Letter from the Director
August 20, 2021
I hope you have had a pleasant summer even as we continue to face difficult times with the ongoing pandemic. At Harvard, we are excited to greet a new academic year with the return of students to campus and in-person learning. I am writing to offer a brief preview of the year ahead for the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and invite you to join us to share ideas and learn from each other.
We have seen in the past year that remote events can provide a meaningful format for intellectual exchange with more accessibility for a broad audience. Given continued concerns about the spread of Covid-19 and following university guidelines, we will hold our weekly seminar series online this fall on Mondays during 12:00-1:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, with occasional seminars held during 8:00-9:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time to adjust for speakers based in Japan and Asia. Our exciting lineup of speakers will kick off with T.J. Pempel (University of California, Berkeley) presenting his new book on Asia-Pacific regionalism on September 13, with commentary from HBS professor Meg Rithmire. We also feature two talks on digital governance with Ulrike Schaede (University of California, San Diego), speaking on digital transformation and Japanese business, and Miho Matsubara (NTT) focusing on cyber-security cooperation in the U.S.-Japan alliance. We will learn about Japan’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic from one of the leading experts in Japan, Kenji Shibuya (University of Tokyo). Izumi Nakamitsu (UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs) will lead a discussion of strategies for security cooperation. Celeste Arrington (George Washington University) will share with us her latest research on activism and legalistic policy solutions in Japan and Korea. After the upcoming House of Representatives election, Dan Smith (Columbia University) will join a panel to discuss its results and consequences. And that is only the first two months! We have much more ahead on the calendar.
This year we launch a new project, “Policy Innovations in Crises: New Pathways for Japan-U.S. Cooperation,” with generous support from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP). The project includes a teaching component along with research collaboration. Another project focused on digital governance will sponsor a series of seminars, workshops, and conferences. In a joint endeavor with several partner universities, the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) will enter its second year promoting discussion among political scientists dedicated to the study of Japan. We are grateful to the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies for generous support and look forward to another year working together to expand activities about Japan at Harvard.
During the 2021-22 academic year, we will host 21 affiliates—3 Postdoctoral Fellows, 6 Academic Associates, and 12 professional Associates. It is an impressive group of individuals with a diverse array of expertise to share about Japanese economy, history, politics, society, and foreign affairs. We value the contributions of our Faculty Associates, and continue to expand our faculty outreach at Harvard and beyond. As we return to campus, we will explore new ways to enhance support for graduate and undergraduate students on research, teaching, and summer internships. The Program staff look forward to creating a collaborative environment in which Program affiliates, faculty, and students can do their best work. We also encourage you to use the Program’s Alumni Directory, searchable by name, year, and institution, as well as read about the exciting new research by current and former affiliates on our publications webpage.
For updates, please check our website, Twitter, and Facebook. Please subscribe to our SoundCloud and YouTube to listen to and view our past seminars. I welcome your ideas on how we can serve our global community, and encourage you to write to me and the Program staff. We want to hear from you about your activities and hope to see you at our events.
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.