May 25, 2012
visited the Tokyo Foundation on April 12 for a roundtable discussion on the biggest challenges facing Japan. IR/PS marked the twentieth anniversary of its membership in the Sylff community in May 2011.
The discussion was moderated by Ulrike Schaede, professor of Japanese business at IR/PS, and was attended by about 20 people, including the board members, who were in Japan for an IR/PS meeting and to attend a public symposium on “Japan Moving Forward.”
Panelists for the discussion at the Tokyo Foundation included Takeo Hoshi, professor and the Pacific Economic Cooperation chair in international economic relations at IR/PS; Tsuneo Watanabe, Tokyo Foundation senior fellow and director of foreign and security policy research; Akiko Imai, Tokyo Foundation research fellow and director of public communications; Robert Feldman, managing director and head of economic research at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities; and Professor Schaede.
Senior Fellow Watanabe described recent political developments in Japan and outlined issues in national security, introducing the Tokyo Foundation’s policy proposal on “Japan’s Security Strategy toward China.” These were topics of great interest to advisory board members, eliciting many questions and comments.
Professor Hoshi talked about Japan’s fiscal deficit, with reference to the proposed consumption tax hike. He also noted that one consequence of the March 2011 Tohoku disaster has been to force a great number of people to move, which could, he noted, lead to a positive effect on the country.
Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities’ Feldman presented his views on the political stagnation in Japan and possible reasons behind the political paralysis.
Research Fellow Imai offered an analysis of the “inward-looking” trend among young Japanese people. While enthusiasm for studying abroad appears to be diminishing in comparison to other countries, she posited that a closer examination of the figures suggests that this may not actually be the case.
A lively discussion among participants ensued, covering such issues as the future of the yen, the institutionalization of global security, and prospects for an economic recovery. The meeting led to a better understanding of Japan for advisory board members and was a valuable exchange of views between IR/PS and the Tokyo Foundation.