March 23, 2016 - In This Issue:
Experts commemorate 3/11 tragedy by seeking to learn from disaster

Five years after the Great East Japan Earthquake hit the Tohoku region, experts came together for a conference organized by Sasakawa USA and the U.S.-Japan Council to reflect on the triple disaster and discuss lessons learned.

On March 8, the two organizations co-hosted The United States and Japan: Reassessing 3-11, a full-day discussion on the disaster and the joint response to it. The Honorable Goshi Hosono, the former Minister for the Restoration from and Prevention of Nuclear Accidents, explained working with a small team of experts in the immediate aftermath of 3/11 to identify and, more importantly, prevent a worst-case scenario from taking place at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.

The Honorable John Roos, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan at the time of the disaster, a featured speaker at the conference, described weighing his top responsibility of protecting the American population in Japan while also fulfilling the humanitarian needs that were so great at the time. "In the end, I am so glad that we all stayed to be there with our Japanese friends," he said "...There's no place I would have rather have been during that period of time."

Videos from all the panels now are archived online, along with photos and a recap summarizing some of the key points discussed. The event additionally was featured in a segment on NHK News.


JET Program recognized for role in disaster relief at film event
Five years after the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake struck Tohoku, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is remembered for its humanitarian impact and key role in forging the strong U.S.-Japan bond that continues today.

On March 11, Sasakawa USA and the JET Alumni Association of Washington, D.C. co-hosted "The Role of JET Alumni in U.S.-Japan Cooperation: A Tohoku Tomo film screening and panel discussion." Speaking at the event, Matthew Fuller, a former Foreign Service Officer who was Special Assistant to U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos at the time of the earthquake, said the disaster required Embassy staff to pool many resources, including relying on JETs stationed in small communities for their networks and knowledge of the area.

In that way, the disaster showed the strength of the JET Program and the relationships forged through it, said Fuller, who also is a JET alumnus. Referencing those bonds found all throughout Japan, he referred to the program as "probably the greatest investment the Japanese government has ever made." 
Japan Political Pulse: Abe government's approval ratings stabilize, but public still cool towards policies
New analysis of recent polls show that the Abe government's support remains stable despite the public's negative attitudes regarding the government's policies, according to Sasakawa USA Fellow Tobias Harris. His latest piece in Japan Political Pulse looks at public support for issues including Abenomics, childcare availability, and a possible consumption tax increase. 
Panel discussion focuses on methods for empowering women in developing Asian countries

Just a day after International Women's Day, Sasakawa USA co-hosted "U.S.-Japan Dialogue on International Development," a public forum with The Asia Foundation on March 9, 2016, featuring prominent figures in both Japanese and U.S. civil society to discuss women's rights and empowerment in Asia. The challenges that women face when seeking equal opportunities in the region were a major focus of the forum, which also looked at opportunities for civil society actors from the U.S. and Japan to promote women's empowerment.

One key takeaway came from Barbara Rodriguez, Assistant Director for the Asia Foundation's Women's Empowerment Program, who stressed that NGOs should be "gender-smart" by integrating gender as an essential factor in all developmental work across different programmatic sectors.

In the News: Sasakawa experts comment on North Korea, Trump

Former Intelligence Chief: N. Korea Could Sell Nuclear Materials:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be tempted to sell its nuclear materials or technology to earn cash amid increased sanctions, Sasakawa USA CEO and Chairman Admiral Dennis Blair said in an interview with Voice of America on March 10. Click here to watch the interview.

Trump's rhetoric on Japan criticized as false: 
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump's rhetoric on economic and military issues in Japan is far from the truth, Sasakawa USA's Tobias Harris and Dr. Jeffrey Hornung say in a March 16 article by Kirk Spitzer in USA Today. Read the full article here, or read an op-ed by Harris and Hornung that expands upon the topic here.  
Upcoming events: March & April 2016
The U.S.-Japan relationship is on showcase throughout March and April, when Sasakawa USA hosts numerous events on topics including a joint strategy for China and depictions of Japan in film.

Not all events are open to the public ----- please view each listing for details.
Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA

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