February 10, 2016 - In This Issue:
Introducing Sasakawa USA's Civil Society Exchange Program

Sasakawa USA's Civil Society Exchange Program aims to strengthen ties between the U.S. policymaking community and Japanese NGOs in the area of international development through a week-long exchange program in Washington, D.C.

During the program, a group of nominated professionals from Japanese NGOs will meet with U.S. policymakers, think tank experts, and NGO leaders to discuss their approaches to and challenges in addressing shared objectives, including effective ways in which NGOs can operate with their government and other players. The program also will explore areas for greater U.S.-Japan cooperation.

The first delegation, planned from March 7 to 11, will bring together four experienced staff members at Japanese NGOs in international development who will focus on Southeast Asia and various issues related to improving the lives of women in the region.

On February 4, 2016, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was formally signed by the United States, Japan, and ten other nations.

In this column, Sasakawa USA Chairman and CEO Admiral Dennis Blair explains why the agreement is a giant step in U.S.-Japan relations and why those who are in favor of TPP need to do a better job supporting programs that support the workforce.
The strategic importance of Okinawa, the next steps needed to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the status of Japan-Korea relations are among a wide range of issues Sasakawa USA's Dr. Jeffrey Hornung discusses in a three-part Q&A series in The Sekai Nippo that ran from January 31 to February 2, 2016.

Speaking with Washington correspondent Toshiyuki Hayakawa as part of the newspaper's look at important topics for the year ahead, Hornung provides analysis and breaks down key security issues that are likely to be in the news in 2016.

Click here for a summary of the articles and links to read them in full.
Event: Supply Chains, Security, and Cyber Threats ----  Promoting U.S.-Japan Cooperation to Mitigate Risks and Improve Practices

On March 9, 2016, Sasakawa USA and the Center for Responsible Enterprise And Trade ( CREATe), in cooperation with the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York ( JCCI), will host a special conference focused on managing the critical issues of security, cyber threats, and supply chains.    

This is Japan's new stealth jet: When Japan unveiled its new X-2 stealth jet prototype, it was sending "a clear signal Tokyo wants to be taken seriously as a military-industrial power," Sasakawa USA's Dr. Jeffrey Hornung said in an article in Foreign Policy. Read the story here. 
Japan economy minister, key figure in Trans-Pacific trade deal, quits amid scandal: The resignation of Akira Amari a week after allegations of financial impropriety surfaced has deprived Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of one of his closest political allies, Sasakawa USA Fellow Tobias Harris said in a Washington Post article. Read the story here. 
Japanese emperor visits Philippines amid tensions: An emphasis on economic assistance and defense cooperation between Japan and the Philippines is likely to continue despite attention being paid to the comfort women issue in the Philippines, Sasakawa USA Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Hornung said in an on-air interview with Al Jazeera America. Read the story here.

What to make of Japan's new negative interest rate: The Bank of Japan's decision to begin imposing a negative 0.1 percent interest rate on new excess reserves signals "willingness to pursue a negative interest rate program (NIRP) without actually doing it," Sasakawa USA's Tobias Harris said in The Diplomat. Read the story here.

True Stories from Japan: Alliance offers a wellspring of information on Asia-Pacific security

While participating as a delegate on Sasakawa USA's Foreign Policy Initiative SEED Trip from October 19 to 23, Phillip Lohaus, a Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), had the opportunity to discuss developments in U.S.-Japan defense cooperation with members of the Japanese Diet, media, ministries, Cabinet Secretariat, the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), the National Security Council, and other defense industry representatives. After returning, he wrote about the experience and what he learned. 
Stories from our news partners at Nippon.com: 

The Roots and Realities of Japan's Cyber-Nationalism: The prevalence of anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech on Japanese websites has raised concerns about the spread of a virulent strain of right-wing cyber-nationalism in Japan. Author Tsunehira Furuya traces the rise of Japan's "Internet right-wingers" and dispels some myths about their identity and potential impact. Read the story here. 

Japan's Gender Imbalance: Country Ranked 101st Among 145 Nations on Equality Index: While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted the slogan of creating a society where women can shine, Japan continues to struggle to bridge its gender gap. The country languishes at 101st, the lowest among advanced nations, on the World Economic Forum's global index on gender equality. Read the story here.

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