Sasakawa USA Newsletter July 31, 2020
Included in this issue of the newsletter:

  • Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
Activities
  • Policy Briefing: New Force Design for the Marine Corps featuring LtGen Wallace “Chip” Gregson (Ret.) 
  • Policy Briefing: Challenges Posed by COVID-19: Japan, the U.S., and International Coordination featuring Prof. Keizo Takemi
  • In-Depth Alumni Trip: The U.S. and Japan After the INF Treaty featuring Mr. Ankit Panda
Publications
  • A Vision for Post COVID-19 U.S.-Japan Relations: Japan-U.S. Cooperation After the Coronavirus Pandemic: From a Security Perspective (Hirata)
  • Japan Political Pulse: Testing the Resiliency of the Abe Administration (Akimoto)
Announcements
  • The Alliance Working in America (TAWA): Partnership with World Affairs Council of America Continues (WACA) 
  • Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED): Program to Address U.S.-Japan Public Health Cooperation
  • The Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP): New Website Launch
  • USJETAA Mini-Grant Program: Funding Awarded to JETAADC for Mentorship Program 
Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
I offer my heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been affected by COVID-19.  
 
A leading Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) politician recently shared his hope that the U.S. will find a way to prevent COVID-19 from further rapid spread across the U.S. He expressed sympathy for all those experiencing loss and suffering due to the pandemic in the U.S. He was also afraid such tragedies will only worsen as the U.S. continues to struggle to contain the virus without having a national strategy to do so.
 
This politician was also concerned with the erosion of U.S. credibility as the leading nation of the free world as the result of the nation`s inability to effectively deal with COVID-19. After all, the U.S. is supposed to be equipped with the necessary resources and tools to deal with a pandemic. It is supposed to have the highest level of medical and public health expertise and facilities in the world, backed by powerful financial and research institutions. And yet, the U.S. has failed miserably to protect its own citizens and has not taken on a leadership role in international efforts to battle the virus.
 
People in Japan still believe the U.S. has a special role in the free world because of how strongly it promotes universal human values, which its citizens believe in and proclaim to the world. The LDP politician believes the U.S. is the only country which can play a true leadership role in protecting the free world, based on the principals of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, by working with its allies and partners. However, this LDP politician said that when he urges his fellow politicians to be patient and work with the U.S. on combating the pandemic and strengthening global health, he sometimes detects a sense of doubt or negativity from them – that the U.S. is a laggard, not a leader, in its response to COVID-19. He is afraid that the international community now thinks twice about taking the U.S. seriously in its ability to battle the pandemic.
 
Such views on the U.S. are dangerous for the free world. There is no other country, resourceful enough, strong enough, and with universal enough appeal, to play the role which the U.S. has played post war. The liberal world order was built and is ensured by U.S. leadership and power, both hard and soft. If the current lack of leadership continues, there will be division rather than union between the U.S. and the free world, which will be taken advantage of by revisionist forces.
 
Certainly, the other G7 countries have roles to play and responsibilities to fulfill. As a matter of fact, there have been many effective responses to the pandemic from these countries. But there is only so much the European members of the G7 and Japan can do because of divergent regional interests, and relatively limited resources and influence to mobilize the rest of the world.
 
U.S. “re-entry” into the international community and certainly to the free and open community is not automatic. The U.S. must earn it. Leaving international institutions and formal agreements has caused much difficulty for the parties and people concerned. The strength of the U.S. is partially based on the fact that it can support the stable foundations of international institutions and agreements. Whether it is the WHO, WTO, NATO, or TPP, the U.S. must work to regain its rightful place. U.S. allies and like-minded countries are willing to work with the U.S. if and when it returns to the table with agreeable approaches.
 
While Prime Minister Abe has established the best relationship with President Trump among the G7 leaders, Japan is paying close attention to the election, now less than 100 days away. Whoever wins, there is much riding on the November 3 election. Let`s just hope American voters can cast their votes without risking their health and the legitimacy of the election results will be firmly established.
Activities
Policy Briefing: New Force Design for the Marine Corps featuring LtGen Wallace “Chip” Gregson (Ret.)
On July 9, Sasakawa USA held an on-the-record virtual briefing to analyze General David H. Berger’s new strategic vision for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and its implications to the U.S.-Japan alliance in the Indo-Pacific. The event featured remarks by LtGen Wallace “Chip” Gregson, USMC (Ret.) with commentary by LtGen Lawrence Nicholson, USMC (Ret.) and LtGen Koichiro Bansho, JGSDF (Ret.). Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman of Sasakawa USA, moderated a Q&A session with attendees. A full recap and video of the event can be found here .
Policy Briefing: Challenges posed by COVID-19: Japan, the U.S., and International Coordination featuring Prof. Keizo Takemi
On July 30, Sasakawa USA hosted a virtual roundtable with Prof. Keizo Takemi, Member, House of Councillors the National Diet of Japan, who is a leading expert of public health in the Liberal Democratic Party. Prof. Takemi discussed his views on challenges posed by COVID-19, Japan’s experience in dealing with the crisis, and the importance of international cooperation, particularly from the viewpoint of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Prof. Michael Reich, Taro Takemi Research Professor of International Health Policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, then provided commentary on Prof. Takemi’s analysis. The roundtable concluded with a robust Q&A discussion moderated by Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman of Sasakawa USA. An in-depth recap and video of the event will be published on Sasakawa USA’s website in the coming weeks.
In-Depth Alumni Trip: The U.S. and Japan After the INF Treaty featuring Mr. Ankit Panda  
On July 28, Mr. Ankit Panda, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment on International Peace, presented his research on “The U.S. and Japan After the INF Treaty,” which he developed as a result of his research trip to Japan in 2019 as a participant of Sasakawa USA’s In-Depth Alumni Research Trip. Dr. Chris Bassler, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and fellow alumni of Sasakawa USA’s In-Depth Alumni Trip, followed Mr. Panda’s presentation with commentary on the issue. During this off-the-record virtual roundtable facilitated by Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Mr. Panda provided information on the U.S. decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty and its implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance. Additionally, Mr. Panda provided updates on what had transpired since he wrote his paper in February 2020. Through the discussion that included distinguished guests from the Washington, D.C. policy community, Japanese diplomatic corps, academia, and think tanks, participants were able to have a constructive discussion on how the U.S. and Japan can advance the alliance despite the U.S. decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty.
Publications
A Vision for Post COVID-19 U.S.-Japan Relations: Japan-U.S. Cooperation After the Coronavirus Pandemic: From a Security Perspective (Hirata)
In his new article “ Japan-U.S. Cooperation After the Coronavirus Pandemic: From a Security Perspective ,” Lieutenant General Hidetoshi Hirata (Ret.), Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and current advisor at Aerospace Company of Fuji Heavy Industry assesses U.S.-Japan cooperation post COVID-19 from a security perspective. From this vantage point, LtGen Hirata examines challenges and emerging threats to the U.S. and Japan, changes in the security environment due to COVID-19, the competition continuum, and what the future of U.S.-Japan cooperation looks like. Finally, he envisions the important role of Japan-U.S. cooperation post COVID-19 for not only Japan's security but also for security in Asia as a whole.
Japan Political Pulse: Testing the Resiliency of the Abe Administration (Akimoto )
In his new article , Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman of Sasakawa USA, analyzes the resiliency of the Abe administration, which is facing depressed popularity due to a series of political crises, scandals, and poor public evaluation of his COVID-19 responses, as well as a schism at the top of his administration. However, current opinion polls have seen PM Abe’s approval rating show an upward trend, mainly due to a very positive public view of his relief efforts for Kyushu, Nagano, and the Tokai area where recent torrential rain and flooding badly affected the regions. Despite some media coverage of an early departure stemming from uncertain public support, an early exit is still unlikely in the short run. PM Abe must establish a political legacy, such as Tokyo Olympics Games next summer, as he enters his last year as the head of his party and as Prime Minister.

Photo: Prime Minister Abe receives Letter of Request from Gov. Kabashima of Kumamoto prefecture due to need for relief assistance from heavy rains. ( Prime Minister’s Official Homepage )
Announcements
The Alliance Working in America (TAWA): Partnership with World Affairs Council of America Continues (WACA)
For the fifth year, Sasakawa USA is partnering with World Affairs Councils of America to implement another installment of Sasakawa USA's   The Alliance Working in America (TAWA)  series. TAWA connects with regional leaders and influences across the U.S. to discuss how the U.S.-Japan alliance and partnerships are working to strengthen U.S. security and economic interests at regional and national levels. The program seeks to reach Americans in communities where they live and work, and explicitly articulate to them how the U.S.-Japan relationship directly influences their lives. The challenges posed by this year's pandemic may bring the traditional in-person program online, however we look forward to navigating this possible first with a local World Affairs Council of America council in the U.S. and creating an engaging and meaningful program.

Photo: TAWA delegation in Salt Lake City, UT in early 2020 prior to the pandemic.
Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED): Program to Address U.S.-Japan Public Health Cooperation
Every year the   Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED) program brings together a handful of next-generation U.S. policy experts and opinion leaders around a selected theme to deepen their understanding of Japan and U.S.-Japan relations. In order to address head-on the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in, this year's program will be driven by the theme  U.S.-Japan Public Health Cooperation.  The program will offer the cohort of professionals opportunities to develop a nuanced understanding of Japan's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health in Japan, and opportunities for collaboration between the U.S. and Japan in improving public health internationally. The trip is slated for early 2021, pending safe conditions for travel.
Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP): New Website Launch
Over the past several months, our staff have been hard at work at updating the Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP) website in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the program. We wanted it to be more user friendly, more visual, and easier to view on mobile devices. All of those design goals were in mind as our staff took the program into a new era of online content, and we are happy to announce that the new website launched over the July 4 holiday weekend. JUMP has been hosting many online webinars recently and the new site also has many added resource guides for those interested in learning about life in Japan. Please check out the new website to learn more about JUMP. 
USJETAA Mini-Grant Program: Funding Awarded to JETAADC for Mentorship Program
Sasakawa USA and USJETAA are pleased to announce the JET Alumni Association of Washington, D.C. (JETAADC) as the first grant recipient of our   2020-2021 Sasakawa USA/USJETAA Mini-Grant Program for JETAA Chapters and Subchapters in the United States . Through this grant, JETAADC will launch a five-month virtual mentorship program to support the professional development of JET Program alumni seeking careers in U.S.-Japan relations in the DMV region. To read more about the program and its requirements, visit JETAADC’s program page .
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