US researchers visit Waseda to discuss energy and foreign policy

On October 15, Waseda University invited a group of young American researchers from the Congressional Research Servicethe National Economists Club and the Heritage Foundation, for a series of lectures and discussions on national security, economics and energy policy. The event was sponsored by the Kakehashi Project, a large-scale exchange program between Japan and the United States funded by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and supported by the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI). The program aims to promote understanding of Japanese foreign policy, government, and history, and to communicate the strengths and charms of Japan through the participants back to their home countries. In May this year, Waseda hosted a group of 50 students from New York’s Columbia University as part of the same project.

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Following a tour of campus, the group of young researchers attended a lecture and discussion with Professor Masahiko Gemma (Faculty of Social Sciences) on energy and environmental policy. Professor Gemma presented an overview of Japan’s geography, and government and regulatory systems, moving on to discuss his study of water conservation and recent trends in energy conservation and alternative energy resources. Discussion with the American researchers spanned a wide range of topics, including factors driving improvements in vehicle fuel economy, exported energy-conserving products, potential winners and losers of the recent TPP agreement, long-term energy planning, and more.

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The second lecture was from Associate Professor Shuhei Kurizaki (Faculty of Political Science and Economics) who presented an overview and history of Japan’s national security policies, and traced the government’s transition from the “Yoshida Doctrine” of early postwar Japan to the “Abe Doctrine” of today. Professor Kurizaki discussed with his audience the potential threats to Japan’s national security, the government’s stance towards said threats, and the potential economic effects of implementing more aggressive security policies.

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The final speaker was Hideki Yamaji, Senior Coordinator of the MOFA’s First North American Division. Yamaji dove deeper into the topics of foreign policy and national security, and explained a series of government policies for adapting to the present geopolitical climate. Yamaji’s audience listened enthusiastically and continued the discussion with many questions about public opinion, potential economic impacts and more.

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