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

  • Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
Past Activities
  • Policy Briefing: The Suga Administration: Balancing Continuity and Reform featuring Dr. Gerald Curtis (Recap)
  • The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP): JUMP Pensacola, Florida
  • Interview: Dr. Akimoto on "Sunday News Biz Square"  
Publications
  • Commentary and Analysis: Under Prime Minister Suga, U.S.-Japan Relations Will Remain Strong (Zumwalt)
Upcoming Activities
  • Policy Briefing Series: Japanese War Brides Webinar featuring Ms. Kathryn Tolbert and Col. (Ret.) Jyuji Hewitt
  • Policy Briefing Series: Digital Currency Roundtable with Dr. Robert Dohner, Mr. Ichiro Oishi and Mr. Yasuhiro Yamai
  • Policy Briefing Series: U.S.-Japan Space Policy Cooperation with Mr. Kimitake Nakamura and Dr. Masami Onoda
  • The Alliance Working in America: Webinar Hosted in Seattle, Washington
  • The Japan U.S. Military Program: Upcoming Events in New Orleans, Seattle, and Honolulu
Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
President-elect Biden has pushed forward the transition process, announcing new members of his White House senior staff, including Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor, and top positions in foreign affairs and national security, such as Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, National Intelligence Director, and United Nations Ambassador. The international community interprets these appointments as the new administration’s intention to rely on experts who have closely worked with President-elect Biden to reestablish a traditional foreign policy stance for the U.S. This includes coordinating with allies, playing a role in international institutions, and filling top positions of the administration with diversified talent.

Japan welcomes these developments. In their first-ever conversation, Prime Minister Suga congratulated President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris for their victory on November 11. According to Prime Minister Suga, in the roughly 15-minute call through interpreters, President-elect Biden confirmed the importance of U.S.-Japan bilateral relations, a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and application of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation to the Senkaku Islands. Prime Minister Suga also mentioned he and President-elect Biden agreed to meet in person “as soon as possible.”

The biggest foreign policy and national security question in the Asia Pacific region between the U.S. and Japan is how to constructively deal with China. While there is a consensus on this, there has been no grand China strategy between the two countries. As a matter of fact, while Prime Minister Suga said President-elect Biden made it clear that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation would apply to the Senkaku Islands, the Biden transition-team readout did not mention the islands by name, but rather simply stated that Biden “underscored his deep commitment to the defense of Japan and U.S. commitments under Article V.” One of the most important opportunities in this regard is a new National Defense Strategy, which the new Biden administration will formulate. 

Speculation has been growing in Tokyo that Prime Minister Suga is seeking to visit Washington soon after the inauguration, around late January or February. It is certain there will be plenty to discuss between the two newly elected leaders when they meet.
Past Activities
Policy Briefing: The Suga Administration: Balancing Continuity and Reform featuring Dr. Gerald Curtis (Recap)
On October 26, Sasakawa USA welcomed Dr. Gerald Curtis, Burgess Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Columbia University, for a virtual roundtable. Dr. Curtis discussed recent political developments in Japan with a focus on Prime Minister Suga and his new administration. In addition to reviewing Prime Minister Suga’s first month in office, Dr. Curtis assessed what major challenges await the Suga administration and shared his insights on the future of U.S.-Japan relations. Following Dr. Curtis’s remarks, Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA, moderated a Q&A discussion with event attendees. A detailed recap and video of the event are available here.
The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP): JUMP Pensacola, Florida
On October 31, JUMP hosted an intimate policy briefing with our partners in Pensacola, Florida. The event provided 40 of our loyal members with a cutting-edge policy analysis about the state of the alliance from experts in the field. This was a free online event exclusively for members of the armed services and government civilians who have served in Japan. This event was held in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Northwest Florida, the National Association of Japan-America Societies, the Embassy of Japan in the United States, and Sasakawa USA. For more information about the event, please visit the JUMP website.
Interview: Dr. Akimoto on "Sunday News Biz Square"
On November 8, Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA, was interviewed by BS-TBS on the Japanese TV program "Sunday News Biz Square" where he spoke live about the 2020 U.S. Presidential election results. Mr. Takushi Harima, the show's host, also knows very well the complexity of Washington politics, as he was former Tokyo Broadcasting System’s (TBS) Washington Bureau chief. Dr. Akimoto discussed how the Presidential election process played out, along with providing an analysis of the sharp division between each candidate's core supporters. He predicted Biden would most likely come out as a winner in the end and described how President-elect Biden will handle the White House and administration-level appointments. Lastly, he discussed Japan’s approach to and expectations of the new Biden administration in 2021. 
Publications
Commentary and Analysis: Under Prime Minister Suga, U.S.-Japan Relations Will Remain Strong (Zumwalt)
In a special feature, “Under Prime Minister Suga, U.S.-Japan Relations Will Remain Strong,” Ambassador James Zumwalt, Sasakawa USA Distinguished Senior Fellow (Non-Resident), provides an in-depth analysis of the foreign policy positions of the new Suga administration in Tokyo. He explains how and why Prime Minister Suga will continue strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance alongside an incoming Biden administration. In his conclusion, he writes that the Japan-U.S. alliance has been sustained and strengthened despite partisan changes in both countries, and that the geopolitical challenges to our alliance have grown stronger than ever before.
Upcoming Activities
Policy Briefing Series: Japanese War Bides Webinar featuring Ms. Kathryn Tolbert and Col. (Ret.) Jyuji Hewitt
Sasakawa USA is pleased to host Ms. Kathryn Tolbert, an editor at The Washington Post, and Col. (Ret.) Jyuji Hewitt for a virtual seminar as a part of our Policy Briefing Series on December 3. Ms. Tolbert will use material from her Japanese War Brides oral history project to discuss the role of Japanese women who married American GIs following World War II as bridges in Japan’s transition from wartime enemy to ally. Col. (Ret.) Jyuji Hewitt, whose family’s story has been preserved through the Japanese War Brides project, will provide a personal perspective on the impact of the war brides on U.S.-Japan relations.


Photo: (L-R) Ms. Kathryn Tolbert, and Col. (Ret.) Jyuji Hewitt
Policy Briefing Series: Digital Currency Roundtable with Dr. Robert Dohner, Mr. Ichiro Oishi and Mr. Yasuhiro Yamai
Sasakawa USA is pleased to host a virtual roundtable on central bank digital currencies (CBDC) featuring Dr. Robert Dohner, Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council, Mr. Ichiro Oishi, Minister of Financial Affairs at the Embassy of Japan, and Mr. Yasuhiro Yamai, Managing Director of Corporate Planning at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group on December 8. The panel will analyze key questions surrounding debates by major central banks on the introduction of CBDC, including how the U.S. and Japan could work together on this issue based on viewpoints from both the public and private sectors.

Photo: (L-R) Dr. Robert Dohner, Mr. Ichiro Oishi and Mr. Yasuhiro Yamai
Policy Briefing Series: U.S.-Japan Space Policy Cooperation with Mr. Kimitake Nakamura and Dr. Masami Onoda
Sasakawa USA is pleased to host a virtual event on U.S.-Japan cooperation on space policy featuring Mr. Kimitake Nakamura, Minister at the Embassy of Japan, and Dr. Masami Onoda, Director of the Washington, D.C. office of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on December 10. The speakers will address the U.S.-Japan partnership in space exploration and policies touching upon JAXA astronaut Dr. Soichi Noguchi’s flight to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Crew-1 and JAXA astronaut Mr. Akihiko Hoshide’s planned flight on a SpaceX Crew-2 next Spring.

Photo: (L-R) Mr. Kimitake Nakamura and Dr. Masami Onoda
The Alliance Working in America: Webinar Hosted in Seattle, Washington
The next installment of The Alliance Working in America (TAWA) series will be held virtually and hosted by the World Affairs Council of Seattle on December 1. A panel of experts from will assess the role of the U.S.-Japan security alliance, the depth and breadth of U.S.-Japan relations, and the impact of Japanese business investments in Washington State. Featured panelists will include Dr. Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS; Dr. Mireya Solis, Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings; Dr. Saori Katada, Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California; and Ms. Jackie Miller, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Seattle.
The Japan U.S. Military Program: Upcoming Events in New Orleans, Seattle, and Honolulu
The Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP) will be hosting virtual events in New Orleans, Seattle, and Honolulu in the coming months. On December 17, JUMP New Orleans will take place, with JUMP Seattle to be held on January 23. JUMP Honolulu will then follow on February 16.
JUMP connects past and present service members, families, and government civilians who have served in Japan through social networks and grassroots events. JUMP is the only national program to do so, providing a powerful foundation for sustaining the alliance between the U.S. and Japan.
Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA
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202.296.6694