Ambassadors headline international symposium on Japan

Michael Armacost, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s current Ambassador to the United States will give keynote addresses in a March 25-26 international symposium that is sponsored by Furman’s Department of Asian Studies and the Riley Institute.

The two-day conference, hosted at the Younts Conference Center, will explore Japan-U.S. relations and domestic and economic policies in Japan.

Armacost will give the opening keynote address and Sasae is scheduled to give the closing keynote address.

A panel on Japan’s “Challenges and Opportunities: Issues Confronting Japan” will feature Takashi Terada, Doshisha University (Political Economy and Regionalism/Regional Integration in Asia and Pacific); Edward J. Lincoln, Columbia University/George Washington University (Japanese Economy); and Kay Shimizu, Columbia University (Japanese and Chinese Politics).

The presentations are part of Furman’s Cultural Life Program. They are free and open to public.

Tuesday, March 25

7 p.m. “United States and Japan Relations”. Keynote address by Michael Armacost, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Dr. Armacost will address the challenges faced by the US-Japan Alliance in an Asia awash in change. Because of the rise of China as a superpower, the power dynamics in Asia–especially in East Asia– and consequently the Japan-U.S. relationship—historically very strong since WWII– is facing some unprecedented challenges. From Japan’s perspective, politically and militarily, its relationship with the U.S. remains the most important one. The United States, although it still regards Japan as a strong ally, also has China as the second largest trading partner and cannot ignore the huge political influence and military power China now has after the record-breaking economic growth. So, what now?

Wednesday, March 26

4 p.m. “Key Issues Confronting Japan” Panel discussion moderated by Ambassador Armacost. Discussants include Professors Terada, Lincoln and Shimuzu.

7 p.m. “Japan and the Future of Asia Pacific” Closing address by Sasae, Japan’s Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Sasae will focus on Japan’s very serious disputes and conflicts with China, South Korea, and North Korea, which will result in the instability of not only Asia, which itself is huge, but the much bigger Pacific region. Ambassador Sasae will provide the Japanese government’s point of view on this critical issue for Japan, a situation whose outcome might have dire consequence on more than half of the world population in Asia Pacific, in addition to the United States.