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Japan’s Changing Role in Asia: Opportunities and Challenges

February 8, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, launching an alliance that was key to stability, peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region. How has the U.S.-Japan alliance adapted to changes in the region, including the rise of Chinese influence, the populist backlash to internationalism in the U.S., and growing support in Japan for a more robust leadership role? Will Japan continue to play a more independent role in the region that we have seen during the Trump Administration? How will the history of Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia impact its ability to play more of a leadership role? How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact the geopolitics of Asia and America’s role there?


Please join us to hear two experts share their views on Japan’s evolving role in Asia and what that means for the U.S. Hiroyuki Akita, commentator of the Nikkei Shimbun and former Washington correspondent, is one of Japan’s top analysts on foreign policy and the US-Japan relationship. Professor Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, is one of America’s top experts on Japanese foreign policy.



Date & Time:

U.S.: February 8, 2021 @ 4:00 – 5:00 PM (U.S. Pacific Time)

Japan: February 9, 2021 @ 9:00 – 10:00 AM  (Japan Time)


Price: FREE!


4:00-4:05 — Opening Remark, Larry Greenwood | Chairman, Japan Society of Northern California & Peter Kelley | President, National Association of Japan-America Societies
4:05-4:15 Robert Madsen | Senior Economist, David Hale Global Economics, Inc.
4:15-4:25 Hiroyuki Akita | Commentator, Nikkei
4:25-4:35 Prof. Thomas Berger | Director, Center for the Study of Asia,  Professor of International Relations
4:35-4:55 Panel discussion, Moderator: Robert Madsen | Senior Economist, David Hale Global Economics, Inc.
4:55-5:15  Q&A, Larry Greenwood | Chairman, Japan Society of Northern California
5:15-5:30  Closing and Networking, Takahide Akiyama | President, Takahide Akiyama, Japan Society of Northern California


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Our Amazing Speakers


Hiroyuki AkitaHiroyuki Akita | Commentator, Nikkei

Hiroyuki Akita regularly writes commentaries and columns, providing analysis mainly on foreign and international security affairs. He joined Nikkei in 1987 and worked in the Political News Dept. from 1998-2002, where he covered Japanese security policies and domestic politics. He was the Senior & Editorial Staff Writer (2009-2017), and he also worked on the “Leader Writing Team” of the Financial Times in London (2017).

He was the Beijing Correspondent (1994-1998) and the Washington Chief Correspondent (2002-2006). In Beijing, he reported on major news events such as the death of Deng Xiaoping and the Hong Kong handover to China. In Washington DC, he covered the White House and Pentagon’s State Departments during the Bush administration.

In March 2019, he won the Vaughn-Ueda International Journalist Award, a prize for outstanding reporting of international affairs. He is the author of two books in Japanese: “Anryu (Power Game of US-China-Japan)“ (2008) and “Ranryu (Strategic Competition of US-Japan and China)“ (2016).


Thomas Berger PhotoProf. Thomas Berger | Director, Center for the Study of Asia (2018-21) Professor of International Relations

Thomas Berger is a professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. Berger joined Boston University in 2001 after having taught for seven years at the Johns Hopkins University.

He is the author of War, Guilt and World Politics After World War II, Cultures of Antimilitarism: National Security in Germany and Japan and is co-editor of Japan in International Politics: The Foreign Policies of an Adaptive State. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous edited volumes and journals, including International Security, Review of International Studies, German Politics, and World Affairs Quarterly.

Berger’s specializations include German and Japanese Politics, International Relations and Comparative Government in East Asia, and Political Culture.




Robert MadsenRobert Madsen | Senior Economist at David Hale Global Economics, Inc.

Robert Madsen is an expert on global politics, economics, and finance who advises investment groups, operational companies, and government agencies. He has presented on international and macroeconomic topics at over a dozen of Stanford Law School’s annual conferences for corporate directors as well as lecturing in several of that school’s courses on international business and Chinese law. Over the last few years he as also advised the Ford Foundation on ESG investing, corporate governance reform, and the need for a new and more resilient social contract in the rich economies.

Before joining the Hale group, he served for a decade on the Executive Council at Unison Capital, perhaps Japan’s most prominent private equity fund. For many years he also advised a “super-major” oil company on a range of international economic problems and worked for several hedge funds. Dr. Madsen was additionally a limited partner in, and advisor to, the Robert M. Bass Group in its Japanese investments; and Asia Strategist at Soros Private Funds Management during the tumultuous years when the Tech Bubble imploded and the 9/11 attacks occurred.

Robert has also worked extensively in analytical settings.  From 2004 to 2015 he was a Senior Fellow at MIT’s Center for International Studies, and before that he was a Fellow at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center.  For fifteen years he wrote the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Japan Country Reports and contributed to that company’s analysis of China, broader East Asia, and the world. Robert studied East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, then did a master’s degree and a doctorate in International Relations as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, followed by a law degree at Stanford. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese and is presently the US and PanAmerican champion in Masters Olympic Weightlifting.



Larry GreenwoodLarry Greenwood | Board Chair, Japan Society of Northern California & Senior Advisor, BowerGroupAsia

Larry Greenwood is a consultant advising on government relations and international economic policy, with expertise in trade, finance, development, and Asia. Larry was a career diplomat from 1976 to 2006 and served in a variety of positions in the State Department in Washington, D.C., and at U.S. embassies in Manila, Dakar, Tokyo, and Singapore. After retiring from the Foreign Service, he worked as vice president at the Asian Development Bank in Manila, Philippines, where he oversaw loan and grant operations in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island countries, and as Senior Managing Director for government relations in Asia for MetLife based in Tokyo. After moving to the Bay Area in 2015 he joined the BowerGroupAsia and served as President of the Japan Society of Northern California from 2016-2019.




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February 8, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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