Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer's End

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS & FUTURE PATHS FOR U.S. POLICY. 9/1, 9:00-11:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Speakers: Steven Bipes, Executive Director, Brazil-U.S. Business Council; Chris Israel, Managing Partner, PCT Government Relations; Stan McCoy, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation; Peter Rashish, Vice President, Europe and Eurasia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Jon Santamauro, Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP; Emery Simon, Counselor, Business Software Alliance; Ron Somers, President, U.S.-India Business Council; Jeremie Waterman, Senior Director, Greater China, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

ANOTHER RISING CHINA: WILL TAIWAN ESCAPE THE STRAITS? 9/1, Noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Hudson Institute. Speakers: William Rowe, Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Charles Horner, Author, Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate. Moderator: Eric Brown, Research Fellow, Hudson Institute.

EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM FROM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO PAUL WOLFOWITZ. 9/1, Noon-2:00, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Cato Institute. Speakers: Richard Immerman, Author Empire for Liberty; Robert Kagan, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Derek Leebaert, Partner, MAP AG; Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN BALANCE: COMPARING PROCESSES, WEIGHING EFFICACY. 9/1, 2:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: Authors of Transitional Justice in Balance, Tricia Olsen, Ph.D. candidate of Political Science, University of Wisconsin/Madison; Leigh Payne, Professor of Sociology and Latin America, University of Oxford; Andrew Reiter, Ph.D. Candidate of Political Science, University of Wisconsin/Madison; Neil Kritz, Senior Scholar in Residence, Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, USIP; David Backer, Program Officer, USIP.

FAULT LINES: HOW HIDDEN FRACTURES STILL THREATEN THE WORLD ECONOMY. 9/2, 4:00-5:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: International Monetary Fund (IMF). Speakers: Raghuram Rajan, Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, Author Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy; Sebastian Mallaby, Author of More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite; Min Zhu, Special Adviser to the Managing Director, IMF; Caroline Atkinson, Director, External Relations Department, IMF.

THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN AND ITS IMPACT ON TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS. 9/3, 8:00-9:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). Speakers: Thomas Risse, Freie Universitat Berlin; Arne Schroer, Universitat Passau. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Keeping faith with Japan

The orthodoxy is Japan has had its day in the sun. The recent GDP figures have annointed China as the only game in town. But from my humble home on the outskirts of Tokyo, I would just like to offer a tiny voice of dissent.

There have been a rash of China-rising stories recently and if the world remembers anything from yesterday's soundbites it's that China has overtaken Japan to be the number two economy. From this assumption it's not hard to make two more: that Japan has given up the ghost; and Pax Americana is maxed out so it's only a matter of time before Uncle Sam must beg brother China to spare a dime.

And time has run out, according to The Economist's August 19th Watching China whizz by. It offers us the insight that Japan has lost its way and China is pursuing its manifest destiny of ever-onward expansion. If only Japan could learn to be more entrepreneurial, less tradition-bound and more rewarding of change, things might be different, so the free-market-mantra goes. There's even a nice Economist graph to prove it:

It's all believable enough, but this reader's doubts set in when a significant reason for Japan's malaise was put forward that the Japanese corporate warrior salaryman and international diplomat had been usurped by the soshoku danshi "herbivore" wimp. In this school of thought, Japan is failing because employees are suddenly too wimpy to take foreign postings and only 14 percent are manly enough to want to be self-employed.

An alternative reading of this trend would be that far from being wimpy, the Japanese salaryman - and diplomat even - is standing up to the boss and saying "no" to a three-year posting to a third world backwater where there is no Japanese language or international school for his children, "no" to blindly following the company's diktat and "yes" to what's best for his famiIy. Is this not an example of the Japanese acting as individual rather rather than the corporate "zombie" that the Economist bemoans? The Japanese salaryman has never been keen on being posted to the cement factory in Pakistan for years on end, but is still as keen as ever on that North America transfer to the New York office. And, in this economic climate, is it so strange that most would prefer a guaranteed well-paying job for life than being self-employed?

To be sure, Japan is hardly sin-free. While more women are entering the workplace, scandalously few are in positions of authority, deference to seniority over merit often borders on the absurd... and then there's the bureaucrats.

But is China so much better?

Perhaps because I'm no economist, I look at that graph and I don't see Japan failing and the inexorable rise of China, I see a suspiciously perfect upward trajectory probably based on lies, that even if true, is completely unsustainable, and a Japan that has survived the wilderness years and is picking up the pieces.

Take the two biggest events of recent years concerning the Asian powers. Japan overthrew the center-right party that had been running the country since the war. China united behind the Beijing Olympics. Which one is the tradion-bound nation unable to cope with change?

Patrick Sherriff
Editor at large of The Point

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All star event in Tokyo

A PERFECT TECTONIC SHIFT? STRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENTS, KOIZUMI REFORMS, AND THE COLLAPSE OF LDP RULE. 8/19, 1:00-8:00pm; 8/20, 9:30am-6:30pm, Tokyo. Sponsor: Horiba Group. Speakers: Akihiko Tanaka, Tokyo University; Frances Rosenbluth, Yale University; Jun Saito, Yale University; Nobuhiro Hiwatari, Tokyo University; Gregory Noble, Tokyo University; Kozo Miyagawa, Keio University; Kay Shimizu, Columbia University; Junko Kato, Tokyo University; Yu Uchiyama, Tokyo University; Patricia MacLachlan, University of Texas-Austin; Yves Tiberghien, University of British Columbia; Kyohei Yamada, Yale University; Kawato Sadafumi, Tokyo University; Yamada Masahiro, Kansei Gankuin; Shigeo Hirano, Columbia University; Kosuke Imai, Princeton University; Kenneth McElwain, University of Michigan; Michio Umeda, University of Michigan; Benjamin Nyblade, University of British Columbia; Steve Reed, Chuo University; Masaki Taniguchi, Tokyo University. Location: Fukutake Auditorium, Hongo Campus, Tokyo University, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654. No RSVP required.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Discussions

Most of Washington is away this week. Congress is in recess and whoever can has escaped the August heat. However, a few hearty souls insist on discussing the big issues.

THE NEXT PHASE IN AMERICA'S RELATIONSHIP WITH IRAQ. 8/17, 1:00-2:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Speakers: Michael Corbin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq; Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East.

NEXT CHAPTER IN IRAQ. 8/18, 10:00-11:30, Washington, DC. Sponsor: United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Speakers: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill; and William Taylor, vice president of the Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations at USIP.

IRAN AFTER THE SANCTIONS: WHAT NEXT? 8/18, Noon-1:15pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Participants: Trita Parsi, adjunct scholar at MEI; and Michael Singh, fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

STATUS UPDATE: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN VIETNAM. 8/18, 2:00-4:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC). Speakers: Leonard Leo, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Tai Nguyen, brother of Nam Nguyen, who died after a police beating; Quang Nguyen, brother of Lieu Nguyen, who escaped to Thailand; Luan Nguyen, sister of Liem & Minh Nguyen, who are still detained; and T. Kumar, director of international advocacy at Amnesty International. Location: B-318 Rayburn House Office Building (this Commission does not maintain its website, thus we have noted the hearing's location, RSVP necessary).

8/19 - Congressional Budget Office releases its 2010 Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update

INDIA’S AIRPOWER MODERNIZATION. 8/19, 3:00-4:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Speaker: Muthumanikam Matheswaran, Air Vice Marshal, India. 

CHINA AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING: UPDATES AND ANALYSIS. 8/20, 10:00-11:30am, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Speakers: Earl Brown, Labor and Employment Law Counsel and China Program Director, Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO; Xin Ren, Professor, Criminal Justice Division, California State University, Sacramento; Tiantian Zheng, Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Asian/Middle Eastern Studies Program, State University of New York, Cortland; Patrick Radden Keefe, Fellow, The Century Foundation, and author of The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

Sunday, August 15, 2010

APP on the move

APP staff, fellows, and former interns have been on the move: 

John Turpin who was an intern and RA from 2004-2005 married Stephanie Marienau on June 12th. He is studying for the ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Stephanie works for Pact , an international development organization.

Miho Hasuo who was a RA from 1994-1997 gave birth to Sebastian Kai on July 22nd. Miho and her husband John Santella live in Portland, Oregon. Miho works now for Fios.

Michael Penn, APP nonresident fellow, has moved from Kitakyushu to Tokyo and is now the Japan correspondent for Press TV, an Iranian news service. He is also the English-language editor of the tri-lingual PanOrient News website on Japanese and other Asian news.

Michael Davidson, APP fellow, presented a paper July 6-8 at a seminar on post-Copenhagen climate change issues hosted by the Hainan Institute for World Watch in Hainan, PRC. You can follow his work on the political and security implications of climate change in Asia on his new blog, East Winds.

Lisa Gomi, this summer’s APP intern and a recent graduate of Brown University, has become a research assistant to the economics correspondent at the Washington bureau of the Yomiuri Shimbun.

William Brooks, senior fellow, will participate in the 2nd Annual Japan-Canada-US trilateral conference on August 30 and 31 in Tokyo, Japan. Hosted by the Japan Institute of International Affairs, the conference will bring senior academics, policymakers, and business representatives together to explore avenues for trilateral cooperation on Arctic governance and regional architecture issues.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tuesday, August 10th

The House of Representatives has been called back for a vote on August 10th, which means a little of Washington's business will be done on Tuesday. Otherwise Congress is in recess and most of Washington is away. 

8/10 - The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets, Federal Reserve

- 09:30 am, 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee - Full committee briefing on "Greenland Ice Sheet: Global Warming's Impacts on Arctic Region." Witnesses: Richard Alley, professor of geosciences, and earth and environmental systems at the Pennsylvania State University; Robert Bindschadler, senior research scientist at University of Maryland Baltimore County; and Andreas Muenchow, professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware.

LESSONS LEARNED: CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL EVENTS IN JAPAN. 8/10, 11:00am-12:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Stimson Center. Speakers: Tomohiko Makino, Visiting Fellow, Global Health Security Program, Stimson Center; Akihito Fukui, Defense Official, Ministry of Defense, Japan.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

China's policy futures

THE LONG TERM FUTURE OF U.S.-CHINESE RELATIONS: ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL ASPECTS. 8/2, 1:45-5:30pm, 8/3, 9:00am-4:45pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) Kissinger Institute on China and the United States; Harvard University Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Speakers: Alan Alexandroff, Director of Trade Policy, Centre for Trade Studies, University of Toronto; Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Pieter Bottelier, Senior Adjunct Professor of China Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Richard Cooper, Professor of International Economics, Harvard University; Ben Friedman, Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University; Jia Qingguo, Professor and Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University; Lawrence Lau, former Vice Chancellor, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lu Mai, Secretary-General, China Development Research Foundation; Charles Maier, Professor of History, Harvard University; Joeseph Nye, Professor of International Relations, Harvard University; David Richards, International Council Member, Harvard University; Richard Rosecrance, Adjunct Professor in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Ezra Vogel, Professor of Social Sciences, Harvard University.

POLITICAL PRISONERS IN CHINA: TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. POLICY. 8/3, 10:15-Noon, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Speakers: Jerome A. Cohen, Professor, New York University School of Law, and Co-Director, US-Asia Law Institute, and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Joshua Rosenzweig, Senior Manager, Research and Hong Kong Operations, Dui Hua Foundation; Wan Yanhai, Director, Beijing Aizhixing Institute; Sophia Richardson, Director, Asia Advocacy, Human Rights Watch.

THE EAST MOVES WEST: INDIA, CHINA, AND ASIA'S GROWING PRESENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. 8/4, Noon-1:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Middle East Institute. Speaker: Geoffrey Kemp, Director, Regional Strategic Programs, Nixon Center. 

Only after 65 years

APP advises members of congress and members of the Washington policy community on issues where Japan's war history intersects with current efforts to establish a successful East Asian regional security strategy.

Last week Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced H. Res 1567 to honor American former prisoners of war and their unending quest for justice. The resolution also commends the Government of Japan for finally offering an apology and creating an invitation program for the surviving POWs.

None of what Japan has done is perfect. Indeed, the Japanese Ambassador [above] has refused to put his oral apology in writing. And the most important apology requested by the POWs, from the Japanese companies that enslaved them, has been met with silence.

But the government's actions are a step. And a longer step than the denials made by former Prime Minister Taro Aso of his family mining company's use of POW slave labor.

On Saturday, the Mainichi Shimbun announced that the Japanese government would have the program that Mr. Honda commended Tokyo for only a few days earlier. There has been no official announcement.

68 Years after the Bataan Death March, Government for the First Time Ever to Invite 6 Former American POWs to Japan in September 

Mainichi, Eve., July 31, 2010 [Translation by William Brooks, APP Senior Fellow]

In April 1942 during World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army forced approximately 70,000 prisoners of war from America and other countries to walk approximately 100 kilometers on the island of Bataan in the Philippines. Many died along the way in what came to be known as the Bataan Death March. The government will invite some former U.S. POWs and their families to come to Japan in mid-September. This will be the first time the government has invited former POWs to come to Japan and a sign of postwar conciliation between Japan and the United States.