Program on U.S.-Japan Relations


Letter from the Director

August 31, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all well despite the challenges of these difficult times. As the Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA) at Harvard University, I am excited to launch the new academic year with you. We continue our celebration of the Program’s 40th anniversary year. Our successful summer event on July 30th featured a panel of our program alumni for an engaging debate on the direction of U.S.-Japan relations. On October 14th, we will have a second alumni event featuring Keizo Takemi, Member, House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan, and Professors Margarita Estevez Abe and Michael Reich, on Japan’s response to Covid-19.  Taking advantage of remote programming allows us to bridge our communities in the U.S. and Japan and we look forward to enhancing our ties and intellectual exchange.

As the new semester gets underway, I would like to update you on our program activities. We are holding our seminar series online with a new date and time on Mondays, to be held in webinar format, 12-1 pm U.S. Eastern Time. Speakers through early November include Glen Fukushima (Center for American Progress), Keiko Honda (Columbia University), Allison Alexey (University of Michigan), and Michael Green (Georgetown University and CSIS). We will be welcoming 17 affiliates—3 Postdoctoral Fellows, 2 Academic Associates, and 12 professional Associates. It is an impressive group of individuals with a diverse array of expertise to share about Japanese politics, society, and foreign affairs. We now have over 50 Faculty Associates, and continue to expand our faculty outreach at Harvard and beyond. We also look forward to enhancing support for graduate and undergraduate students on research, teaching, and summer internships. Program staff worked hard throughout the summer to make the new academic year safe, productive, and fun. We have created a new searchable database of Program alumni, and are launching a new podcast series which will feature current and former affiliates. Finally, we are collaborating on the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS), a new initiative to promote collaboration among political scientists dedicated to the study of Japan.

For updates, please check our website, Twitter, and Facebook. I welcome your ideas on how we can serve our global community, and encourage you to write to me and the Program staff. I wish you a wonderful start to your fall semester, and look forward to working with you.


Christina L. Davis
Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor of Government; and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

About the Program


The Program was founded in 1980 based on the belief that the United States and Japan have become so interdependent that the problems they face require cooperation. Co-sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Program enables scholars and outstanding professionals from government, business, finance, journalism, NGOs, and other fields to come together at Harvard. Over the academic year, they conduct independent research and participate in an ongoing dialogue with Harvard faculty and students, and with others from the greater Cambridge-Boston community. The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program enables several outstanding postdoctoral fellows from such fields as anthropology, economics, history, political science, and sociology, to join the Program each year.

The Program's intellectual mandate includes a wide range of issues and problems in U.S.-Japan relations; contemporary Japanese culture, economy, politics, and society as viewed from a comparative perspective; common problems of advanced industrial democracies; international relations of Asia and Asian regionalism; the globalization of Japanese popular culture; the rise of civil society in Asia; and global governance of issues such as energy, environment, and public health.

To insure a broad scope in its endeavors, many of the Program's seminars are co-sponsored with other centers, departments, and schools at Harvard. The Program advances the educational mission of the University in a variety of ways, including the fostering of “research pairs” between the Program's Associates and Harvard's graduate students and working with the Reischauer Institute to provide opportunities for Harvard undergraduates to hold summer internships in Japan.