tv Japanese Ambassador to the United States Discusses U.S.- Japan Relations CSPAN October 27, 2021 6:42pm-7:48pm EDT
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program at washington durable we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered by download the app for free today. ♪ ♪ >> up next to a conversation with the japanese ambassador to the u.s. the john hopkins school of advanced international studies is the host of this event. it is about an hour. >> welcome everybody to the annual memorial lecture. the lecture was established by the center in 2004 in order to commemorate the role ambassador edwin played in promoting strong u.s./japan relations. ambassador served as an envoy to japan the presidency kennedy and johnson and devoted his academic career to deepening our understanding of japan and its relationship
with the united states. ambassador mentored our own professor can't who carries on the great tradition established. it is a distinct honor to introduce the honoree, his excellency who also carried on this great tradition from the japanese side. ambassador has served as japan's ambassador to the united states february 2021. he's career in the japanese ministry of foreign affairs spans over 40 years. before coming to the u.s., ambassador served as japan's ambassador to korea, personal representative for the g summit and i was soccer and ambassador to israel. his early overseas postings have included washington, london and paris.
ambassador i think i have known ambassador since 2000 -- 2000 bowman's director of the foreign ministries national securities division and i was a political minister in her embassy in tokyo. i'm delighted and honored to introduce my friend to you today, ambassador? [applause] [applause] ambassador, i would only add a word to it ambassador is already said. with the tremendous honor to have you with us at john
hopkins university. i say that sincerely, particularly because in your recent posting, of course in your distinguished career across many years with the foreign ministry, particularly in the last two as ambassadors. two difficult countries, two countries in which similar in some ways to that which existed between japan and the united states. i know in your remarks you will dwell on those things i
do not want to go further in that direction. let me just say i cannot think as a student there were others in the audience here who are students of his over the years. from its very beginning our center has been concerned with propagating that heritage. we really do well and we look forward very much to your remarks today. the tremendous pleasure to welcome. >> thank you very much. very, very gracious introduction. thank you very much for inviting me too be part of
this tribute to the ambassador. the center is just down massachusetts avenue from the embassy. but we share the same street we share the same outlook on the world and the same hopes for japan relationship. when i was invited to speak today i had the great fortune to be introduced ambassador. [inaudible] entitled the broken dialogue with japan. it is a brilliant analysis of japanese in the wake of the great political turmoil caused by the 1960 division of the
treaty. it shows a deep understanding of the underlying force driving the day, what has really impressive about the essay, getting very detailed analysis never loses sight of the totality of society. how the nation as a whole will evolve beyond that great political divide. in the concluding part of the essay, gave this prognosis for
the future. and i quote, the obvious of violence, and the sudden shown by the press all indicate japan will probably continue. despite the battles run the ship of the state. i think anyone who has studied japan political history over possible decades would appreciate he was predicting the cause. in fact to even sign prognosis
resonates with today's politics. what measure was not just to give a very patient analysis over the japanese society, but also for future policy towards japan. as i noted earlier there is deep understanding recognize the fundamental. but it also helped him understand behind the façade of the community there existed diverse forces at work have failed to reach.
have not been targets of the diplomatic engagement. and as you now he went on to put his worth in practice expanding the number of avenues between our two nations. and his leadership, the ones broken down were not only fixed but strengthened to the unprecedented. this legacy due to the ambassadorship gives a vastly
appropriate direction accordingly. the national communication even more critical. how ambassadors are responding to this in practice, they of course know the answer to the question. what i can do is share with you my own personal experience, which i hope will give you an insight into how ambassadors try to fulfill issues. when i was named as ambassador six years ago, the appointment came as a total surprise. up to that point i'd very
limited exposure in my diplomatic career. and in fact, i'd never set my foot in that country before i took my post. that was in december 2015. my lack of expertise turned out to be a blessing rather than a handicap. it allowed to examine my priorities free of preconceived notions. for as soon as i started my mission, it became clear to me that relations with israel were suffering from preconceptions that had no reality. behind those misconceptions the most damaging one was israel is a very dangerous
country. when i tried to promote japanese status investment the biggest obstacle i encountered was the many japanese countries the employees business drifted israel on sacred ground. that contrasted sharply such as google continue to operate even equally damaging is the conception of doing business in israel will harm the business of the countries. again, as i studied the landscape of the region, i realized the notion was rapidly becoming obsolete even
before the abraham accord which you will find a few years later. the reality was among japanese business leaders i find these preconceptions because the more i got to know the country, the more convinced i became two countries could develop complementary partnerships. so demystifying these obsolete notions became my biggest mission. and it's the same approach the ambassador had adopted. it is to expand the avenue of mutual engagement. in particular i concentrated
my efforts on getting the task as many japanese business leaders as possible to visit that country and to see the situation on the ground with their own eyes. i knew from my own experience, israel is a kind of country unless you go visit. fortunately, during my time visited israel twice each time he was accompanied by high level business litigation. i believe these visits by ceos of leading japanese countries contributed significantly to the change in corporate mindset and the led to the dramatic development of business partnership in recent years.
during the period between 2015 and 2017, which roughly coincides with my tenure there, the number of japanese countries operating in israel increase by 70%. the japanese investment registered a tenfold increase. i hope my effort played a modest role in that development. just a minute i am having a problem with my ipad. okay, here i go.
as you know i took up my post early last year. when i did that i was faced with a completely different challenge. exist in the world today need to find any closer exchange than the one that exists between japan and korea. in 2018, 10 million people traveled between the two countries. yet at my first conference upon arrival at the airport, summarize my role is that i use that particular term because i saw the broken dialogue open between the two nations. although the nature of the challenge was quite different from the one that disturbed in
1960. as you know our relations with korea is worse in recent years. this naturally led to deep communication and or diplomatic conversation. i was expecting i need to bring the message to the korean counterparts. : : : much as long the trust was mutual and once it starts to erode, there is a real danger. it would degenerate in a
downward spiral. in the excessive focus on this also more broadly, on opinions in both countries. and they need to focus the trends and forces for the future. [inaudible]. how can we help this negative downward spiral. this is a big task, simply sugar coated would not be a solution and if you have simple complacency's predict in a short time moreover, both countries need to concentrate their efford
a space to resolve the outstanding issues arising from several allegations before the judicial process is causing damaging conclusions. a longer time however, i strongly agree that efforts will be needed in this growing gap. and unfortunately my team and career was too short to make any meaningful contributions. in a short period of time, i tried to bring what i would describe as a level of optimism to the public about the future and partnership.
this is based on the historical experience that despite that these have played the member relations and establishment the united states and the japanese and korean, find a way to engage in share this constructively, achieving the bilateral experiences that you've seen anywhere else in the world. this optimistic look is been motivated with realism but i do believe that we should have more confidence in the people overcoming today's challenge just as they overcame the challenge over the past. and it according to my current mission, what would be my role
as an investor here in washington. the question over the recent - in japan, i hope they deliberately chose to command the spot but if you're concerned about me speaking about the priorities, just a few days before the general election. forcefully, i can rely on my ambassador about the fundamental committees in the japanese politics. some of the outcome of the general election, i am confident that the united states will remain in the alliance and foundational component. moreover, the fact that it
embodies in the long experience, in the insecurity of the policy. and in the forthcoming election, a very full plate in terms of him, and will be a continued challenge for defeating the pandemic but i don't think that the list of priorities will be released as a commitment to the united in our country has been seeking in recent years including free and open - and opinions on best alliance between two countries. that being said, for reasons that i stated, i feel that talking about specific a point so let me having discussions
here in the context of surrounding the alliance. the big picture that i am talking about is the relations increasingly driven by. [inaudible]. and this had been manifested into factors, they have in shaping the recent evolution in these national relations and oneness the fifth in the u.s. trying to focus on these regions. and the other is a quest for alliance for like-minded nations which also serve as institution on opinions and use leadership and competition.
so the face of the evolving global picture, our two countries or two governments rather have an in the conversation about how hard alliance should refocus. broadly speaking i think that we are looking at different areas. the first area is our alliance and responsive capabilities in the face of the increasingly - in the region. and in the washington, and present biden shared deep concerns about certain aspects of the chinese in a read, to
engage china in these discussions over these issues. their concerns are very tough addressed to china in a statement issued. but as you know, is not the same as being ready to make sure that we are ready for contingencies, we might have to face in future we might have to give the competition on how best that we can work together to strengthen our responsive capabilities. this is one of our main things and will remain so in the coming weeks and months predict and the second area we need to work together concerns strengtheningn
resilience. it is clear that we need to take on the competition now emerging from them. in a different respect, two countries are making a serious effort first to realize from the pandemic and then to make our economy more resilience and more competitive. these efforts and again the two leaders, the core partnership and being the combination of the first initiatives of these objectives. [inaudible]. in this partnership will focus on developing the efforts to maintain our edge in the ecology
and innovation and protective for the semi- conductive and pharmaceuticals. then third, we are aware of a stronger partnership in the efforts to find solutions to wide-ranging strategies facing the global society. and in this area are priority remains and will continue and overcome the pandemic. this is the recent data of a focus on the vaccine corporations. [inaudible]. and climate change is another challenge and effort. have a two governments have
decided to change partnership and focus on developmental technologies such as - and power. in the final word here is the effort to create and grow our community of nations and sharing. in particular, the united states shifted and focusing to that region and they can play a huge role in the u.s. engagement in countries in the region through a network. a prime example of this is the efforts of the years to deepen the competition within the framework of the core.
in the continued efforts to engage with the united states and the regional corporations in the area as another example. and thanks to the communications between the two governments on happy to report that the policies are being aligned with these priorities and look forward to seeing this policy in the coming months as we get beyond this now taking place in japan. as i look towards the future, i am conscious that we have how we feed into this endeavor will ultimately depend on the relations. sitting in my office and restitution is icy less viewed
on a very cell and it's all foundation mutual trust. and created by and i know that we should not be complacent and strengthening exchanges. in particular what i learn during my 40 years, is that the relationship between any two countries ultimately comes down to human connection. and clearly this is recognized when he wrote his 1960 essay, then sunday night as i tried to fulfill my mission. so my biggest mission here in
washington is to first so the two countries can expand in in friendship and in solidarity. and the possibilities set before us. so in closing, i think that ambassador would be deeply moved and i would be so proud that japan u.s. alliances has begun and i wish that i could sit down and tell him all that has happened since he passed in 1990 and he would be amazed by so many things printed the relations with japan and the guidelines and the fact that itw the largest in the united states. i think he would be overjoyed at the state of japan relations and
he would be so gratified by the work that is his namesake. so to you ladies and gentlemen, at very gratified by the work and i think you for this invitation today. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much a ambassador. and i think this justifiably and that but thinking back, i can remember and others in this audience who knew him no doubt will remember this as well but even to, he was always worried
about the possibility of a broken dialogue and discouraged in japan u.s. relations. and of course our two countries do have in some ways starkly different circumstances in your directly adjacent to china and we are across an ocean. you import 99 percent of your oil and much of it from the middle east. and we are among recently the largest oil importer in the world even in times during this with saudi hundred saudi arabia it was so long ago, i can remember when i was working briefly on capitol hill, that we at the demonstrations the cars being hit with sledgehammers and
things like that. so that far in the distant past of the protections have been an anchor factor the u.s. japan relations. i see dangers is a broken dialogue researching. i know we would all like to hope that isn't but to put it differently, 20 think the potential danger to the u.s. japan relations are which we should be working. >> >> i am sorry if that is a difficult question. >> i think that my job is to keep that from happening.
i think our lives have changed, substantially from the times. i can describe this change in many ways freighted with the biggest thing is the alliance is increasingly digital and global hubs. this is also a danger because now we have work not just for each other, but also for the global community. so i can see how our lives have contributed to this.
in the international society but at the same time, the alliance is expanded so much. there is a greater need for policy. this is not always possible and also often times i think that we need to have this very complex set of objectives. take the example of china, i talked about the need to engage in china in a very candid discussion. but that being said china is also the second largest economy in the world.
deeply rooted into the global society. getting the other relations between the united states and china, and between japan and china, nothing for the global society. and of course, china is also contributing to the efforts to find solutions of issues including climate change. so i think this was described as the complexity and by breaking down the aspects of our in god and engagement to china and being competitive in, rob entered collaborative.
so take the example of china so even if between - >> so you would say that even if it is not the same, talking past each other sort of broken and very complex coordination problem, there's a broken dialogue in that but not a broken challenge. >> exactly. i'm not suggesting that that gap in communication and i am trying to align the difficulty of how difficult it is. on these complex issues printed
cement i know we have a number of people here course former policymakers, we have another who is guiding the policy extensively and a lot of students are people who are interested and i don't want to go on at great length. i know that we have some questions. and here is bill. [inaudible]. [inaudible]. [inaudible]. >> my question is actually the short range impact of the pandemic which has created a kind of broken dialogue between the u.s. and japan academics
communities. i teach a course on u.s. japan relations and global contexts in which the students normally get a research trip to tokyo each year printed we haven't been able to do it for two years because of the pandemic and i think this is spread across the entire u.s. is the dialogue of academics. either in an institution or personal environment has been broken on the pandemic. in your estimates, can this be fixed quickly as things get more and more normal over the short term. >> will thank you very much for that question and as i said in my presentation, i'm a strong believer in human connection. by this dislocation created by
the pandemic, and peoples exchange including academic exchanges. and of course how quickly that we can overcome this challenge, it depends on how we make progress in terms of defeating this pandemic. i am happy to report that we are resuming normal exchanges for the students taking a few examples of traditional avenues to exchange the fellowship programs. we have just sent off a new bunch of jet colors to japan and it is going back to normal and
of course many of the programs which i've been obliged to because of this pandemic. but i am looking forward to finding progress. and partly because in japan, we have a dramatic card in completing this and i think that yesterday japan recorded a number of people hundred 50 passing's nationally. in terms of vaccination, i think that we are not a 75 percent of japanese, and close to 7 percent are fully vaccinated rated so with the progress to contain the
disease and hope we will have a better process and return to normal exchanges in the nation. >> i think we all understand the election coming up that it could be difficult that we certainly look forward i think a lot of us to this chance to get back to japan whatever that becomes possible. more questions. edit people could identify themselves. >> my name is kevin and noam a student is studying with the nation and i would first like to thank the ambassador for coming here and giving his remark on his u.s. japan relations and i d like to go back to china actually end i think the
situation has become increasingly intensified. last friday president of biden and explicitly said that the u.s. has our commitment to taiwan if china decides different actions against taiwan and education and i just love the ambassador, can you provide more details on the current japanese policy on taiwan and their situation of possible potential military confrontation between taiwan and china and possibly the u.s. in this confrontation, thank you. >> thank you for that question. i think you just mentioned recent vicinity of thailand.
i think obviously, japan like the united states has - over the region including. [inaudible]. so as i said in my presentation, we are trying to deepen the conversation with the american friends. so that we will be ready to respond to any challenges that might arise in the future. but that doesn't necessarily mean that we will change our traditional position on thailand because with china. i think within this framework,
and also we are supporting the taiwan air force in the areas i have mentioned. also try to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas. >> thank you, very difficult question. thank you very much, jim. >> thank you very much, thank you ambassador. i am senior director of the u.s. japan next alliant initiative at the peace foundation usa went to ask about economic security. it is a very hot topic right now you reference the core partnership. i wonder if you think the current mechanism or a methods of alliance coordination are sufficient to address the complexity of economic security, it conveys the two
plus two mechanisms to handle that to we just need to rely on traditional potentially some new approach potentially useful in that regard. >> i think everyone knows here jim is an alum as well. a. [laughter] >> that is a very good question. of course to hold up the conversation between the two leaders, we try to explore proper ways to address their deepest concerns. we are trying to establish
appropriate conversations. and of course this falls in the traditional lines of communication. ultimately, this calls for all stakeholder conversation. no one is engaging business that we make proper decision in terms of protecting our supply chains. so, i think beyond this conversation that we need some way to engage the other stakeholders including the business. we have not reached that stage
, to come up with a new specific way of doing that. but down below that to grow the dialogue that question. >> thank you. let's say we have a question right here. >> thank you mr. ambassador. i am the director of the foreign policy institute. my question relates to the theme you brought up about broken a dialogue. i wonder, you've already talked about china. you certainly choose to highlight that. my question is, where regionally or globally do you see strategically important broken dialogue. and how can the united states and japan work together to
strategically head off some of the most possibly negative consequences? >> issue and alliance coordination on the complex problems relating to china particularly that the u.s. and japan have. >> i think in responding to the challenge of strategic conversation, i think we need a holistic approach we are not just focusing on the security competition. as i talked about in my presentation with the question of economic security or even to make ourselves.
>> in the traditional alliance, i think all of this alliance has to have a new addition to the rollover of strengthening securities. but also we need to work out a new way of approaching. that is the reason why i am talking about new alignment of like-minded. and focus, but equally important, is not just the corporation but reaching out to nations, which
at the time we are trying to advance, this is not for ourselves only. we have time to increase vaccine production in india so that can be distributed around the world and around the regent. not just the question of strengthening the alliance corporation but the engagement since one of the areas of priorities in my presentation.
>> we are getting close to one of the end. we have remarks by the ambassador very, very briefly. okay, one right here and then one right there. >> thank you so much your excellency. i am a student associate of the center. my question is more about the middle east if i make. amidst the changing commitment in the middle east, or does that balance its priorities, especially with that of the united states? thank you.
>> okay, one more. hello ambassador conor o'brien a second-year student studying american foreign policy pretty much in the u.s. and japan coordinating on various contingencies and improving deterrence with two countries. japan recently in the last few years with helicopter destroyers to become small aircraft carriers. it is getting greater standup capabilities. while this independent ability strengthen or weaken the u.s./japan alliance? >> first have the strategy
making in terms of strengthening our own defense efforts, will not diminish in the region. think what we are trying to do is the combination over the defense capabilities to be strengthened to address the evolution in the region. i think in order to do that we need very strong coordination. and by the way, the prime minister announced a few weeks ago about the forthcoming
review of japan. we will be engaging our american counterparts and how this partnership should be developed in the picture. >> i'm glad to see we do not have a broken dialogue between these two parts of the massachusetts avenue. we look forward to continuing that dialogue, thank you very much. >> thank you very much for inviting me it's our honor as well thank you.
[applause] >> and might just add will have a brief reception after words if people would like to meet and continue this discussion. was not on the news of the day for the you. coming up thursday morning with texas republican and illinois democrat watch "washington journal" thursday morning during discussion with
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