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.