David Steinberg of Georgetown University, Carnegie’s Jim Schoff, Japanese Minister for Economic Affairs Kanji Yamanouchi, Kazumi Nishikawa of JETRO Singapore, and the U.S. State Department’s Judith B. Cefkin outlined recent U.S. and Japanese foreign and trade policy vis-à-vis Myanmar as a way to better understand what strategies underlie these policies, how these policies are developed and implemented, and what level of information exchange or policy coordination currently exists.

David Steinberg

 David Steinberg is a specialist on Myanmar, the Korean Peninsula, Southeast Asia, and U.S. policy in Asia. He is distinguished professor of Asian studies at Georgetown University, and was director of Asian studies there for ten years. Previously, he was a representative of the Asia Foundation in Korea, Hong Kong, Burma, and Washington, distinguished professor of Korean studies at Georgetown University, and president of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs. Earlier, as a member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, he was director for technical assistance in Asia and the Middle East, and director of Philippines, Thailand, and Burma Affairs. He spent three years in Thailand with the USAID Regional Development Office.

James L. Schoff

James L. Schoff is a senior associate in the Carnegie Asia Program. His research focuses on U.S.-Japanese relations and regional engagement, Japanese politics and security, and the private sector’s role in Japanese policymaking. He previously served as senior adviser for East Asia policy at the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense and as director of Asia Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA).

Judith Cefkin

Judith Cefkin is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, with the rank of minister counselor. Prior to assuming her duties as senior Burma adviser, she served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Bangkok (2010–2013). Cefkin had served there previously as the ambassador’s staff assistant and as a political officer (1990–1993). Since entering the Foreign Service in 1983, Cefkin has also had overseas postings as vice consul in Mexico City, head of the political internal unit at the U.S. embassy in Paris, and political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Manila. She also served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo.

Kazumi Nishikawa

Kazumi Nishikawa is special adviser to the minister at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and executive director at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Singapore. Previously, he served in METI as director for policy planning (growth strategy) at the Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau (2012–2013), principal deputy director of the policy planning and coordination division in the Minister’s secretariat (2009–2012), principal deputy director of the small and medium size enterprises finance division (2008–2009), and deputy director of the Multilateral Trade System Department (2006–2008).

Kanji Yamanouchi

Kanji Yamanouchi is an accomplished diplomat who has had the honor of working with world leaders ranging from Aung San Suu Kyi to President Barack Obama.  As Japanese minister of economic affairs, Yamanouchi utilizes his years of experience to craft a new story for U.S.-Japan relations. Before moving to Washington, he served as deputy director general for the Asian Affairs Bureau, where he focused on regional issues with close neighbors.  He was a key instrument in negotiating with China on maritime issues and spearheaded the first Japan-China High Level Consultation on Maritime Issues. He also participated in high-level meetings with presidents from around the world and had the opportunity to enter countries previously closed to diplomats, such as North Korea, on the prime minister’s advance team as executive assistant on diplomatic affairs for Japanese Prime Ministers Hatoyama and Kan.