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.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Monday Asia Events October 17, 2022

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken holds a conversation on the evolution and importance of technology, diplomacy, and national security with Hoover Institution Director and 66th Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 1:45pm EDT/ 10:45am PDT at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, CA. Livestreamed.

Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue documentary screening with director Miki Dezaki. In person only at 5:00pm (BST), University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

INCLUSIVE ECONOMIES IN AN AGE OF RECESSION. 10/17, 9:00-9:45am (CDT), YOUTUBE. Sponsor: Chicago Council. Speakers: Indermit Gill, Chief Economist of the World Bank Group and Senior Vice President for Development Economics; Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College, London; Dambisa Moyo, Co-Principal of Versaca Investments, Global Economist, Author, and Board Member; Gillian Tett, Chair of the Editorial Board and Editor-at-Large, US, Financial Times

THE FOURTH NORTH KOREA ECONOMIC FORUM ANNUAL CONFERENCE. 10/17, 9:00am-3:00pm (EDT), IN PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsor: Institute for Korea Studies, GW. Speakers Include: Robert King, Former US Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, William Brown, Chair, North Korea Economic Forum, GW; Matthew Abbott, Director of Government and Diplomatic Programs, Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 

LAUNCHING THE BRETTON WOODS 2.0 PROJECT. 10/17, 9:30am (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers Include: Carmen M. Reinhart, Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System, Harvard Kennedy School, Former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank; Ajay Chhibber, Senior Visiting Professor, ICRIER, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; Hung Tran, Former staff member, IMF, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; Nisha Narayanan, Head of Country Risk, Previous World Bank Consultant; Victor Shih, Ho Miu Lam Chair in China and Pacific, UCSD.

RENEWING AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL POLICY. 10/17, 9:30-10:30pm (EDT), VIRTUAL ONLY. Sponsor: Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Speakers: Alexandra Seymour, Associate Fellow, CNAS; Emily Jin, Research Assistant, CNAS; Chris Miller, Associate Professor, Fletcher School, Tufts; Jeane Kirkpatrick, Visiting Fellow, AEI; Jonas Nahm, Assistant Professor, SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Ryan Fedasiuk, Adjunct Fellow, CNAS. 

GLOBAL STATUS OF CCS 2022. 10/17, 10:00am (EDT), WEBINAR ONLY. Sponsor: Global CCS Institute. Speakers: Alex Milward, Director, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy’s Office, Fossil Energy and Carbon Management; Chris Bolesta, Policy Lead, European Commission. 

EMBARKING ON A PATH OF RENEWAL: A REPORT BY THE COMMISSION ON STABILIZATION AND GROWTH IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA. 10/17, 10:30am-Noon (EDT), IN-PERSON AND WEBINAR. Sponsor: Middle East Institute (MEI). Speakers: Masood Ahmed, President, Center for Global Development; Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, IMF; Ishac Diwan, Lecturer in Public Policy and the director for Africa and the Middle East at the Growth Lab, the Center for International Development; Ibrahim Elbadawi, Managing Director, Economic Research Forum; Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa region, World Bank; Hanan Morsy, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department, African Development Bank; Mustapha Nabli, Senior Associate, North Africa Bureau of Economic Studies (NABES); Moderator: Paul Salem, President and CEO, MEI.

, 10/17, 11:00am-12:15pm (EDT), WEBINAR. Sponsors: Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) at George Washington University, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report office (UNDP HDRO).

UPCOMING GEO-STRATEGIC TRENDS IN THE INDO-PACIFIC. 10/17, 11:00-11:40am (PDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall. Speakers: Chairman (ret) Ed Royce, Former Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Admiral Harry Harris, U.S. Navy (Retired), Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Moderator: Eric Nishizawa, Owner, The Law Office of Eric Y. Nishizawa. 

STRENGTHENING TAIWAN’S TRADE AND ECONOMIC STABILITY. 10/17, Noon (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Hudson. Speakers: Wendy Cutler, Vice President, Asia Society Policy Institute; Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President, US-Taiwan Business Council; Abby Fu, Research Fellow, Hudson Institute; Moderator: Riley Walters, Deputy Director, Japan Chair, Hudson Institute. 

HOW MUCH TROUBLE IS PUTIN IN? 10/17, Noon (EDT), LIVESTREAM ONLY. Sponsor: Foreign Policy. Speakers: Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Director of the Transatlantic Security Program, Center for a New American Security; Ravi Agrawal, Editor in chief, Foreign Policy

CHINA AND JAPAN IN THE GLOBAL POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. 10/17, Noon-1:15pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Speakers: Kelly Gallagher, Academic Dean; Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy, Director, Climate Policy Lab, Co-Director, Center for International Environment & Resource Policy, The Fletcher School Tufts University; Miranda Schreurs, Professor of Environment and Climate Policy, School of Government, Bavarian School of Public Policy, Technical University of Munich; Moderator: Christina L. Davis, Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics, Department of Government, and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

DOMESTIC EXTREMISM AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE: THE THREAT TO LIBERTY. 10/17, 1:00pm-2;30pm (EDT), ONLINE ONLY. Sponsor: Cato. Speakers: Mike German, Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU; Christopher Vials, Professor, University of Connecticut; Patrick G. Eddington, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute. 

WHAT’S IN STORE: THE FUTURE OF ENERGY THROUGH NATURAL GAS. 10/17, 2:00-3:00pm (EDT), IN-PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Association of Women in International Trade. Speakers: Joshua Volz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa, Middle East, Europe & Eurasia, US Department of Energy; Dr. Dagmara Koska, Deputy Head of Section Global Issues and Innovation and Counsellor for Energy and Climate at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States; Leslie Palti-Guzman, Co-founder and CEO of Gas Vista, Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Energy Security and Climate Change Program; Moderators: Cassandra Kuball, Co-Chair of WIIT’s Agriculture, Energy, and Environment Section; Soozhana Choi, Co-Chair of WIIT’s Agriculture, Energy, and Environment Section. FEE. 

RUSSIAN INFORMATION WARFARE. 10/17, 2:00-3:00pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Carnegie. Speakers: Author: Dr. Bilyana Lilly, Director of Security Intelligence and Geostrategy, Krebs Stamos Group; Moderator: Gavin Wilde, Senior Fellow, Carnegie. PURCHASE BOOK:

. 10/17, 3:00pm (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: Asian American Scholar Forum. Speakers: Judy Chu, Congresswoman (D-CA); Xihong Lin Professor, Harvard University; Yu Xie, Professor, Princeton University.

A CONVERSATION WITH FORMER USTRS. 10/17, 3:30-5:00pm (EDT), IN-PERSON AND ONLINE. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Amb. Carla Hills, Former United States Trade Representative; Amb. Charlene Barshefsky, Former United States Trade Representative; Amb. Susan Schwab, Former United States Trade Representative; Amb. Ronald Kirk, Former United States Trade Representative; Amb. Michael Froman, Former United States Trade Representative. 

THE PERSONALITY OF AMERICAN POWER: A CONVERSATION WITH GISELLE DONNELLY. 10/17, 4:00-5:00pm (EDT), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Giselle Donnelly, Senior Fellow, AEI; Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, AEI. 

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE: AMERICA’S RECONCILIATION WITH VIETNAM. 10/17, 4:00-6:00pm (EDT), IN-PERSON ONLY. Sponsors: Columbia SIPA, China and the World Program, Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Speaker: Author Ted Osius, Former US Ambassador to Vietnam.  PURCHASE BOOK:

THE NATIONAL SECURITY IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS. 10/17, 4:00pm (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR. Sponsor: American Leadership Initiative. Speakers: Jim McGovern, Congressman (D-MA); Dan Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Caitlin Welsh, Director, Food Security Program, CSIS. 

THE RUSSIA/UKRAINE WAR AND ITS IMPACT ON GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY CHAINS. 10/17, 4:00-5:15pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA); Eric Mitchell, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger; Caitlin Welsh, Director, Food Security Program, CSIS; Dan Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Michelle Grogg, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility Executive Director, Cargill Foundation.

THE PROBLEM OF DEMOCRACY: ISLAM, LIBERALISM, AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY. 10/17, 4:00-5:30pm (EDT), ONLINE ONLY. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: author, Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy; Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Stanford University; Amaney Jamal, Dean, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. PURCHASE BOOK:

STRATEGIC STABILITY AND EXTENDED DETERRENCE ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA: A CONVERSATION WITH ANKIT PANDA. 10/17, 4:00pm (PDT); 7:00pm (EDT), ZOOM WEBINAR ONLY. Sponsor: Korea-Pacific Program, UC San Diego. Speakers: Stephan Haggard, director, Korea-Pacific Program, UC San Diego; Ankit Panda, Senior Fellow, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie. 

THE RESULTS OF ABENOMICS AND KISHIDA'S NEW CAPITALISM. 10/17, 5:00-6:30pm (JST), IN PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS), Temple University, Japan Campus. Speaker: Naohiro Yashiro, Specially Appointed Professor with the Faculty of Global Business at Showa Women’s University. 

Saturday, October 15, 2022


favorite brands of the late 1970s
US Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield (1977 to 1988) endeared himself to the Japanese and others by making coffee for anyone who visited him. The former Marine, miner, college professor, and Senate Majority Leader (1961-1976) understood the power of this personal gesture. Neither an assistant nor office lady served the coffee. He did. It was thoughtful, magnanimous, and equalizing.

The self-effacing and down-to-earth Montana Democrat knew that this small, everyday courtesy would set his visitor at ease and be remembered fondly. It was instant coffee, not the best, but it created an amicable atmosphere for the meeting. Enough cream and sugar lessened the bitterness of the mismeasured Nescafé.

The Ambassador's coffee ritual drew upon the social psychology of meetings and first impressions. Whereas it is unlikely you will remember what was said at most meetings, you will remember how it made you feel. A contentious discussion can be tempered by personal kindness.

Mansfield's timeless coffee lessons, however, are lost on today's Japan managers and others. Or maybe they want to make clear that some visitors are more welcome or respected than others. The ambassador likely felt that such clarity was politically costly.
Inadvertently, over the past few weeks I have tested this Mansfield Principle. I have reached out to a number of people in Washington who have new positions among the think tanks related to Asia in order to meet and welcome them. Each time I have invited them for coffee in my art-filled office or at a place of their choosing. All the men were 10 to 30 years younger than me. All asked me to visit their office and all delayed or rescheduled the meetings.

The coffee ritual proceeded as follows: 
>At the new Washington branch of a South Asian think tank the executive director had his own cup of coffee from an outside coffee shop. I did not, but was offered a bottle of water. 
>At the new chair of a Northeast Asian program at a prominent think tank, I was offered nothing nor did my host drink anything. 
>At the largely US government-funded think tank, the meeting took place at the cafeteria and I was told to buy my own coffee. I declined.

And then there were my multiple offers to get together for coffee to meet the leadership in the new Washington office of a well-known Asia-Pacific government think tank. I am still awaiting an answer.

All the programs of these organizations appear in our Asia Policy Calendar. None are members of Asia Policy Point and all made it clear that they would never be. Often at their in-person events there is coffee and tea. 

But if you are ever in Washington, please stop by Asia Policy Point for fresh brewed Starbucks coffee. We also have international teas, herbal teas, bottle water, and soup. We like meeting new people and making them feel at home.

UPDATE: The February 16, 2023 Economist has also reports on the current coffee ritual and finds that In the matter of coffee and meetings, the blend is the problem.. Frankly, in my nearly 50 years in Washington, coffee was not a thing until recently. And when it was, it was meant as message to simply not to meet. Lunch was a thing. That was the gracious way to welcome newcomers or potential collaborators. Now people seem self absorbed and believe whatever they are doing is more important than someone requesting their help or a meeting. The Economist says these "meetings" should simply be a phone call while on the train home: short, forgettable, and convenient. Unsaid, is how such a phone call can hammer in that the caller is insignificant. In the matter of coffee and meetings, the blend is the problem.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Repairing trust under fire

While North Korea Tests, South Korea And Japan Walk A Narrow Bridge To Restore Relations

By Daniel Sneider, Lecturer, International Policy at Stanford University and APP member

Oriental Economist, October 14,2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, perhaps emboldened by his embrace of Russia’s war in Ukraine, has unleashed a wave of missile tests, with a possible nuclear test to come. The Pyongyang regime claims to be developing tactical nuclear weapons and to be responding to recent joint military exercises by the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

Ironically, the most immediate impact of North Korea’s relentless pace of missile testing, highlighted by the flight of an intermediate range missile over Japan on October 4, has been to draw Japan and South Korea closer together, and to give life to U.S. entreaties to its two allies to join in closer trilateral security cooperation. The most significant sign of this shift was visible two days later in the waters between Korea and Japan.

In those seas, two American guided missile ships were joined by two Japanese Maritime Self Defense destroyers and the Korean navy’s most advanced destroyer in carrying out a first ever trilateral ballistic missile defense exercise. During the same week, the three countries carried out joint air exercises as well.

This was a highly symbolic move toward, as the US Indo-Pacific Command put it, “the interoperability of our collective forces.” The exercise involved detection, tracking and interception of potential incoming missiles, with almost instantaneous sharing of information among the three navies. This kind of quiet cooperation on missile defense has been going on for several years, with Korean providing tracking data on North Korean launches to the de facto joint US-Japan Air Defense Command set up at Yokota airbase outside of Tokyo.

“North Korea's unprecedented series of ballistic missile tests, its newly legislated nuclear doctrine and threats to carry out preemptive nuclear attacks, and the prospect of a seventh nuclear test (and more to come) have served as a powerful reminder to Tokyo and Seoul of the common danger they face,” observes former senior U.S. State Department official Evans Revere. “That danger has encouraged the ROK (Republic of Korea) and Japan to work together, and with the United States, to confront their shared threat by strengthening defenses, increasing readiness, and enhancing bilateral and trilateral security cooperation.”

The creation of a more formal trilateral missile defense structure is the logical next step, though it faces considerable political hurdles in both Korea and Japan. This possibility has alarmed not only the North Koreans but also the progressive opposition in South Korea.

The leader of Korea’s Democratic Party, Lee Jae-myung, made headlines by denouncing the trilateral drill as a “pro-Japanese act” that was heading towards the creation of a military alliance. “We cannot imagine the day when the Japanese military invades the Korean Peninsula and the Rising Sun Flag again hangs over the peninsula, but it could come true,” railed Lee, who narrowly lost the presidential election earlier this year to conservative Yoon Suk-yeol.

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) quickly denounced Lee’s inflammatory remarks as a “a frivolous take on history.” But President Yoon is struggling with sagging popularity ratings which makes him vulnerable to the Democratic Party, which continues to control the National Assembly and is sharply critical of the President.

“The Korean public is generally supportive of improved relations with the U.S., cautious regarding China, generally supportive about Japan,” says Scott Snyder, who heads the Korea program at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Overall Yoon is doing what South Koreans want to see in foreign policy but increasingly he is in danger of not getting credit for it and is in danger because of his own unpopularity.”

Despite those problems, Yoon’s efforts to make a breakthrough with Tokyo have broad backing in Korea. In their recently published annual poll of Japanese and South Korean opinion, Japan’s Genron NPO and the Korean East Asian Institute found a significant shift in positive views toward each other.

It was the largest improvement since the survey began a decade ago, with the most marked change in South Korea. In particular, the Genron-EAI poll showed a growing fear of China in Korea, beginning to echo what has been the case in

Solving the forced labor problem

Trilateral security cooperation, even with the North Korean threat to propel it, still depends on solving the wartime historical issues that arose out of Japan’s colonial rule over Korea. While Japanese and Korean officials, and their American counterparts, emphasize the need to look forward, all also understand that the history problems are a sword of Damocles, always threatening to send Korea-Japan relations back into a deep freeze.

Attempts to resolve the issue of compensation for the Koreans forced to work in Japanese mines and factories during the wartime period remain stalled, with a looming threat by Korean courts to seize the assets of Japanese companies which used that labor.

Publicly Japanese officials continue to insist that they are waiting for Korea to make a concrete proposal to resolve the forced labor problem. According to multiple Korean official and other sources engaged in this issue, however, a proposal is on the table and is being actively discussed at the director-general level of the two foreign ministries, most recently on Tuesday in Seoul.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, who have a long-standing and friendly personal relationship, have held detailed talks, most recently in New York at the United Nations.

The Korean proposal emerged out of the advisory group that was formed in the summer under the leadership of Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong.

The Korean idea is to compensate up to 300 South Korean victims with payments made through an existing fund – the Foundation for Victims of Forced Mobilization by Imperial Japan – set up by the Korean government in 2014. The fund already has a significant contribution by the Korean steelmaker POSCO which benefited from Japanese economic assistance provided under the 1965 Japan-Korea Claims Agreement which accompanied the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Using this fund indirectly acknowledges Japan’s insistence that compensation was settled by that 1965 agreement. The amount of money already in the fund is more than sufficient. But the victims who filed suit in Korean courts, and their legal representatives who participated in the advisory committee meetings, insist that the Japanese companies also contribute to this fund.

Park proposed two steps to be taken by Japan, according to a senior Korean official who has been working on this issue for many years. “One is that the Japanese government and the related companies have to express regrets,” he told this writer. “The other is that the Japanese government should allow the private sector to contribute voluntarily to the compensation fund.”

At this moment, the Japanese officials involved in the talks have not ruled out this solution. “The Japanese side does not show a negative attitude toward the voluntary contribution of Japanese firms,” says Amb Wi Sung-Lac, a former senior foreign ministry official and a foreign policy advisor to Democratic party leader Lee. To that degree, “bilateral consultation is moving forward,” says Wi, who is actively involved in these efforts.

Korean officials are concerned about the lack of apparent readiness on the part of Prime Minister Kishida and his advisors to grasp this moment. For the Korean government to be able to sell this proposal within Korea, where it will undoubtedly face fierce attack by the progressives, it is essential that Japan take a step forward.

“Money itself is not a problem,” says the senior Korean official. “Rather it is a matter of pride and emotion. But the Japanese government seems to be very reluctant to agree on a deal to resolve the issue.” The Japanese have yet to budge from their standing position that this issue was settled by the 1965 agreement and is reluctant to reopen it in any way.

The largest obstacle to this agreement remains the domestic politics of both countries. “The political weakness of Yoon and Kishida is a factor that influences the process,” says Professor Park Cheol-hee, one of the most influential Korean scholars on Japan and a close advisor to the Yoon government.

The opposition Democrats in Korea are poised to oppose this bargain. Amb Wi has proposed the creation of a bipartisan group that might include Democratic party leaders who back the deal and has been publicly urging Yoon to take this approach.

But it is equally crucial for Prime Minister Kishida to be prepared to offer the kind of gestures that might make it possible to garner broad public support in Korea. Japan needs to go beyond its overly legalistic stance, argues U.S. Korean expert Scott Snyder. “The Koreans need some kind of reciprocating gesture from the Japanese side in order to make it sustainable,” he told Toyo Keizai.

Unfortunately, Kishida remains imprisoned by the rightwing of the Liberal Democratic Party which deeply distrusts the Koreans. And that is compounded by his own political weakness, which increasingly mirrors that of Yoon.

Domestic politics, not the absence of a viable compromise proposal, is the real obstacle on this narrow pathway to restoring normal ties between Japan and Korea.

“Going forward, Yoon and Kishida are likely to move slowly to avoid getting out too far ahead of the respective publics,” says Revere, who has long experience as an American diplomat in both countries. But the window of opportunity may not be open long – the Japanese and Korean officials now holding talks are looking to make a deal by the end of the year. In that timeframe, he says, “North Korea can be counted on to remind Seoul and Tokyo that they have a strong common interest in working together.”

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Monday Asia Events October 10, 2022

 Indigenous Peoples/Columbus Day in the U.S.  

AMERICA'S GREAT-POWER OPPORTUNITY: REVITALIZING U.S. FOREIGN POLICY TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF STRATEGIC COMPETITION. 10/10, Noon-1:00pm (EDT) IN-PERSON ONLY. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speakers: Author Ali Wyne, Senior Analyst, Eurasia Group; Moderator: James B. Steinberg, Dean, SAIS.

THE TRIUMPH OF BROKEN PROMISES. THE END OF THE COLD WAR AND THE RISE OF NEOLIBERALISM. 10/10, 12:30-2:00pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speakers: Author Fritz Bartel, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. 

DESPITE CRUELTY: WHY I STILL HAVE FAITH IN HUMAN RIGHTS VALUES. 10/10, 6:30pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsor: Columbia University Human Rights Seminar. Speakers: William F. Schulz, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard’s Kennedy School; Chair: George Andreopoulos, Chair, Professor of Political Science, John Jay College & The Graduate Center, CUNY.

THE AFTER-PARTY: A LOOK AT US-CHINA RELATIONS IN THE WAKE OF THE 20TH PARTY CONGRESS. 10/10, 4:30-7:00pm (EDT), ONLINE. Sponsors: Columbia SIPA, China and the World Program, Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Speakers: Daniel Russel, Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy, Asia Society Policy Institute, Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

An unhappy state

A Controversial State Funeral

By Takuya Nishimura, Chief Editorial Writer, The Hokkaido Shimbun 

October 1, 2022

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

Sharp antagonisms marked the state requiem for Japan’s late right-leaning former prime minister Shinzo Abe. Not attending were Japan’s Emperor and Empress, the main opposition leaders, or any of the G-7’s top leaders. Across Japan, protesters against spending tax money for the ceremony chanted “No state funeral. In his condolence speech, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida praised Abe, quoting a sentence in English, “Courage is doing what is right.” The national ceremony did resolve these feelings and  unexpectedly revealed deep divisions within the nation.

In 1947, the State Funeral Order that determined the Rites for an Imperial Funeral was abolished. Thus, today, there is no legal basis for holding a state funeral. The only exception was the one in 1967 for Japan’s former prime minister Shigeru Yoshida. It too prompted a public discussion on the pros and cons of holding a state funeral. The result was a consensus urging the government to promote further debate for future state funerals. The rest of the funerals of former prime ministers, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Eisaku Sato or Supreme Order Yasuhiro Nakasone, were held as public ones, although the government paid for them.

Kishida raised four reasons to have the state funeral for Abe: (1) the longest period as a premier; (2) distinguished achievements in restoration from Great East Japan Earthquake, revitalization of Japanese economy, or strategic diplomacy based on Japan-US relationship; (3) broad condolences from overseas; and (4) showing firm opposition against undemocratic violence during the national election. But there are contradictions with each.

In terms of the length of the term, however, Eisaku Sato held office the longest at the time among post-war prime ministers. The restoration policy of the great earthquake originated from the previous Democratic administration. The current growth of the Japanese economy has not surpassed that in the 1960s, 70s or 80s. The most Americanized prime minister may be Nakasone, who called the Japanese archipelago an "unsinkable carrier." And frankly, the volume of foreign condolences or violence in an election campaign should not determine who is worthy a state funeral.

Kishida insisted that his decision was legally correct, quoting Cabinet Office Establishment Law. Article 4 of the law determines the businesses of the office and Section 3-33 of the article refers to “official works related to the rituals of the nation or the Cabinet.” That is it. There is no evidence that “the rituals” include legally baseless state funerals. The law is nothing more than determining the jobs of the Cabinet Office and has no power to decide what the national rituals are. It may not be Kishida, but his cabinet staff who distortedly interpreted the law.

A state funeral of a national leader should appeal to uniting the nation or legitimacy of power transition. However, Abe’s state funeral did not display unity, but fostered division. The leaders of the main opposition parties refused to join the event. They were frustrated with the process of having the funeral without consulting with the Diet. 

Retributive sentiment of the assassin, Tetsuya Yamagami, revealed Abe’s close relationship with the Unification Church, which has been known for its coercive activities of “spiritual sales.” News reports found that Abe distributed the voters of the Unification Church to some candidates of the Liberal Democratic Party in past national elections. Most protesters on the streets realized that Abe would not fit for a state funeral, because of his inappropriate relationship with such an antisocial organization.

Kishida could not anticipate the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain before Abe’s. A number of the heads of state gathered in London to show their deepest condolences. The guests included US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and even the Emperor of Japan, all of whom did not attend Abe’s state funeral. Although the British people formed miles-long queues for mourning the deceased national mother, the Japanese people only made long lines offering flowers as well as demonstrations against the state funeral. The contrast between the UK and Japan may have hurt the sentiment of nationalists in Japan.

Probably worried about his declining support rate, Kishida ignored law and tradition to use Abe’s funeral to publicize his diplomatic strengths. He explained that the funeral would be a good opportunity to meet with world leaders. Kishida reconfirmed Japan’s role in the Indo-Pacific by meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris and accepting condolences from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, no actual foreign policy advances were realized among these short greetings of condolence diplomacy. For addressing the world order threatened by Russian aggression in Ukraine or the unilateral advances of China in the Pacific region, annual General Debates of the United Nations General Assembly the preceding week in New York may have been a more meaningful opportunity.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

American industrial policy

CHIPS as usual: A defense of US industrial policy

Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., has worked on Asia and globalization for fifty years and has written several bestselling books on these subjects. He was a leader of the first U.S. trade mission to China in 1982 and is a veteran U.S. trade negotiator and presidential advisor. Mr Prestowitz is founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute and an APP board member.

Hinrich Foundation, 30 August 2022

The rise of the semiconductor industry has everything to do with industrial policy and managed trade. China is dedicated to self-sufficiency and control of cutting-edge industries. It may be wise for the US to go back to its own future, to a time when America got rich by using industrial policy to spur economic development.

The global semiconductor industry has always been a child of industrial policy rather than free markets.

The transistor – predecessor of today’s microchips – came out of Bell Laboratories, a unit of the then government-regulated AT&T telecommunications monopoly. It was developed into integrated circuits and memory chips by the likes of physicist William Shockley and Intel Corp. co-founder Robert Noyce.   

But it was the US government who paid much of the way. Intel was founded in part on a loan from the US government’s Small Business Administration. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was a major semiconductor industry investor, and the US Defense Department was a major customer.

By the early 1980s, the US semiconductor industry produced 70% - 80% of the world’s chips domestically. However, there was a rapidly growing challenger – the Japanese. Since the end of the Second World War, Japan used industrial policy to rebuild its economy. As Vice Minister for International Trade and Industry Naohiro Amaya once told me: “We did the opposite of what the American economists advised.”  

Soon after the invention of the transistor, Japan’s Sony Corp. paid $25,000 for a license and MITI was off to the races to help the Japanese chip industry catch up to the US. By 1985, the Japanese producers not only had gained about 40% of the global market, but had also beaten the US makers to the new 256K-bit random access memory chip.

How had they done this so rapidly?

The real keys to Japanese success: MITI sent written instructions to Japan’s major chip users telling them to buy Japanese. Japan’s banks were directed by MITI to make cheap capital available for investment in semiconductors. Japan’s Ministry of Finance intervened in international currency markets to maintain a weak yen versus the dollar, reducing the price of Japanese exports and vice versa.

The chief executive of Intel Japan used to have what he called a “waterfall map”, which showed Intel sales in Japan climbing dramatically whenever Intel introduced a new chip, but fall as soon as there was a Japanese-made version of the product.

As counselor to the Secretary of Commerce in the 1980s, I was one of the lead US negotiators on trade with Japan including in semiconductors. Our experience was that Japanese producers systematically dumped their products in the US market. The success of Japan’s semiconductor industry was due much less to free trade and globalization than industrial policy, protectionism, and mercantilism.

To compete better with the Japanese, US producers began searching for cost reductions. In the mid-1980s, it occurred to American makers and the governments of countries like Singapore that tasks such as testing and packaging might be performed at much lower cost by inexpensive female labor offshore. This would help makers compete better with Japan. To encourage this, Singapore, Malaysia, and others provided land and utility subsidies, low-interest loans, capital grants, and 20-year tax breaks.  

Watching all this was the government of Taiwan. For its self-preservation, it needed to stay ahead of economic development in China. Taipei approached my friend Morris Chang who had recently retired from a career making chips at Texas Instruments. Why not, thought Morris, have a single foundry that could produce chips designed by individual makers?

It was a game-changing insight, but it required one important thing: gobs of money made available by the Taiwanese government. The success of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) had everything to do with industrial policy and managed trade.

This brings us to China and eventually the new US CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. Beijing carefully studied Japan and the Asian Tigers as they pursued managed trade, undervalued currencies, and industrial policy. It aimed to entice US producers to put fabs in China. I served for some time on Intel’s Policy Advisory Board and sometimes traveled with Intel executives to China. I remember in one meeting that the Chinese asked how much a new fab would cost. The Intel people at that time said about $6 billion. The Chinese response was to offer free land, $1 billion in capital grants, subsidized utilities, and 10-year tax breaks. Intel eventually put a fab in China. But it hedged. The fab was not Intel’s most cutting-edge model.  

That the hedge was wise became evident five years later when China adopted its Made in China 2025 policy, aiming for high-tech self-sufficiency.

This policy made clear that China does not believe in globalization, or plan to practice Western, neo-classical, comparative advantage-based trade or even fully free domestic markets.

It also makes clear that concerns that CHIPS would restrain US corporations’ China operations are misplaced. These companies are going to lose out regardless of what the US government does. The Chinese Communist Party is dedicated to maximum self-sufficiency and control of cutting-edge industries. 

In view of all this, it may well be wise for the US to go back to its own future. From 1816 until 1948, America pursued trade and industrial development essentially as China, Japan, and the Asian Tigers have done. It protected key domestic markets and was a champion of industrial policy.

At the height of the American Civil War, when Britain was the low-cost steel producer, President Abraham Lincoln imposed a high tariff on steel imports. He said he did not pretend to know much about the political economy, but understood enough to know that “when an American paid $20 for steel to an English manufacturer, America had the steel and England had the $20. But when he paid $20 for the steel to an American manufacturer, America had both the steel and the $20.”  

America became rich by using industrial policy to spur development of the railroads, the telegraph, the airplane, the semiconductor industry, and the internet. It all worked out pretty well. Maybe it would again.

© The Hinrich Foundation. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Reporting on Abe's Demise

Confusion, self-censorship and the cult of confirmation

by David McNeill

Professor of communications and English at University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, and co-chair of the FCCJ’s Professional Activities Committee. He was previously a correspondent for The Independent, The Economist and The Chronicle of Higher Education

No. One Shimbun, August 2022

Shinzo Abe’s murder and the media

Media critics could find plenty of grist to their mill in the aftermath of Shinzo Abe’s murder. For a start, there were the near identical headlines that ran in the big national dailies on July 8, stating simply that the former prime minister had “died after being shot” in Nara – a product of risk-averse editorial decisions. 

Breaking news of the incident, saying Abe had “collapsed”, confusingly suggested he had suffered a heart attack. Amateur videos taken at the scene and circulated online made it clear that he had been gunned down. Millions found themselves scouring the internet for a better picture of what had happened. 

This was another small signpost in the death-march of the traditional print and broadcast media: After all, it could be asked, if professional journalists and editors are slower at getting timely news to our newspapers and screens than bystanders with cellphones, then what use are they?

Then there was the decision by editors in Japan to steer clear of the word “assassination”, (暗殺), which suggests the killer was motivated by politics or ideology. Sources inside the newspaper industry said this was to avoid conferring legitimacy on Abe’s presumed killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, when his motives were still unclear.

Yet the word is widely used in the Japanese media when citing the assassination of foreign leaders such as President John F. Kennedy, who was also targeted by a lone killer with opaque motives.  

As some pointed out, domestic media steer clear of the word because of its association with Japan’s chaotic and murderous prewar era, when political killings were common. The 1960 killing of Inejiro Asanuma, then chairman of the Japan Socialist Party was the most famous Japanese assassination of the postwar era – but it was referred to as a “death by stabbing” in the domestic media.

There were other timorous editorial decisions, such as censored closeup photos of the homemade gun used by Yamagami. Some newspapers (and Japan’s biggest news agency, Kyodo) carried the pictures, taken by the Nara Shimbun, but banned them from being published on websites, apparently to avoid encouraging copycat killers. 

Images of the gun, the killer and the murder could be found online, however, fueling a small army of amateur sleuths. Many, for example, were struck by the light security around Abe and the sight of his assassin wandering about freely for several minutes before attacking his target. Some even speculated that the killing was a false-flag operation in a worrying echo of the conspiracy theories that now plague the aftermath of violent incidents in the U.S.

Once the domestic media deployed their huge resources, a lot of careful, diligent reporting followed.

Journalists determined that Yamagami was driven by hatred of the Unification Church, whose members are commonly known as Moonies. His road to middle-class prosperity was blocked when his widowed mother drained the family purse to make donations to the cult. 

According to family sources quoted in the Mainichi Shimbu, she donated about ¥100 million, including insurance money from her husband’s death, to the church. Testimony from neighbors and colleagues helped build a rich picture of an intelligent, flailing man who grew bitter as he slipped down the social ladder. 

Relatives recalled phone calls from a young Yamagami and his two hungry siblings, demanding food. Instead of going to university, he joined the Maritime Self-Defence Force in 2002, the year his mother declared bankruptcy. Work colleagues described an ordinary but prickly character. Fuji TV interviewed neighbors who recalled him noisily building a small arsenal of home-made weaponry in his one-bedroom apartment. Rather than eject the troublesome tenant, the building management asked everyone to be “considerate”. 

The most contentious issue in reporting of the Abe killing was the delay in publishing the name of the church. For several days, the mainstream media referred to the Moonies as simply a religious group, avoiding any mention of its name – this despite the fact again that it was being widely discussed online.

Press clubs played another role, reckons Kaori Hayashi, a professor of media studies at the University of Tokyo. “I think it was because the police at first didn’t reveal the name,” she said. “Confirmation by the authorities is still a big factor for the Japanese media.”

There were, of course, other ways of confirming the name, such as talking to families. And it was revealed online that Yamagami had blogged or written about his feelings on the church. In any case, it was left to the weeklies tabloids to bridge the gap between cyber- and mainstream reporting. Shukan Gendai leaped first, outing the church and “again fulfilling their role”, said Martin Fackler, a former Tokyo bureau chief of the New York Times, “to write what the big dailies cannot.”

Gendai noted that Shimbun Akahata, the newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party – a long-time adversary of the church – had reported last year that Abe had sent a video message to an affiliate of the Moonies, praising their focus on family values, for which he was condemned by lawyers for cult victims.

Once the Unification Church acknowledged Yamagami’s mother was a member at a press conference on July 11, the reporting dam burst. Reporters have dug deep into the connections between the cult and right-wing politics. The South Korean church, founded in 1954 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-professed messiah, has invested heavily in conservative causes, much of it financed by selling religious baubles in Japan. Fiercely anti-communist, it set up the Washington Times newspaper in 1982 as a platform for anti-liberal views and forged ties with a string of conservative American leaders including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Surprisingly to some, the connections included politicians with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the party Abe once led and which has governed Japan for all but a few years since 1955. One of the party’s elders, Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was a former prime minister who some experts say brought the church to Japan, where he used it to promote anti-communist views and win votes.

The Mainichi summed up the feelings of many in a July 27 editorial when it surveyed this little-known history: “It is only natural for the Diet and media organizations to clarify the state of affairs. And above all, the LDP should take a look at its long history and provide an explanation to the public and wind up its relationship with the religious group.”

If Yamagami’s wider aim was to exact revenge on the church and its enablers, he could hardly have done a better job.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Japan's New Capitalism

Prioritize Equality of Opportunity with Predistribution

by Steven K. Vogel, UC Berkeley and APP Member

Nihon Keizai Shimbun, July 27, 2022

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has vowed to shift Japan toward a “new capitalism” that will deliver growth with redistribution. The administration’s plan announced in June combines a wide variety of measures, from boosting wages to increasing investments in science and technology – yet some critics charge that it offers more hopeful proclamations than promising substance.

The prime minister is right to strive to reform Japanese capitalism to achieve both growth and equity. But how should he do that? If the government really wants to address inequality at its roots, it should prioritize growth with “predistribution” over redistribution. The term may be obscure, but the concept is rather simple. Redistribution accepts the market allocation of profits as given and tries to moderate inequalities after the fact with policies such welfare spending or progressive taxation. Predistribution, in contrast, seeks to affect who benefits from economic activity in the first place through public investment and market governance reforms.

The British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband heralded “predistribution” in his new agenda in 2012, presenting it as a way to create a fairer economy without huge increases in government spending. In more recent years, scholars have refined predistribution analysis to evaluate the sources of economic inequality and to devise remedies. Some of the leading scholars in this area, such as Thomas Piketty and others associated with the World Inequality Lab, have increasingly emphasized the predistribution roots of inequality.

Predistribution and redistribution policies can blur in practice, but the distinction remains useful in evaluating Japan’s past performance and its future prospects. In fact, Japan delivered growth with equity through most of the postwar era via what could be interpreted as a successful predistribution strategy. It achieved a relatively equitable income distribution not through a big welfare state but rather through “predistribution” factors such as corporate practices, labor relations, and societal norms. And now that Japan confronts higher inequality and lower growth, it should prioritize predistribution solutions to these new challenges.

The predistribution-redistribution distinction engages the timeless debate over equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome. Predistribution seeks to eliminate inequalities of opportunity rather than to compensate people for them. Yet advocates of predistribution insist that equality of opportunity must be substantive, not merely formal. That is, predistribution should enhance human capabilities and give workers and entrepreneurs greater ability to compete in the marketplace. It does not take away resources from one group and give them to another, but strives for a more equitable distribution of returns in the first place. It does not seek to override markets but to make them work better.

Now libertarians would surely object to this line of argument. They would insist that the government should not intervene in the free operation of the market. But there is no free market. All markets are embedded in government regulations, business practices, and social norms. All real-world markets reflect balances of power, such as employers versus workers or producers versus consumers. So devising and refining market rules is not an alien intervention into a pristine free market, but rather a prerequisite to properly functioning markets. Think of it this way. If workers are being paid too little for their labor and consumers are paying too much for their products, then should we sit by idly or change the rules of the marketplace to addresses these injustices?

From the other side, egalitarians might argue that we should seek equal outcomes by any means possible, and that would mean going all in with redistribution. Yet the advocates of predistribution do not oppose redistribution so much as they contend that predistribution should come first. Shouldn’t we try to eliminate unequal opportunities first, before we start compensating people for them? Then redistribution policies could fill in where predistribution policies fall short in producing a fair and equitable market society.

So how does all of this grand theory apply to Japan past and present? We can reinterpret Japan’s postwar success in achieving growth with equity via the lens of predistribution. The government invested in transport and communications infrastructure that supported economic growth and mobility, and it provided high-quality universal education and health care that sustained both growth and equity. Japan’s large corporations practiced a stakeholder model of governance, with channels for labor incorporation at the plant and office level and job security and benefits for core workers. Japan’s postwar system harbored some major structural inequities, of course, such as large firms versus small, urban regions versus rural, and male workers versus female. Yet it nonetheless delivered a combination of growth with equity that was the envy of the world.

Some of Japan’s vaunted strengths have partially eroded since the 1990s. The education system has become less equal as those with resources have gamed the system to advantage their children. The employment system has become less stable and more unequal as the share of nonregular workers has increased. The predistribution lens offers a framework for setting priorities for reforms. The predistribution approach would prioritize public investment in education, training, research and development, and startup funding. It would also favor family policies, including pre-school education, and maternity, paternity, and elder care leave. These policies are redistributive and predistributive at the same time because they support children while also enabling parents to enhance their skills and to participate in the labor market. My own mentor, the late Harold Wilensky, studied the economic and social performance of 20 rich democracies, including Japan, over a 60-year span. He found, not surprisingly, that some government policies favored growth over equity while others favored equity over growth. But he stressed that the most enlightened policies, such as these family policies, managed to achieve both goals at the same time.

With respect to market reforms, the government should immediately hike the minimum wage. This will boost growth and equity by putting money into the hands of those most likely to spend and by raising the income of those earning the least. The government should reduce the gap in pay, security, and benefits between permanent and non-regular workers by vigorously enforcing equal pay for equal work. And it should promote work-life balance policies that will contribute to higher productivity, such as fewer working hours, more flexible schedules, and remote work options. Japan has made some real progress in these areas in recent years, but it could go much further. With respect to corporate governance, the government should continue to promote greater diversity and accountability, which will enhance both equity and productivity. But it should resist reforms that will raise corporate returns at the expense of workers and other stakeholders.

None of this suggests that Japan does not need redistribution as well. For example, the government could enhance both growth and equity by raising corporate taxes while reducing consumption taxes. Consumption taxes are regressive, and they slow growth by reducing demand.

For many years, economic analysts have assumed there is a tradeoff between growth and equity. Japan disproved this in the postwar era by achieving high growth with equity. And Japan, the United States, and many other advanced economies have doubly disproved this thesis in recent years by demonstrating that inequality can become a drag on growth.

The United States is much further down that road than Japan, so Japan should heed this as a valuable warning. In fact, the U.S. economy could rightly be viewed as one of upward predistribution. That is, the market rules – from labor regulations to corporate governance practices – are structured to maximize returns for the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of everyone else. Viewed through the lens of predistribution, current-day Japan is underperforming the Japan of the postwar era but it remains much less unequal than the United States. With greater attention to predistribution reforms, it can do much better.