November 25, 2015 - In This Issue:
Actor Ken Watanabe awarded first Sasakawa USA Nichibei Award

On November 17, Sasakawa USA, in partnership with the Motion Picture Association of America, hosted a private clip reel screening and panel discussion in commemoration of 70 years of US-Japan relations through film. Topics explored included stereotypes, propaganda, realism, globalization and history within Hollywood.
At the event, actor Ken Watanabe was announced as the recipient of the first Sasakawa USA Nichibei Award, which recognizes those who have led a positive role in growing US-Japan relations.

"I have troubled myself many times over the extent to which I should properly convey the history and spirit of my home country as a Japanese actor," Watanabe said in submitted remarks accepting the award. "...I hope to continue to challenge myself, with care and without overreaching myself, so that I can show you enriching work."

Comfort women: Japan, Korea and reconciliation  
Recent talks between Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Korea President Park Geun-hye have opened a window of opportunity for resolving the biggest obstacle to improved Japan-Korea relations - the issue of "comfort women."

In this commentary, Senior Sasakawa USA Fellow Daniel Bob explains what arrangements both sides will need to take to overcome their deep distrust of one another and reach reconciliation.

An historic, but still fragile, milestone for Myanmar

On November 8, the people of Myanmar went to the polls for the first free election in 25 years, electing that the long-repressed opposition party leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a landslide victory that secured an absolute majority.

The transition will precipitate the most significant change in Southeast Asia since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In the wake of this development, Sasakawa USA Fellow James Kendall details steps the U.S. should take to nurture the success of the fledgling government.

Event: Alumni breakfast will continue the conversation on the U.S. and Asia Pacific
On December 9, Sasakawa USA will host the third in a series of Alumni roundtables focused on "continuing the dialogue." The featured speaker will be Hawaii Representative Mark Takai (D-HI-1), who will discuss the Hill's perspective on U.S.-Asia policy. This event is by invitation only. 

Sasakawa USA helps solve mystery of Japanese WWII photos
When undertaking a story about a mysterious cache of Japanese
World War II-era photos, The News & Advance turned to Sasakawa USA for assistance with translating handwritten notes on the back of each image and providing background historical context.

Sasakawa USA Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Hornung, who provided expertise for the article, believes the photos were taken between 1937 and 1942 in China while the country was occupied by Japan.

"What's interesting [about the photos] is the wide view of the time period," Hornung said in the article. "You see active battle, you see movement between battle with forces, you see troops sleeping and then you see homeland Japan celebrating. So you get a good look at the people who were fighting the war and the people who were running the war and patting themselves on the back."

News that Japan's economy is in recession for the second consecutive year has sparked another round of debate over whether Abenomics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's eponymous economic program, has failed. Sasakawa USA's Tobias Harris explains what steps Abe must take if he wants to realize his vision of a stronger Japan.

** This commentary was featured in the Wall Street Journal Asia edition. 
Announcing the Sasakawa USA In-Depth Research Trip 

This newly announced program will provide selected Sasakawa alumni with an opportunity to return to Japan for a deeper understanding of common challenges in the U.S.-Japan relationship and build on the knowledge they gained from their initial delegation trip to Japan.

This delegation is limited to Sasakawa alumni, and the deadline for interested candidates to submit their application materials is November 30.

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