Council. 

HOW TO ADDRESS THE INNOVATION ADOPTION PROBLEM IN DEFENSE? 10/24, 5:00-6:00pm (EDT), IN-PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Institute of World Politics. Speakers: Mr. Mikolaj Firlej, Lecturer in AI and Regulation, Surrey Institute for People-Centred AI, School of Law, University of Surrey, Research Affiliate at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.

THE GEOPOLITICAL AND TECHNICAL CHANGES RESHAPING CYBER RISK. 10/24, 5:45-7:00pm (AEDT), IN-PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsor: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). Speakers: Marcel de Vink, Vice Minister for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands; Dr. Tobias Feakin, Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Johanna Weaver, Director, Tech Policy Design Centre, Australian National University; Moderator: Fergus Hanson, Director International Cyber Policy Centre, ASPI.