tv Japan Expert Sheila Smith on U.S.- Japan Relations CSPAN January 28, 2019 5:07pm-6:17pm EST
drones, self-driving cars, individual oriented medical treatments, certainly biotech in a way we've never experienced before, block chain technology. all these are coming so how do you succeed as a ninja, as someone who's flexible knowing that part of the future is not clear but part of it is totally clear. how do you benefit from that whether you're a government, a business or an individual. >> join us tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. tomorrow morning here on c-span3, cia director gina haspel, national intelligence director dan coats, and fbi director christopher wray will testify before the senate intelligence committee on threats to the united states. that starts at 9:30 a.m. eastern live here on c-span3. the carnegie endowment for international peace and the
japan american society of washington co-hosted a discussion on u.s.-japan relations and the future of the alliance between the two countries. good morning. welcome to the carnegie endowment for international peace. i'm jim shoep, a senior fellow of the asia program and i run the japan program and it's my pleasure to welcome you out of the cold and into a warm place for what is our annual collaboration with the japan america society of washington d.c. this is japan this year. japan in 2019. this is the sixth time that
we've co-hosted this event with jsaw. i always look forward to this event because it kind of forces me to really get back in touch and on top of what's going on in japan, what are the various prospects across economics, politics, foreign policy, get a chance to work with some really good quality journalists and scholars from around the country. this is of course a particularly interesting year in the sense that this is the end of the haysay era in japan in 2019 so that gives us a little historical angle so to speak. so as always, carnegie is hosting today but this is really very much a japan america society of washington d.c. event. they did most of the hard work pulling together our keynote speakers and panelists, just one of the many contributions that this society makes to the
washington community and the bilateral relationship. for this i'd like to thank the executive director of japan america society, mark hitsig, interim president abigail freedman who is be speaking later on today, board chair matt goodman who i'll introduce in just a moment for their leadership and to the staff on both organizations for taking care of the details. today's program is also supported by the national association of japan america societies so i want to say thank you to peter kelly on that front as well. so i'll have a chance to talk a little bit later. i'll be moderating the domestic panel, but first i wanted to get a chance to welcome you all. as a quick outline of today, we're going to -- we're honored to be joined by dr. sheila smith of the council on foreign relations who will help kind of frame the discussion today. we're very fortunate that she was able to join us.
mark napper, the japan director at the state department, was originally scheduled to speak but the government shutdown has continued to inhibit the state department's ability to do their work, so we're very grateful for sheila's participation today. then we'll have the domestic panel and we'll take a short break and grab sandwiches before lunch keynote speech on trade dynamics in asia for 2019. it's great to welcome you back. then we'll wrap up with our foreign policy u.s.-japan relations panel in the afternoon. and that session will be moderated by matt goodman and it's my pleasure to introduce matt, the senior vice president and william e. simon chair in political economy at csis and chairman of the board of the japan american society washington d.c., and matt, i
turn it over to you to say a few words of welcome. [ applause ] >> you thank you, jim. it's a real pleasure to be here. thank you to you and your colleagues at the carnegie endowment for once again hosting this annual policy event that we do to kick off the year at the japan america society of washington d.c. on behalf of the board of trustees and the staff of the society we're delighted to welcome you here today in this cold weather. thank you for coming out. this is an important event for us. we are an educational and cultural organization that promotes understanding of japan and u.s.-japan relations in the greater washington d.c. area, but we think that because of the business model of washington d.c., at least the traditional business model, right now we're not doing our traditional business of government but government and public policy is an important part of what we do and so we find it important to do this kind of event and particularly this event at the beginning of the year to look
ahead. it's meant to be, you know, the nature of all forecasting, a little imprecise but also to give some things to watch out for and we hope we'll have a little fun as we go along the way here because this isn't meant to be too serious on a cold january day. but we have some terrific people lined up to talk and again, i thank both carnegie endowment for hosting and the national association of japan america societies and peter kelly for their support again this year. we really couldn't do this without them. so thank you so much. so i have an easy task today. i'm not abigail freedman by the way who she and i are doing a little swap. she's going to be here later in the day, but she allowed me to have this honor of introducing my friend and former trustee of the japan america society, sheila smith. we're delighted to have her. i think sheila is very well known to this audience as a leading scholar on japan, particularly on political
affairs and the u.s.-japan alliance but she's sort of been branching out and i think she's been doing more work. she had a great wobook a few yes ago but then followed that pretty quickly with a book on intimate rivals, japan's domestic politics and a rising china. so she's been looking at that relationship as well. most recently, it's not out yet but i think this may be the first public announcement here, maybe not, of a forthcoming book in april called "japan rearmed, the politics of military power" i think i got that right. it's forthcoming in april from sheila so look out for that. she's a senior fellow at the council on foreign relations between here and new york and she's a widely read commentator on all of the above and i think you all know her well. so i don't need to spend anymore time introducing her. you should hear from her. sheila, please come on up. [ applause ]
>> thank you all very much, and thank you, matt, abigail, jim, everybody, peter kelly as well. i'm delighted to be here. i'm no mark napper. i understand your disappointment at not having the official representative of our relationship with japan, but as you know, we are on the 22nd day of our government shutdown and hopefully we will not be able to see this unfold much longer. but anyway, let me fill in as best i can. i will not give you again an official view but just my vantage point from sitting here in washington and watching the relationship up close. it's a very difficult time to predict the future, especially here from this side of the pacific. i do, with a colleague, i write three quarterly reports on the u.s.-japan relationship put out by pacific forum. when i was asked to come, i went back and looked at the year behind us, 2018, and even i had to stop and pause at the
transformations that went along over the course of 2018 and so i'm a little more hesitant than usual to make prescriptions about what's ahead of us in 2019. but let me just sort of remind you, at the beginning of 2018, where we were. there are some very critical issues that i think are going to continue to define this relationship in 2019, and i think they were there in 2018. they will continue to be with us for this next year. but in january of 2018 we were still aligned very closely with tokyo on maximum pressure against north korea. remember we had not yet moved to a moment of diplomacy between president trump and the leader of dprk, kim jong-un. we were still, at that point in time, also divided over how to think about best negotiating the future of our economic relationship. in japan there wasn't a lot of confidence that a bilateral trade agreement would fix the deficit problem which is the way
the trump administration defined the trade relationship with japan. instead i think the japanese embraced a more multi-lateral approach not only in asia but as you saw unfold in 2018 also beyond asia to embrace the japan-european trade relationship. and i think we were not really sure yet in the beginning of last year whether or not the trump administration and the abe cabinet would embrace the same vision of their future in asia. remember, it was still early on in the american thinking or the trump administration's thinking about the endo pacific. that changed over the course of 2018 and we got a little bit more aligned. the beginning of this year though we have now an abrupt shift to diplomacy. there's been an as yet somewhat mysterious outcome to the summit between president trump and kim jong-un. i think we all know however we had a north korean visitor to washington last week so i think we all pretty much feel that we're on the threshold of a
second trump-kim summit potentially. i think there's been a sharp decline in some ways in the relationship between tokyo and seoul of late that also complicates our trilateral coordination of how to deal with the north korean problem. so 2018 didn't necessarily leave the u.s. and japan firmly on the same footing with seoul, and i think there's some ambivalence and ambiguity about what's ahead in 2019 for how we manage the north korea challenge. again, as i said, we were -- we have shifted on the trade relationship as well. in september last year prime minister abe and president trump met in new york for the u.n. general assembly and announced that indeed the u.s. and japan would begin a bilateral discussion on a trade agreement. that is ahead of us in 2019. and i'm sure that we'll have a lot of conversation about that here, but what i want to point out is, although the framing of that bilateral trade agreement
is yet ahead of us, what is also very obvious is that japan has moved very forcefully in the direction of embracing multi-lateralism. you have now the conclusion of what we once called tpp 11. we now refer to it as the cptpp. lots of initials. but we also have the japan-european trade pact which is a very substantial statement of not only japanese but european desire to continue to embrace multi-lateralism when it comes to global trade. we've had the trump administration shift gears in this year however to section 232 in position of tariffs. a new punitive approach, some would say protectionist approach to the way in which our government manages our trade relationships not just with japan but with everyone. for me and others here, we're more prepared to speak about the details of this but i feel the jury is still out yet on how these tariffs will effectively enhance american trading relationships or threaten our
global economic performance. so 2019 is a big year for trade, not just in the u.s.-japan partnership but across the board in terms of american trading partnerships and in the architecture of trade globally. the other place where i think it's wise to look back as we try to look forward is the major power relations in asia have been pretty dynamic. 2018 was a year of major power summitry in asia. if you leave out the united states for a second and look at the summitry around asia, it has been a fairly fruitful year. it's a busy year at least. some may not think that we've come to a lot of conclusions about what major power relations in asia look like in the year ahead but we've certainly had a lot of people trying to shape them and i think that's an important piece of puzzle. our relationship with both russia and china as you know has been defined in our national defense strategy, our national
security strategy. we now see russia and china as revisionist powers and therefore the strategic competition with both is the framing of those relations going forward. trade conflict with beijing has heated up obviously so it not only has a strategic dimension but obviously an economic dimension. when you read the press in beijing, it sounds to me like many people in china think they are two sides of the same coin, in other words, strategic competition is both military and economic. i'm not sure that that's correct but i'm looking forward to hearing others' comments about that later this morning. i think japan's relations in the region are on a slightly different trajectory. i don't think mr. abe is embracing beijing but you'll notice that in his visit to beijing last fall he's come to some understanding with xi jinping on how to manage the future of their relationship. there was a restatement of the need to reduce disc. there was a reconfirmation of
the need for confidence building in the form of hotlines and crises communication mechanisms. there was again a continued interest on the sides of both parties to make sure that their economic relationship was steady and stable, and then finally and i think importantly, both xi and abe, although there was no joint statement, there was clearly an emphasis on cooperation across the asia-pacific. here i think the abe cabinet has done a very good job of bringing forward the common interests that japan and china have on the economic development, in particular, the infrastructure needs of the region, in trying to figure out ways in which perhaps the two countries can find common cause. for now, there are limited projects i think that that summit has begun, but i do think there's a little bit more of an emphasis that japan and china have to live in the same region, they have similar interests in its long-term economic
development. xi jinping continues to focus on the belton road initiative. mr. abe continues to emphasize a free and inclusive endo pacific. there is a quiet attempt to find a way to find common cause looking outward in the future. another major power relationship that we're paying attention to, especially this morning, is the japan-russia relationship. mr. abe is in moscow. this is a place i think we have not paid as much attention to in washington as perhaps we should have, but there is an opening here that mr. abe would like to create with president putin. he has openly said that he's willing to consider a two-island solution. that's a fairly vague terminology about what that actually means, but i think the prime minister is looking to find an opening with mr. putin that might finally bring the two countries to a peace treaty.
there are special 'em satisfactories and this is part of the activity that i think we'll see whether or not mr. putin is really engaged in making that relationship a little bit more predictable than it's been in the past. we all know that the endo pacific partnership between tokyo and new delhi has strengthen strengthened. it continues to be a good partnership. i think of all the countries of the asia-pacific or the endo pacific concept itself has most overlap it's really between india and japan. you hear the prime ministers speak in terms of connectivity. you hear them talk about a vision that doesn't stop at india but in fact extends all the way over to the east coast of africa. they focus very much on the merit time dimension and their military cooperation deepens every year and 2018 was no exception. i think it's also worth noting we just had a national defense
program guideline announcement in tokyo. here i would say that i think that tokyo is doubling down on its investment in hard power. i wouldn't see or read mr. abe's diplomacy as simply diplomacy and a desire for cooperation but as part of the larger strategic shift that japan has been making now for some years, but it is not unrelated to the u.s.-japan relationship, nor to japan's own awareness and willingness to defend itself should its interests be threatened. so let's come here to washington. i've been asked to be light and airy and funny but it's kind of hard to be that these days in d.c. not only is it cold outside but, yeah, we're in a little bit of a moment where it's hard to be optimistic. so i think the president's unpredictability is well known to this audience so i won't belabor the point but when it comes to foreign policy making i think his abrupt announcement on
syria really took a lot of people by surprise, not necessarily because of the policy announcement but the way in which it was done without interagency coordination, without his principals in his cabinet being on board. so you see a president who is increasingly willing to make decisions in isolation from his advisers and that's worrisome. you know also that we have lost secretary jim mattis from the foreign policy team. again, no matter i think which country you come from, including from the united states, i think that's probably seen as a loss to our foreign policy and defense policy. our federal government has literally stopped functioning and i'm hoping that not only for mark napper's sake but for others that that will come to a quick end soon. so we know the much anticipated midterms brought this very slowly unfolding but nonetheless blue wave to the house. we still have a republican senate. so we have a divided congress. we will have new balance of power that will put more pressure on the white house as
it moves forward. there's going to be a lot of hearings, we know, not only on the president and his business dealings and his behavior since he came into office but also on our foreign policy. we should not expect that there will not be congressional scrutiny of north korea for example or any other decision that we are making in the foreign policy realm. it is going to be a serious challenge i think because congress is now much more interested in exerting oversight of the white house and the president's policies. we do and i won't belabor this point, of course we still have an investigation by special counsel mueller which i suspect will be forthcoming soon. it's another element of unpredictability. i do think that while we look at the syria decision as perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back for secretary mattis, i for one took a deep breath when i read his resignation letter, largely because it was less about syria and more about our international partnerships and
our alliances at large. and that's a warn bell for me when somebody as serious as jim mattis decides to publicly make the statement that he made in his resignation letter. so right now we see nato in the headlines and perhaps this conversation inside the white house about withdrawing from nato, but i think for all of us who think about the u.s.-japan relationship and our alliances in asia, we should be paying very close attention to the ideas that are coming out of the administration in the months head. so let's see, where are we for 2019? trade talks, right? abe and trump still use a different language. again, i'm going to leave it to our trade experts and economic experts later in the morning to talk to you about the specifics, but the minister continues to refer to a trade agreement of goods. i have never heard an american official use that language. i think we're not still on the same page. nonetheless, i think we are going to see some kind of
compromise between the two governments. how fractious that is going to be remains to be seen. internally i think in domestic politics there's a lot to keep both more abe and mr. trump busy. i've already talked a little bit about the president. but there is also this question of mr. abe. this is a full year for japan, as jim alluded to, we have an abedi occasion. we have a transfer of power. we have golden week. and we won't have as many visitors come through washington i think as a result. but it is a momentous time in japan as you see the shift in imperial leadership but also in terms of the way the japanese themselves think about their future. i don't know whether abe's
russia diplomacy will produce a peace treaty in 2019 between russia and japan, but i do believe it is something the prime minister feels is a legacy issue and so i think we should expect to pay attention to the headlines as they move forward. i have always thought in that relationship that much depends on mr. putin and his sincerity or his strategic thinking about the relationship between his country and japan, but i wouldn't put it past him to use this relationship a little bit to his advantage given the difficulties that he has created in his relationship with washington. so again, the future of the abe initiative with russia remains to be seen, but it is certainly something for the u.s. and japan to be very closely coordinating on and discussing. some people in tokyo think that this is the legacy project that will replace constitutional revision which is something we talked about last year. maybe. that might be the case. we have an upper house selection
in japan this summer, so for a lot of us who have been watching the constitutional debate, we feel -- i feel that the window is closing somewhat on mr. abe's opportunity. i'm not sure if he's given up on that opportunity but at least that is also something to pay attention to at home. and then there's international meetings in japan. there's a consumption tax. there's all kinds of things to keep the abe cabinet focused at home even as mr. abe continues to try to manage major power relations in asia. so let me conclude with a few thoughts. some of them are -- i've alluded to already. i think the u.s.-japan relationship still is the strongest, and i say that not lightly or not because i support it but i think still if you look at the overlay of america's relations with other allies, i do believe the u.s.-japan alliance is on a firmer footing than many others. i think the abe-trump relationship continues to be the fulcrum for stabilizing and managing this partnership despite all of the kinds of
hurdles and bumps that i have noted. i still think that the prime minister and the president continue to reach out to each other and see each other as colleagues in attempting to deal with some of these political challenges. i think that a lot of the same issues are going to be in the headlines in 2019. we could of course have a surprise, but the north korea and the second summit, if it happens, will be just one more opportunity to make sure that tokyo and washington are aligned on the military balance in northeast asia and of course the priority for tokyo will be to ensure that extended deterrence remains firm, visible and effective and i think our defense officials will have a little bit of work cut out for them on that. again, jim mattis led that reassurance strategy when he was the secretary of defense. it will be up to his successors to continue that as we go forward. not sure what compromises the u.s. might make in a trump-kim second summit.
not sure either what the private conversations we've been hearing about, how much of those will become public. i do think the second summit either has to prove that kim jong-un is willing and ready and intent on changing his behavior or we will perhaps head back in a very different and less comforting direction. u.s. trade talks, i think there's whispers of a cusp of a deal with china. it's important for the u.s. and japan to remember that trade is not just about our bilateral. i'm not sure where we are on that. there's others in the room who can speak to that more effectively than i. but there's common ground between japan and the united states on questions like cfius enforcement, ipr protections, even though the united states seems a little bit forward leaning on that. i don't think tokyo is all that far behind. so on the larger structural question of how china and japan,
china and the united states, china and the global economy are to work, i still think that tokyo and washington have more in common than they do differences. the u.s.-mexico-canada agreement is going to be on the hill. i don't think anybody here anticipates a lot of problems but i have an inkling and my trade experts here could probably assuage you of that worry that this nonmarket economy clause that is inserted into our deal with mexico and canada could become a precedent for other relationships and that of course would cause challenges in tokyo. i'm not sure on the u.s. trade talks. will we continue to see this disdense in terms of objectives. all this remains to be seen. trade is going to continue to be on the top of our agenda this year. asia's major power dynamics, i think, again, i've already alluded to this but i think japan and the united states are pretty much on the same page on
china. i heard so many of my japanese colleagues commend the speech by vice president pence saying finally the united states is getting tough on china. but of course there are many others around the region who didn't welcome the pence speech so warmly. so again, we have to be careful of high expectations and continue to try to coordinate that relationship as best we can. again, you probably understand this already from my earlier remarks but i think we need to be very careful about russia. the perception of differences, the perception of we are coming into slightly different senses of strategic challenge from moscow, that perception in and of itself could be problematic, especially on the hill. so we may have a little bit of reassurance strategy and i hope that prime minister abe continues to brief our government closely on his expectations for that future. and i think on the ind doe pacific strategy, although i
welcomed vice president pence's speech this year, i think the u.s. needs to bring more resources to the table if we're going to firmly embrace the position as articulated by mr. abe and modie with australia if we're going to revitalize the quad. i think we need to bring some more attention and resources to that strategy. our colleagues like mark napper in the state department are going to have a busy year. let's hope they get back to work and that their families get their paychecks and so with that let me finish here. thank you very much. [ applause ] well, i'm -- that's just terrific, sheila, you were able to stand up, stand in and
provide so much meat for us to chew over. actually when i talked to mark napper last week, when unfortunately told us he was constrained and wouldn't be able to speak today, he did offer to present his views on the u.s.-japan alliance in interpretive dance because he's apparently not constrained from doing that. but in the end i'm actually glad that we made the decision to bring sheila in here rather than to witness that. but -- so we're going to give the audience a chance to ask sheila some questions. please start thinking about what you want to ask her. i'm going to take the liberty of asking two questions to kick things off, one about domestic politics and one more international. so domestically, looking as a non-expert as japanese politics from the outside, it looks like on one level japan is a very stable place politically. it's had the same guy in charge for five or six years.
he's going to be in place for another couple of years. doesn't seem like there's any real challenge to his position with or without the party and it seems as though things could go along here for some time. on the other hand, it sounds like he can't get some of the things done that he was hoping to get done. he faces a whole bunch of -- a couple of local elections and the upper house election later this year. there are questions about whether he can sustain his position through the period that he's in theory able to continue. so i just wonder, should we see japanese politics as stable or not stable and what's going on internally? >> okay. thank you. i would actually like to see -- have seen mark napper's interpretive dance. so i'm a little disappointed. we'll get him another time. so are japan's politics stable? obviously in comparison to ours at the moment they look nice and
predictable but of course like every parliamentary system, elections come along and those can completely disrupt in and of themselves. so there's whispers like there are at the beginning of every year where you have an upper house election. there are whispers about a general election, will the prime minister try one more time to get a japanese vote or mandate for the things that are difficult. clearly he can't walk away from the consumption tax issue. it's legislated, it's done. he's thrown down the political gam bet for that. upper house elections are typically where the electoral may support but they certainly register their disapproval over time. so sometimes failure in the upper house elections lead prime ministers, even strong prime ministers, to resign. i'm not saying mr. abe is going to do that. i'm just saying we're not without precedent where stronger
prime ministers at an upper house defeat or setback have taken the blow basically. i think mr. abe is unlikely to do that for a number of reasons. one, you've got the tokyo olympics next year. we talked about 2019 but you can see just over the horizon to 2020 and this is really something that the prime minister feels strongly about. i think also we saw in the ldp leadership election that while they did the right thing and stood up when nobody else really wanted to take on mr. abe, there is an internal ldp conversation now about what a post-abe ldp will look like, who's coming. i'm not sure they're ready for that. i'm not sure there will be party pressure even should the upper house election go badly for the ldp. i'm not sure that the internal dynamics are yet ready to try to test the waters on a post-abe. i think we'll see. there's others in the room, particularly our reporters and other political scientists who are probably better than i at figuring out whether or not a
general election is likely. i tend to think not because it doesn't really redowned to mr. abe's favor honestly but still the upper house could be a little shaky. i think japan at the moment is probably not well poised for a transition that's messy. i think there's a lot of risk aversion. i think we saw that actually in the ldp presidential election that inside the party there may be some grumbling and differences on specific issues such as economic policy or the constitution. i think steady as we go is probably the motto. so that's my general read on the politics ahead. parliamentary systems are not always stable as we see in london at the moment. but i can't imagine the japanese politicians aren't watching theresa may's difficulties with some care and some caution, whether it's for a referendum or whether it's just simply shaking things up a little bit. this is not a good time for
parliamentary. >> okay. terrific. and we will discuss this more on the panel later this morning and others may have questions about that. but let me ask the international question which is, so abe has been different in that he's been quite a prominent figure on the international scene. he's done some pretty dramatic things in terms of -- that people didn't expect of taking forward tpp when it was failing and taking some new diplomatic initiatives towards china and russia as you mentioned, generally cutting a bigger figure on the international stage. i guess the question is whether that new posture for japan and international affairs is going to survive abe and whether this is something unique to him or whether there's something structural that puts japan in a position to be a much more engaged and forceful player,
particularly in the pacific region but beyond as well. then i guess i'd also maybe just throw a googly in there and ask about whether this will survive trump, that is to say how much of this is because of the concerns about the u.s. posture in the region and the world being different and are sort of withdrawing from the scene on some level, i mean specifically things like tpp but there are probably other examples as well, and whether some of this was just a necessary in a way hedge or a response to that action. and so to what extent is this a permanent thing? that's a question that goes beyond 2019, at least i assume it does. >> those are -- there's two questions embedded there but i think they're both great questions. i think -- there's two things i'm impressed with when i watch prime minister abe. first of all, he is one of the
longest serving leaders among the liberal democracies so he has a lot of experience. you can see that in the early months of the trump administration or in fact throughout 2017 when he kind of took on this advisory role for the president where he was going to the g20 and other things. so i think mr. abe is very comfortable on the global stage, and in him, although you can critique certain policy positions if you would like but in him they have a very globally literal and globally respected leader. i thought it was very interesting that he wrote the op-ed for brexit, for example. japan has stakes in not only asia-pacific but across the board in supporting what we now refer to cryptically as the liberal order. but i think japan's leadership is well served by mr. abe specifically but i also think you're right that the trump moment has created a bigger opportunity perhaps in japan, not just mr. abe, but japan
might have had otherwise. japan has always had and carried these positions, but for example, the japan-european trade pact, both sides were dilly-dallying on that for some time because it was painful politically. but the trump moment opened up that opportunity in a way for both sides that i think may not have come easily had it not been for american transgressions on trade. let's put it that way. the next prime minister i think now -- and i could be wrong on this but my gut level tells me today that the next prime minister is going to have to be somebody who can walk and talk on the global stage effectively. i think the days or the expectations when you can elect any prime minister and it's okay in japan are probably gone, and i don't say that out of criticism. you had some who didn't look like they were necessarily great statesmen but who had then became great statesmen. but i think the expectation now of the prime minister leadership in japan is going to have this
added component to it. they don't have to be abe 2.0 but they certainly need to be able to articulate and advocate for japan on the global stage as well as asia more broadly and i think that's a new place for the domestic discussion or at least the internal ldp discussion. you hear names of people who actually do have that -- have had that foreign minister's portfolio and that strength bubbling up in ways that perhaps wouldn't have happened in an earlier time, right? i don't know who it's going to be. i don't have that kind of crystal ball, but i do think the expectation is how is this person going to fair with trump or with this different america or how are they going to fair with xi jinping. how are they going to fair globally. i think that matters now more. on the second question, how much is this all about trump, i think some of it is. i think it's hard for me to make
ance assessment on the trade si. i was surprised, maybe more surprised than i should have been in 2016 by the extent to which the anti-trade voice in both the republican and the democratic parties seemed to sway our leadership election. so again, the democratic national committee, you had the no tpp signs. looked like the agricultural cooperatives in japan. i was like, where did that come from? but it's both sides of the political spectrum now are deeply questioning, right, our global economic role and our trade agreements specifically. so that was new. that's not necessarily all about trump in my mind but it is something i think for our japanese colleagues to take seriously inside the united states. i'm not sure how this is going to rectify itself for 2020 or if it is going to rectify itself. so the united states on the economic side is going to be slightly different than we've experienced it before, and i think that's going to stay with us way beyond 2019 and perhaps far beyond 2020.
on the security side, i think the shock here -- and i alluded to it in my opening remarks -- is the president's willingness to question our alliances so fundamentally. i think you could look at polling, whether it's the chicago council's polling on foreign policy or the gallup polling, you can look at polling over time and what you'll get is differences between for example republicans and democrats on reliance on an ally ans or multi-lateralism. you'll get differences but you won't get a serious questioning of the premise that our alliances are -- that premise is starting to kind of bubble up a little bit. i don't want to alarm people by thinking we're about to ab bra gait the treaty but you're hearing it. when i talk around the country i have people ask me that. why does this alliance make sense to the united states? now people like jim and i and
you and others can answer that question, right, and we should get out and answer that question as should our japanese colleagues. but that's a new moment i think in our politician and our foreign policy. they are deeply about who we are on the global stage. again, just to walk it back, is it all about trump, i think on the alliances side he has open questions that i don't think others would have opened. and i worry. i worry about that mattis resignation letter and i think we shouldn't just take it as, oh, secretary mattis, it was coming. we shouldn't take it lightly. there was a message in that letter and i think we need to take it seriously. so that piece of the puzzle on the trump side i think is new. and i think japan ought to take it seriously. i think mr. abe has done a good job of hugging, as i said early on, hugging mr. trump close. that is going to have to continue to be a japanese
strategy. i'm not sure i'm ready yet for a japan that is actively hedging. i'm not sure we're quite there yet but i do know that the security planners in tokyo are thinking about that is a longer-term conversation for japan. >> okay, so, so the next guy should also have a golden golf putter ready, ready to hand mr. trump. okay, terrific. let me let you ask the smart questions, i see a hand way in the back, yes, there are microphones. if you could just quickly identify yourself, and just in the first place, so we could see you, and then ask a question if you would of sheila, thanks.>> winters, hello sheila. i wanted to know what your thoughts are, you mentioned the transition from the area, to the new emperor. i get the feeling that maybe,
here in dc, we do not really feel the impact of the emperor's role in japan, probably because of historical reasons. so, do we have some emperor watchers here? i mean, the fact that the new empress is a graduate of the university, former diplomat, speaks several linkages, including russian, i mean, must, must be occurring to people, whether this is, and also, just briefly. i have learned from some very top japanese recently, that there have been that the current emperor, the speech he gave, to the people after the great east japan earthquake, was actually him stepping outside of his role, that is prescribed by the constitution, and doing something that is actually, he technically should not have done, but which, and what he should've done. so, again, indicating, there is more there, then meets the eye.
>> i agree. so, i was, you know, we all watched after the great east japan break. and, of course, the contentious politics in tokyo, and there was a systemic challenge of trying to manage a crisis of that magnitude, right. and, i watched the emperor, the emperor's video, and i can tell you without effect, and our japanese colleagues are in a better place to comment on this than me, but i could feel the oh, thank goodness, [ laughter ] that kind of pervaded the atmosphere in the country, that there was a unified spokesperson for the people of japan, and the time of distress. now, i do not take that as contradicting what so ever, article 1 of the constitution. right. i do think that the emperor stepped forward, because he understood that his voice matter to the japanese people in that time of crisis, and i think he did an excellent job, of maybe not fixing the crisis, which, if he had attempted to speak on how to fix the crisis,
i think you're right, that would've been a different problem, but that is not what he did. he wanted to make sure that the japanese people understood, you know, that his family, the emperor, the country, they were all unified. i also think it was very important that the emperor, and the empress went, to the shelters, to demonstrate that they were there with the people who were suffering, so again, this has all been part of the very visible role of the imperial family has played. in making sure, that they are the people, emperor, and empress, and i think it is very consistent with their postwar role. i think, the abdication, or the succession of the crown prince, position of emperor, is going to bring, as you said a much younger generation, obviously, a more cosmopolitan generation. the crown prince has already made a statement that she is already looking forward to being more active in public affairs. but again, each emperor puts a very different -- on their rain, and we will have to see how this new, younger emperor
and empress lead japan, and discuss some of the issues that are on the table in japan. i myself, i know it is a very delicate topic inside of the country, about what they are supposed to do, and not supposed to do, but i think the imperial family has always found a way, delicately, to play a positive and constructive role. and so, i do not, i expect the next generation will delete that way as well. i do think you know, the emperor watcher, i do not know the people here, do not think the imperial family is important, i think maybe they abdicate, all the ceremony, and the new name, and all the stuff, when you're in tokyo, it is palpable. [ laughter ] but have to get a new notebook [ laughter ] every company has to get noon everything. [ laughter ] and they are shutting down for you know, a tremendous amount of time, the markets will shut down, japan will shut down. and i was there when emperor
hero he took past recommend that transition i think was much more edgy in some ways. i do not think that is what we are going to see this year, i think you're going to see a quiet celebration, and probably, a sense of gratitude to the current emperor, because he has worked very very hard in his role, and i think there will be a sense of optimism about the next generation coming forward. but beyond that, i do not sense that this is a political challenge for japan, i think it is just, it is a moment of transformation, and i am looking forward to seeing with the new emperor and empress are, how they are going to put their mark on japanese society. >> thanks sheila, for navigating a very tricky year, and movie parts very well, you mentioned briefly, japan, and relations, which are a number of -- supreme court decisions, reopening the whole issue. and, this thing of -- but also,
the u.s. has its own issues, where apparently, in advanced now, and our agreement. so, could you just talk a little bit about the rok, and the challenge to both how it is going to allow the relationship in the way? >> so, i think it is a subject that could take an hour. or more, but i will try and do it very briefly. i am troubled by the state of the relationship. i think it is -- all of the issues that we know, trouble relationship, have all of the sudden, like high drive had, i'll come back. i think the firelock, the radar lock, by a south korean naval vessel on a japanese surveillance aircraft, while it is dangerous, right. i was not worried that we were about to erupt into work, but i think the management of that incident, on both sides, has
displayed a difficulty in the relationship that actually, i had underestimated. so, we are all aware of most structural differences in how south korea and japan treat the 1965 treaty, right. we are also aware of the courts playing an increasing role in grievance disputes, by citizens in south korea, and in china for that matter. so, that is a new aspect, the despondency that was not there a decade or more ago, right, it really was not part of the diplomacy, and now it is. and, that is going to put an awful lot of pressure on that 65, that peace treaty. i do not know if it is going to end up in the international court of justice, it could. because, is a new phenomenon and i'm not sure we have a blueprint for how to manage it other than to try to make it better, but i'm not sure we are going to make it better. i think, there are some serious structural issues here that require perhaps, an international court, i do not know. but, the military piece of the puzzle, it is not the first time of course, that the south
koreans have scribbled their military in response to a japanese, you know when there was a geological survey shipped out and around, takashimaya islands, and 2016, south koreans responded, i do not know is, you are probably in government at the time, right? you said 2006, 2016, 2006 pics of not this is not the person that south koreans have been somewhat just to make sure the japanese do not test their ability to defend their interest. i found this one though, what i would have liked to have seen was to put this another way, i would've liked to have seen both governments say how this risk, this is an unacceptable risk, and of course, neither country thinks that either is a note military threat, and of course they will do better at informing their militaries how to respond to such camino mistakes. that is what i would like to have seen, that that it was so drawn on for such a long term, and there is not a common ground or ability to manage that level, it worried me a little bit, again i do not think the two countries are about to go to work, but i
think, it revealed a certain level of problems in the relationship, that i think, and we do not have, i think, the attention span, nor the finesse here in washington, to try to help. now, you may criticize the obama administration, if you like about their ability to try to work through with prime minister's, and the agreement, i actually thought was very grateful to our colleagues in government for facilitating that process. but, i am not sure this is not is in administration interested in that facilitation, or even paying attention because we have so many other things on our plate. so, absent and active u.s. roles have helped facilitate. it seems tonight, it just seems to be stalling out, in a way that i think is very, is very unhelpful, and worrisome for me. on the host nation support thing, and this is where the president, i think, has been
under a lot of pressure from the trump administration, i think we do not often talk about. right, remember he came into power on may 9, 2017. so, after mr. abbi and mr. trump had already had a fairly detailed discussion on the north korean missile launch is commensal, he came late to the game, and he has you know, moved forward, and the south koreans have played a fairly catalytic role in the trump -- so there is this edginess to use who is the right ally, who is the closest ally, and i know that our diplomats do not speak in those terms. but clearly, trilateral, you know, coordination has been done effectively by our secretary of state. like jim edison he was secretary of defense, but the presidential level, it still seems a little discombobulated to me. trade, the course, the course agreement was under pressure from the trump administration early on, now, the host nation support agreement, which for those of you who do not know what that is, it is a special measures luck, agreements rather, between seoul and washington, over who pays for various aspects of our u.s.
forces in south korea. unlucky for soul, renegotiation of that agreement came up in the first year of the trump administration, so as you know the president campaigned on better burden sherry, kept them to the radar, kind of problem in the bilateral, and i do not think it is getting better. i think the trump administration is taking a very hard line, and taking a very hard line at the exact same moment that trump and kim are meeting. and so, when i heard a president ask of the singapore summit, say, war games, are expensive, i heard a message to soul, not a message to pyongyang, and i worry about that. because, this is a very tough game to play, at a time when the future is on the table, friendly. in the moon? dialogue, as well as in the trump kim dialogue, they are not playing paying as close attention as we ought to, and i think especially in tokyo, i understand the bilateral
difficulties, but i think we should also recognize that the larger structure of the u.s. are okay, alliance, and the u.s. japan alliance are a little bit strained, and it would be better to try to help alleviate that strain. >> thanks. >> thank you sheila, and matt. robin white, retiring -- retired foreign service. this is a micra question, you see a certain amount of foreign criticism of what might be called the rule of law in japan, strictly, preindictment, detention, no lawyers, very high prosecution, great. but, of the japanese concern about this at all what do they see this as a problem? until one of them gets arrested, i guess? >> so yeah, we are watching, we are watching them -- nissan, suffer somewhat. so, i guess, this is not
something that i am an expert on robin, so i do not want to speak beyond what i feel comfortable, you're talking about, i'm sure there are plenty of people in japan who are, and have been for decades and decades, advocating more on the side of victims rights, right, access to those detained, who are japanese japanese citizens right, not just foreign citizens, and i do believe that the new jury system, there has been a lot of judicial reforms that have changed some at least, of the process in japan. others to problems, distal pressures, sure, and i think there is more and more foreign attention now being paid for the spotlight is being put on japan. i do not know how much, and how we would evaluate, whether you know, how far japan has come versus how far it has to do has to go. but, the freedom, the organization that -- freedom health index, annually does, a report on the state of democracy, across the globe,
and last, and 2018, they raised some concerns about japanese prosecutor ariel process. so, i think, there are others beyond me, who are watching this very closely. on the other hand, the larger structural questions of representative government, you know, the need to pay more attention to gender equity, the freedom has index covered a lot of issues, so they do not go into depth on this, but it did not get flagged in the 2018 report. so, people who are paying attention, are in that community, are paying attention. i do not know whether or not, i am just not aware of the current debate in japan over additional reforms. >> okay, other, other questions? right here. >> at the university. my question is, when you talk about, a little bit more about the implication of breaks it,
because, it will happen quite quickly, within two months, something may happen. and, this is something, but, that the people and -- are really concerned, and, so my question is, is there anything that either the united states, or japan can do to make it closer? >> no. [ laughter ] next question. [ laughter ] no. the gentleman sitting to your right, might be able to answer that question better than me. you know, i, i do not know, many of you may or may not know this i am scottish by birth, so i watch the breaks it with fascination with some fascination about the future of the okay, it is a story about the future of the uk, not just in its relations with europe, but internally as well. and i just, i do not we have ever seen british politics as in disarray as we see them today. so, it is not of the economic
questions, and without all that japanese investment in the uk, it is really a fundamental question about the future of the constellation of interest inside the uk itself. and, we can talk all about the scottish national party at another time. it is a big fear, it is a big focal part point, because my family generationally, they feel very different about independence in scotland there is a younger generation in scotland that really feels stronger about a. so, eu, this whole breaks it conversation is not just about the trading relationship, but the economic interdependence, it is really also a future question about the composition about the uk itself. i do not know what, anything we can do, i guess, as i mentioned, abbi's op-ed prior to the vote, like please do not do this, you know it is much better for you, it is great. but, i do not think foreign advocacy on this issue, so president obama did the same, before the referendum, right, resident obama made it really clear why the u.s. should stay, and lots of people and others said stay out of our business
foreigner. [ laughter ] not just u.s. president but you know, foreign people have no reason to be in this conversation, so i think, i am not sure what we can do to mitigate the exposure of japanese companies and investment, and again, and later panels, maybe somebody can help you with that. i do not know that, those of us outside of the uk have a very persuasive voice at this point. for me, the question is, is there going to be a second referendum? are politicians going to feel like they have to take it back to the people, in order to get the legitimacy to do anything, even if it is trying to manage breaks it with no deal. the real problem is, of course, a big complicated divorce, is always a real problem. but, the politics inside the uk for me, are really the underpinning of why we have this problem. and i, a second referendum could give us anything. right mark so, it has mobilized all the forces in the uk that were, that were so active at
the initial referendum. i think teresa may has got her hands full, and i am not sure, and this is no disrespect on her ability to lead, but i'm not sure the parliament today can't manage this process, honestly without the provision who are already seeing. so, short answer was no. [ laughter ] sorry.>> yes, i also have a uk passport, and i just find it, just -- an impossible situation, that is really, a greek tragedy, and brought self-inflicted, but none of the options seem good, and in fact, a second referendum, the first referendum was not what it should have been, and it wasn't spec expected, and i'm not sure i want to open a can of worms again, as much as there is a reason. should give my own opinion, just to say there is a lot of talk about on it, and the
stakes are huge for the u.s., and by the way, as an economist, i always remind people, britain is the fifth artist economy in the world, and if that happens, if there is a crash, of written out of the you, it is going to have big implications for the global economy, so it is important. did i see this gentleman here? >> i am in -- due to circumstances, 10 years ago, i was in tokyo. four years. that was -- american. >> [ laughter ] >> then, the guidelines also. i was very much impressed in 2014, at your lecture then, the organization, and a lot of things have happened. in the obama administration, so, it decides clearly, the nation, it is much more and that is my question is different. although everything is intermingled, while we are awaiting the second summit, nobody today, before nations of the russian federation, and during the first summit -- and
is that related anyhow? >> i think, >> that is an excellent question. i wish i could answer it. [ laughter ] so, let me just sort of back up a little bit, i am cautious, today, because, i am being very honest here, that i am not quite sure where we are headed. whereas, in previous administrations, republican or democrat, we kind of had, at least an idea of where we wanted to have. weather, circumstances would end up allowing us to head in that direction, i think we are less, it is less obvious to me today, where, what the outcome is, even if we just isolate the north koreans, i'm in the korean peninsula. what is the endgame, and what do we want to see on the korean peninsula on the end of this?
i do not have any idea, what our government wants at the end. now, i understand that, there is a serious effort by secretary of state pompeo to move it forward, i realize that there is some indication that kim jong-un may be willing today, more than previous cams. to engage. i have not seen the evidence yet, i really have not. so, that is just my own personal take take, and if there is another summit, it is time to pony up the evidence, in my mind, by kim jong-un, right becoming, if you're going to do, now is the time, so russia question, and it is a really good one, and i wish i could answer, but two pieces of the question, is, so, what was what would the nuclear eyes asian look like? how do we assure north korea that it is safe? because, that has always been, kim jong-un, kim jong-il, they have always wanted to have a security guarantee by the united states that they would be safe. they would like the nuclear
eyes asian of the entire peninsula. you could get really wildly skeptical, because you ask me, i will get wildly skeptical. [ laughter ] with no basis, in fact, so just take that caveat. because there is a different extended deterrent question for the peninsula, be it for the north, in which case, russia might have a fairly significant role in that, and for the south. right? so, we had a quiet conversation hosted by jim a week or so ago, we had some very knowledgeable japanese colleagues experts, kind of saying, we are kind of waiting to see when the extended deterrence, what comes out of the next round on extended deterrence. now, would russia be willing to offer pyongyang extended deterrent? we don't know. would we be happy with that offer? i really do not think so. [ laughter ] so, but, at the end of the day, the security guarantee that the north gets
its part of what we are trying to figure out with the trump administration is thinking. daily, that is going to be a major component in any negotiation. but, i cannot think the united states would be -- about that, with minister of about that, estimate the current discussion of moscow, isis, yeah. abbe and putin are certainly talking about north korea. do i think of that dialogue is comprehensive vision of what should happen there, i doubt it. i do not think that it is mr. abbe's ambition, but i definitely think mr. putin would want to raise what happened in north korea, and how mr. abbe would think about different various options that russia might be thinking about, do not know, highly speculative answer on my part, but he was really really interesting and speculative answer. so think that. >> i'm going to take one more question, and i think we are going to move on to the next panel. so, if you have a question, a burning question, i thought i
saw somebody in the back, but maybe i did not. while, then maybe we don't have another question, but i'm going to ask you one. i am going to force you to try to make a prediction, about, you do not have to say what both characters are going to be in the new imperial era, but how about one character, if you pick one character? i will throw one out there, i think the character knew, or something sort of knew, or fresh is going to be -- >> so, i have a similar impulse, i do not think chin is the word, but i think fresh, something optimistic, right, so, it is all about peace, right. and so, i suspect that this new generation is going to reflect a bit of youth, a little bit of optimism, and, i do not know exactly what, you know, it would not be my choice, i know, i know, because i have not actually given it a lot of thought about which specific
character, but i do think it is going to be a fairly optimistic rendering. and, i think younger, we could see something, that has something among younger japanese and their future. >> great, why wouldn't ridge future panelist up you today, to take a guess as well, just for fun, what is the harm. so, with that, let me ask you to join me, and thinking sheila for a terrific presentation. thank you so much. >> [ applause ] >> you are welcome. >> and, we are going to, i think role straight into the next panel, so please, if you have to go, please do, but there is not a coffee break right now, we're going to straight into the next round, thanks. >> c-span's washington journal,
live everyday with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, michigan democratic congress and dan kelly, and pennsylvania were republican congressman brian fitzpatrick discussed their new task force on clean drinking water. then, new york democratic tom joins us, to talk about border security negotiations. and a discussion of the u.s. missile missile defense review, with cq while andrew clement or pick be sure to watch c-span washington journal, light at seven eastern tuesday morning. joined the discussion. tomorrow morning here on c-span three, cia director gina hostile, national intelligence director dan coats, and fbi director christopher ray will testify before the senate intelligence committee, on threats to the united states. that starts at 9:30 a.m. eastern, life here on c-span three.