Sasakawa USA Newsletter April 30, 2020
Included in this issue of the newsletter:

  • Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
  • Congratulations to General Ryoichi Oriki and Ambassador Melanne Verveer
Activities
  • New Project Launch: The U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Ocean Governance and Maritime Resource Protection with the Freely Associated States
  • Presentation at Johns Hopkins: Grassroots Diplomacy at Work in U.S.-Japan Relations
Publications
  • Tabletop Exercise Pacific Trident III: Testing U.S. Alliance Capacity to Handle Simultaneous Provocations in East Asia (McDevitt)
  • Japan Looking Ahead: Can Japan Achieve Net-Zero Emissions? (Kameyama)
  • Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED): Helsinki and Tokyo via the Sustainable Development Goals (Ashiagbor)
  • Commentary in the Japan Times: Japan and the U.S. Must Lead Preparations for Next Pandemic (Akimoto)
  • Op-Ed Article in Association of Former Members of Congress Newsletter: Abe’s Golden Week Battle with COVID-19 (Akimoto)
  • Japan Political Pulse: Will Abe Be Able to Keep Japan a COVID-19 Outlier? (Akimoto)
Upcoming Events
  • Tabletop Exercise Pacific Trident III: Virtual Roundtable
Announcements
  • Continued Partnership with U.S. Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association
  • Congressional Study Group on Japan: Continued Partnership with Association of Former Members of Congress
  • Sasakawa USA Office: Renovation Updates
Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
The U.S. has lost over 55,000 people to the COVID-19 pandemic in two months. It is close to the total number of Americans who perished in the bloody battles of the Vietnam War over a 19-year period. It is roughly 18 times more the number of people who lost their lives in the September 11 Terror Attacks of 2001. 

Sasakawa USA offers our sincere sympathies to all those who have been adversely afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also offer our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have been courageously and effectively working on the front lines in the battle with this formidable enemy.

Washington seems to be deserted these days. We don’t go to office and see friends anymore. We don’t attend policy-oriented events at think tanks anymore. We don’t discuss geopolitics and geoeconomics issues over lunch anymore. We have tried to replace those with virtual meetings, events, discussions, and even lunches. But these are departures from normalcy in our world in Washington.

Eventually, we will go back to the office and do all other Washington-like things. However, most people would agree that we will never go back to the pre-COVID-19 situation, certainly in terms of public health, medical services, and lifestyle, but also in terms of politics, security, diplomacy, and economics. Yuval Noah Harrari made this argument in his “the World After Coronavirus” article in the Financial Times last month. He presented two choices to us: 1) totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment and 2) nationalist isolation and global solidarity.

Sasakawa USA’s main focus is U.S.-Japan relations within the context of the international community, which is based on the mutually shared interests in maintaining peace, prosperity, stability, democracy, freedom, and rule of law. The U.S. and Japan are in the middle of containing COVID-19 but this is the time to begin thinking about how the two countries can jointly prepare for bioterrorism and the next pandemic in the framework of the bilateral security alliance. I made a set of concrete proposals in this respect in “Japan and the U.S. Must Lead Preparedness for Next Pandemic” in the Japan Times.  

We should not be forced to choose between safety and economy because the two are one and indivisible. We will carefully monitor the situation and slowly but firmly get back to fulfilling our mission of deepening the understanding of and strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Japan within the Asia-Pacific context, placing emphasis on security and diplomacy, through exchanges, dialogue, analysis, and networking.

Please stay safe and healthy.  
Congratulations to General Ryoichi Oriki and Ambassador Melanne Verveer
Sasakawa USA congratulates Gen. Ryoichi Oriki and Ambassador Melanne Verveer for their recent achievements of receiving distinguished honors from the Government of Japan. Gen. Oriki, Executive Advisor of FUJITSU Ltd. and Board Member of Sasakawa USA, was awarded the Grand Cordon of the order of the Sacred Treasure. Previously, he was Special Advisor of the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and also served as Special Advisor to Ministers of Defense Morimoto and Onodera. Gen. Oriki, a graduate of the National Defense University, had a long-distinguished career in the Self Defense Force (SDF), culminating as the third Chief of Staff for the Joint Staff. He successfully commanded the SDF response to the disaster caused by the tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.

Ambassador Verveer, Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security and member of Sasakawa USA’s Advisory Committee on Projects, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Ambassador Verveer has dedicated her life to the political, economic, and social advancement of women around the world. Under President Obama she was appointed as the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, as well as a U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Prior to her role at the State Department, Ambassador Verveer was Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international NGO she co-founded to invest in emerging women leaders.

Photo: General Ryoichi Oriki and Ambassador Melanne Verveer
Activities
New Project Launch: The U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Ocean Governance and Maritime Resource Protection with the Freely Associated States
Sasakawa USA launched a new project to explore the potential of U.S.-Japan cooperation to improve ocean governance and maritime resource protection with the Freely Associated States of Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. Research Fellow Chris Rodeman together with Program Assistant Adam Morrow will explore how the U.S. and Japan can work with the Freely Associated States to address the strategic needs of keeping the integrity of ocean governance and maintenance of maritime resources. The project intends to produce policy recommendation based on independent research and expert conferences in the year ahead.
 
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Assateague in Pohnpei Harbor, FSM. Source: USCG
Presentation at Johns Hopkins: Grassroots Diplomacy at Work in U.S.-Japan Relations
Director of Programs at Sasakawa USA, Shanti Shoji , spoke via a virtual class to Dr. Bill Brooks’ graduate students on April 13 th . The students are studying Public Diplomacy and U.S.-Japan Cooperation at John Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. Drawing upon her extensive work in the field, Shanti discussed the important role grassroots diplomacy plays and how it strengthens the U.S.-Japan relationship. She outlined ways in which the U.S. and Japanese governments and nonprofits engage in and implement grassroots diplomacy, providing examples of programs that do this, such as JUMP (Japan-US Military Program) a nonprofit-government partnership, SEED (Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation) a nonprofit program, and the Japanese government’s JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program. In the Q&A session, students were curious to learn how nonprofits can successfully partner with governments to implement programs, if grassroots diplomacy can impact policy, and the historical interest American politicians have in Japan. Sasakawa USA appreciates the invitation by Dr. Brooks and looks forward to continuing the dialogue.
 
Photo: snapshot of Shanti Shoji ’s virtual presentation
Publications
Tabletop Exercise Pacific Trident III: Testing U.S. Alliance Capacity to Handle Simultaneous Provocations in East Asia (McDevitt)
The findings and recommendations of Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Pacific Trident III are detailed in our new report, Testing U.S. Alliance Capacity to Handle Simultaneous Provocations in East Asia . The report written by Rear Adm. Michael McDevitt (Ret.) details insights and policy recommendations from Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Pacific Trident III. Conducted by Sasakawa USA i n early February, it was the fourth TTX focused on challenges to the U.S.-Japan Alliance in the Indo-Pacific. This TTX included teams of former government and military officials from the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Additionally, subject matter experts simulated teams from China, Russia, and North Korea. In all, nearly 50 players participated in this exercise. Sasakawa USA thanks the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation (“The Lighthouse”), in Suffolk, VA, for welcoming us into their incredible facility. 
Japan Looking Ahead: Can Japan Achieve Net-Zero Emissions? (Kameyama)
Sasakawa USA put a call out for experts to write a response on how Japan, looking forward, can tackle climate change. Yasuko Kameyama, Deputy Director, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan answered that call. Kameyama’s analysis, Can Japan Achieve Net-Zero Emissions? Climate Change Policy Developments in Japan and its Implications , provides a forecast on how Japan could take more ambitious actions towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. She does this by examining the history of Japan’s response to climate change and how climate change is likely to affect Japan and its people. 
Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED): Helsinki and Tokyo via the Sustainable Development Goals (Ashiagbor)
Sefakor Ashiagbor, Senior Advisor of Political Party Programs at the National Democratic Institute, reflected on her time in Japan as a participant on Sasakawa USA’s SEED program . Ms. Ashiagbr and six colleagues from four democracy support organizations were in Japan to learn about Japan’s evolving approach to values-based diplomacy. In her article, Ms. Ashiagbor reflects on the varied perspectives she came across regarding the role that SDGs play in democracy support in Japan and around the world. The trip pushed her to think in new ways on the topic and convinced her that despite some differences she can do more to engage like-minded Japanese on the issue. Read her perspective here .
Commentary in the Japan Times: Japan and the U.S. Must Lead Preparations for Next Pandemic (Akimoto)
The global crisis over the COVID-19 pandemic calls for a global solution, but so far the international community has not shown a strong desire to get on the same page. In his commentary from The Japan Times, Japan and the U.S. Must Lead Preparations for Next Pandemic , Sasakawa USA Chairman Satohiro Akimoto discusses how the U.S. and Japan should jointly prepare for pandemics and bioterrorism. He proposed to broaden the definition of national security to situate pandemic and bioterrorism at the center of the U.S.-Japan security alliance; create joint plans to produce and stockpile medical machines, devices and equipment including secure supply chains; hold joint military-style exercises including table top exercises against pandemics; and serious engagement with the World Health Organization.
Op-Ed Article in Association of Former Members of Congress Newsletter: Abe’s Golden Week Battle with COVID-19 (Akimoto)
The early April steady increase in COVID-19 confirmed cases in Japan, coupled with the fast-approaching Golden Week vacation, a time when the majority of Japanese travel from the end of April to early May, has produced a potential storm that Abe is working to quell. In his Op-Ed article , Abe’s Golden Week Battle with COVID-19 , Satohiro Akimoto, Sasakawa USA Chairman, takes a look at several factors that are at play in where Japan is today with confirmed COVID-19 cases and the shift in Abe’s stance from protecting individual freedoms to declaring a national emergency and urging residents to stay inside. Time will only tell how these guidelines put into place by Abe will impact the nation as it moves through and beyond Golden Week.
Japan Political Pulse: Will Abe Be Able to Keep Japan a COVID-19 Outlier? (Akimoto)
Sasakawa USA Chairman Satohiro Akimoto has written a commentary on COVID-19 titled Will Abe be able to keep Japan a COVID-19 outlier? Japan has been somewhat of a mystery in terms of keeping COVID-19 in check and preventing the virus from shutting down the country. But the real public health and political battle for Abe, combatting the virus while maintaining individual rights and economic activity as much as possible, may have only just begun. 

Photo source: the Prime Minister’s official homepage
Upcoming Events
Tabletop Exercise Pacific Trident III: Virtual Roundtable
Sasakawa USA plans to hold a roundtable on Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Pacific Trident III: Testing U.S. Alliance Capacity to Handle Simultaneous Provocations in East Asia in the coming weeks. Several participants from the TTX will present major findings from the exercise and discuss strategic implications for the U.S. and Japan. 
 
Photo: Japan Coast Guard vessels. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Announcements
Continued Partnership with U.S. Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association
Sasakawa USA for the fifth year is partnering with the U.S. Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association (USJETAA) to offer a competitive mini-grant program vis-à-vis the 19 JET Alumni Associations (JETAA) chapters and sub-chapters in the United States. The program supports JETAA activities that promote mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in their local communities . Interested JETAA chapters and sub-chapter can apply through USJETAA’s website . This program is managed by Joy Champaloux , Program Officer under the direction of Shanti Shoji , Director of Programs.
Congressional Study Group on Japan: Continued Partnership with the Association of Former Members of Congress
Once again, Sasakawa USA and the Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) have partnered to conduct activities that support legislative exchanges in order to strengthen cooperation and enhance understanding between the U.S. and Japan. Sasakawa USA looks forward to working with FMC’s Congressional Study Group on Japan (CSGJ) co-chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) to provide engaging programming, such as a battleground study tour, a Capitol Hill roundtable series, and an Asia seminar retreat for Chiefs of Staff. CSGJ visited Japan in February to exchange views on geopolitical issues between the two countries. The delegation met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Defense Minister Taro Kono, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and other policy experts.  

Photo: Congressional Study Group on Japan visit with Prime Minister Abe in Japan. Source: the Prime Minister’s official homepage
Sasakawa USA Office: Renovation Updates
Sasakawa USA is going through a total renovation of our office at 1819 L Street NW. The new office will allow staff to work on the same floor with modern facilities and will include a larger conference room for public events and an additional conference room for smaller meetings. The renovations are expected to be completed in May but our move-in depends on the COVID-19 situation. We look forward to welcoming you to the new Sasakawa USA office as soon as it opens. 
Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA
1819 L Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington DC 20026

202.296.6694