In 2018 Japan continues to face both domestic and international issues of critical importance including a slow-growth economy, a debate over constitutional revision, North Korean threats, and strained relations with its neighbors. Meanwhile, the U.S.-Japan alliance remains solid as energy trade becomes an important new area of bilateral cooperation. Special guest Hiroyuki Tsurugi of Mitsui & Co. joined top experts from academia, government, media, and the nonprofit sector to consider a broad range of political, economic, security, and social issues likely to impact Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance in the year ahead.

This event was cosponsored by the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC with support from the Keizai Koho Center and the National Association of Japan-America Societies 


10:00 to 10:15 a.m.


James L. Schoff, Abigail Friedman

10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Japan's Domestic Political and Economic Prospects in 2018

Wataru Sawamura, Sheila A. Smith, James Zumwalt, Peter Kelley

12:00 to 12:45 p.m.

Networking Luncheon

12:45 to 2:00 p.m.

Energy's Role in U.S.-Japan Relations

Hiroyuki Tsurugi, Jane Nakano, Shinichi Hori, Jonathan Elkind, Matthew P. Goodman

2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Japan's Foreign Policy, Asia, and the U.S.-Japan Relationship in 2018

Julie Chung, Taisuke Mibae, Eric Sayers, James L. Schoff


James L. Schoff

James L. Schoff is a senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program. His research focuses on U.S.-Japan relations and regional engagement, Japanese politics and security, and the private sector’s role in Japanese policymaking.

Abigail Friedman

Abigail Friedman is founder and CEO of the Wisteria Group and a non-resident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Relations (CSIS). She is also treasurer of the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC.

Wataru Sawamura

Wataru Sawamura is the Washington bureau chief for the Asahi Shimbun.

Sheila A. Smith

Shiela A. Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

James P. Zumwalt

James P. Zumwalt is CEO of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA. He previously was the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau.

Peter Kelley

Peter Kelley is president of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. He previously served as director of the Harvard-Yenching institute.

Hiroyuki Tsurugi

Hiroyuki Tsurugi is an executive managing officer and the chief operating officer of Energy Business Unit I at Mitsui & Co.

Jane Nakano

Jane Nakano is a senior fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Shinichi Hori

Shinichi Hori is general manager of Mitsui & Co.'s Washington, D.C. office.

Jonathan Elkind

Jonathan Elkind is a fellow and senior adjunct research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University

Matthew P. Goodman

Matthew P. Goodman is senior adviser for Asian economics and holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at CSIS. He is also the chairman of the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC.

Julie Chung

Julie Chung is director of the Office of Japanese Affairs in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Taisuke Mibae

Taisuke (Tai) Mibae is a visiting senior fellow with the Asia Security Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. 

Eric Sayers

Eric Sayers is adjunct fellow in Asian security at CSIS. Previously, he was a consultant to U.S. Pacific Command where he served as special assistant to the commander.