Media gallery

National Conferences

International Symposium
Japan in the 21st Century

March 25 at 7 p.m.
March 26 at 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Younts Conference Center

Click here to view speaker biographies. To view the program for March 25th and 26th, click here.

Tuesday, March 25, 7:00 p.m.

“United States and Japan Relations”

Michael Armacost, U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1989-1993)

In an Asia awash in change, Japan and its partnership with the United States are of paramount importance, explained Dr. Michael Armacost in his address to attendees of Japan in the 21st Century. A former ambassador to Japan Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow and past president of the Brookings Institution, Armacost described Japan today as a vibrant democracy and praised the durability, flexibility and relevancy of the 1951 Washington Tokyo Alliance. However, he warned that the Japan-U.S. relationship is facing some unprecedented challenges. The largest of these is China, whose continuous growth in population, increased defense spending, development of a navy, and 9,000 miles of coastline and good ports, has become a force to reckon with. Another problem is the dark horse of North Korea and its missile material build-up. Armacost complimented Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s progressive policies and challenged the U.S. government to support Japan more actively, especially in ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will eventually attract more trade and influence for democracies in the region. Armacost was cautious but hopeful and urged the US to ‘tend the garden’ of U.S. and Japan relations.
Wednesday, March 26, 4:00 p.m.

“Challenges and Opportunities: Key Issues Confronting Japan”

Three internationally renowned scholars of Japan/Asia integration, Japanese economics, and comparative politics presented on three different yet complementary key issues confronting Japan in a panel moderated by Dr. Michael Armacost.

“Japan and Asian Integration” — Takashi Terada, Doshisha University

Takashi Terada opened the forum by presenting a graphic illustrating the very complex and overlapping economic partnerships in East Asia. Japan, at the center, is a member of all partnerships and is one of six democracies in the region. Terada explained that despite an acrimonious political relationship, China and Japan’s trade relationship is still ongoing. He stressed that the integration process toward a more cohesive Asian market needs to be flexible and time-forgiving, as most of the nations involved are developing countries. He concluded that the best political management mechanism will be through increasing mutual economic interdependence.

“Is Abenomics Working?” — Edward J. Lincoln, Columbia University I George Washington University

Edward J. Lincoln provided an historic look at Japan’s economy, which has underperformed for the past 20 years, and is facing other difficulties now, including deflation and an aging population. Mr. Shinzo Abe, who was elected Prime Minister in 2012, created a new economic plan for Japan called “Abenomics,” which targets three areas: expanding the money supply, creating fiscal stimulus to create more demand, and encouraging more deregulation and growth in new industries. Dr. Lincoln praised the Abe government’s concept and excellent public relations, its new aggressive stance in dealing with problems in the economy, and its new membership in TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). However, Dr. Lincoln expressed concern that the implementation of Abenomics has been weak and may not accomplish what it needs in order to make Japan a vibrant economy.

“Japan and China: Political Challenges and Economic Opportunities” — Kay Shimizu, Columbia University

Dr. Kay Shimizu addressed the question of how Japan’s political climate affects its international relations. Japan’s one-party dominance, the wide disparities of beliefs within the two parties, and conflict between politicians and long-standing bureaucrats has meant that decision-making is a murky process. Shimizu claimed that Japan is still in a state of transition even with regard to democracy, due to the dominance of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party). Shimizu expressed concern that the internal conflicts within Japan affect its policies toward China and Japan’s agricultural issues have been mired in the political process.
5:30 p.m.  Attendees enjoyed a reception and the chance to mingle with speakers and other guests

7:00 p.m. “Japan and the Future of Asia Pacific”

Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States (2012-present)

In a generous and friendly manner, Ambassador Sasae opened his remarks by praising Furman and  American universities, particularly Swarthmore. A veteran of foreign affairs in Japan and the U.S., Sasae was optimistic about Abenomics and the Japan-US partnerships in economics and security, while urging both countries to strongly support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Sasae’s demeanor became serious when he spoke about North Korea and the missile program, which is a threat to the region, along with the country’s instability and its contradictory signals to other nations in the region. On the other hand, Sasae saw the rise of China as a good development with its political modernization and abandonment of the power-bullying of the Communist regime. However, as China has gradually built up its navy, conducting naval exercises in the South China Sea, tensions have escalated between the nations, and concerns about China’s reluctance to come to the negotiating table are prevalent in Japan. Ambassador Sasae emphasized that Japan is committed to negotiation and not military action with China and expressed confidence that the US will be there to protect Japan if necessary. In conclusion, Sasae stressed how meaningful the relationship between the U.S. and Japan has been historically, and expressed his gratitude for the friendship and trust between the two nations.



This conference was presented by the Furman University Department of Asian Studies
and the Riley Institute at Furman with generous support from the Japan Foundation.


Kenichiro Sasae was appointed the ambassador of Japan to the United States in November 2012 after serving as the vice minister for foreign affairs of Japan in Tokyo (2010-2012).  In his prior posts in Tokyo, he served as director-general of the Economic Affairs Bureau (2002-2005), director-general of the Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau (2005-2008), deputy foreign minister and G8 political director (2008-2010) as well as chief Japanese negotiator to the Six-Party Talks.

Sasae’s initial foreign assignment was as first secretary, Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., in 1984. In 1993, he was posted in London as counsellor, Embassy of Japan, and while there he also held a position as research associate, International Institute for Strategic Studies. The following year in 1994, he became the special adviser to Mrs. Sadako Ogata, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees in Geneva for three years. In 2000, he was appointed executive assistant to the prime minister of Japan.

A graduate of Tokyo University, Sasae attended graduate school at Swarthmore College in 1975.


Michael Armacost is a Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. He is immediate past chair of the board of The Asia Foundation, past president of the Brookings Institution, and has served as a director on a number of boards of public corporations.

He began his professional life as an instructor of government at Pomona College in 1962. In 1969, he entered the State Department as a White House Fellow, and remained in public service for 24 years, receiving his first foreign diplomatic post as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo. He later held senior Asian affairs and international security posts in the State Department, the Defense Department, and the National Security Council. From 1982 to 1984, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Philippines (1982-1984) and was a key force in helping the country undergo a nonviolent transition to democracy. His next service was as undersecretary of state for political affairs (1984-1989) and then U.S. ambassador to Japan (1989-1993).

Armacost is author of three books including Friends or Rivals? and editor of The Future of America’s Alliances in Northeast Asia. He has received the President’s Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Defense Department’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the Japanese government’s Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

He received a B.A. from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in public law and government from Columbia University.


Edward J. Lincoln is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he teaches a course on the Japanese economy. In addition, he is a professorial lecturer at George Washington University, where he teaches a course on the East Asian economies. At Columbia, Professor Lincoln is also a research associate of the Center for the Japanese Economy and Business. From 2006 to 2011, he was director of the Center for Japan-U.S. Business and Economic Studies and professor of economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University.

Lincoln’s research interests include contemporary structure and change in the Japanese economy, East Asian economic integration, and U.S. economic policy toward Japan and East Asia. He is the author of nine books and monographs, including Winners Without Losers: Why Americans Should Care More About Global Economic Policy; East Asian Economic Regionalism; Arthritic Japan: The Slow Pace of Economic Reform; and Troubled Times: U.S.-Japan Economic Relations in the 1990s. An earlier book, Japan Facing Economic Maturity, received the Masayoshi Ohira Award for outstanding books on the Asia-Pacific region.

Earlier in his career, Lincoln was a senior fellow at both the Brookings Institution (1984-1993 and 1996-2001) and the Council on Foreign Relations (2002-2006). In the mid-1990s, he served as special economic advisor to Ambassador Walter Mondale at the American Embassy in Tokyo.

Lincoln received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, his M.A. in both economics and East Asian studies at Yale University, and his Ph.D. in economics also at Yale University.


Kay Shimizu is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. Her research focuses on comparative politics with a focus on the fiscal and financial politics of Japan and China. Her publications include “Political Change in Japan: Electoral Behavior,” “Party Realignment and the Koizumi Reforms” (coedited with Steven R. Reed and Kenneth Mori McElwain); “Syncretism: The Politics of Economic Restructuring and System Reform in Japan” (coedited with Kenji E. Kushida and Jean C. Oi), as well as articles in Socio-Economic Review, Journal of East Asian Studies, Current History, and Social Science Japan Journal. Currently, Shimizu is completing a book manuscript on Japan’s post-bubble political economy entitled “Private Money as Public Funds: The Politics of Economic Downturn.” Her second project, “The Politics of Urbanization and Demographic Shift,” examines how urbanization and demographic change have combined to create the dominant political cleavages in East Asia.

Shimizu received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Program on U.S. Japan Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She contributes regularly to the public discourse on international relations and the political economy of Asia and has been a fellow with the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation Network for the Future, the National Committee on U.S. China Relations Public Intellectuals Program, and the U.S.-Japan Foundation U.S.-Japan Leadership Program.


Takashi Terada is a professor of international relations, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. Before taking up his current position in April 2012, he was an assistant professor at National University of Singapore (1999-2006) and associate and full professor at Waseda University (2006-2011). He also has served as a visiting professor at University of Warwick, U.K. (2011 and 2012) and a Japan Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C. (2012).

His areas of specialty include international political economy in Asia and the Pacific and theoretical and empirical studies of regionalism and regional integration. His articles have been published by major international academic journals including The Pacific Review, Contemporary Politics, Australian Journal of International Affairs, International Negotiation, and Asia Pacific Economic Papers. He has been regularly consulted on national and international affairs by Japanese, Australian and Singapore governments.

Terada completed a major book project in 2013 by University of Tokyo Press in Japanese concerning power struggles over regional integration in the Asia- Pacific with a focus on role of the US, China and Japan. The recipient of the 2005 J.G. Crawford Award, Terada received his Ph.D. from Australian National University in 1999.