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Challenges, opportunities, and major milestones await Japan in 2019, notably the accession and enthronement of a new emperor in April. In addition, Japan will host the G20 Summit in Osaka, conduct a House of Councillors election, implement new National Defense Guidelines and a new foreign worker law, and start free trade negotiations with the Trump administration. Sheila A. Smith and Masahiro Kawai will join two panels of leading experts from academia, business, and the media to consider a broad range of political, economic, security, and societal issues likely to impact Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance in the year ahead.

This event is cosponsored by the Japan-America Society of Washington DC with support from the National Association of Japan-America Societies.


9:45 to 10:00 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

James L. Schoff, Abigail Friedman

10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Priorities for the U.S.-Japan Alliance in 2019

Sheila A. Smith

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Japan’s Domestic Political and Economic Prospects in 2019

Mikio Sugeno, Hiroki Takeuchi, Yuki Tatsumi, James L. Schoff

12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

International and Asia Trade Dynamics in 2019

Masahiro Kawai

2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Japan’s Foreign Policy, Asia, and the U.S.-Japan Relationship in 2019

Eric Altbach, Shihoko Goto, Toshihiro Nakayama, Matthew P. Goodman


Sheila A. Smith

Sheila A. Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her current research focuses on how geostrategic change in Asia is shaping Japan's strategic choices. 

Masahiro Kawai

Masahiro Kawai is representative director at the Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia and a professor in the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo. He previously served as deputy vice minister of finance for international affairs at Japan's Ministry of Finance.

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. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC.

Matthew P. Goodman

Matthew P. Goodman is senior vice president, senior adviser for Asian economics, and holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at CSIS. He previously served as White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the East Asia Summit. He is chairman of the board of trustees for the Japan-America Society of Washington DC.

Abigail Friedman

Abigail Friedman is founder and CEO of the Wisteria Group. Previously, she was a senior adviser at the Asia Foundation where she led strategic engagement with Japan and advised on conflict-affected regions in Asia. She is interim president of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC.

Mikio Sugeno

Mikio Sugeno is Washington bureau chief for Nikkei.

Hiroki Takeuchi

Hiroki Takeuchi is an associate professor of political science and director of the Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia in the Tower Center, at Southern Methodist University. Previously, he taught at UCLA and at Stanford University.

Yuki Tatsumi

Yuki Tatsumi is co-director of the East Asia Program and director of the Japan Program at the Stimson Center. Before joining Stimson, Tatsumi worked as a research associate at the CSIS and as the special assistant for political affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC.

Eric Altbach

Eric Altbach is a senior vice president at the Albright Stonebridge Group. He previously served as deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China Affairs, where he was responsible for Taiwan and China, with a particular focus on energy and environment issues.

Shihoko Goto

Shihoko Goto is the senior Northeast Asia associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program. She spent over ten years as a journalist writing about the international political economy with an emphasis on Asian markets as a correspondent for Dow Jones News Service and United Press International.

Toshihiro Nakayama

Toshihiro Nakayama is a Japan fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program and a professor in the faculty of policy management at Keio University in Japan. He specializes in& U.S. Politics and Foreign Policy, U.S.-Japan Relations, and International Relations.