On Wednesday, February 19th, the 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI*) hosted Mr. Noriyuki Shikata (Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in its “Japan Politics & Society” interdisciplinary public speaker series. Mr. Shikata is a career diplomat whose most recent posting was as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Beijing. During the current academic year, Mr. Shikata is conducting research on U.S.-China relations as an associate at the Harvard University Program on U.S.-Japan Relations.
During his visit, Mr. Shikata’s campus engagement activities included public remarks on “The Rise of China and the U.S.-Japan Alliance” and various meals and conversations with students and faculty. The topic of Mr. Shikata’s public talk proved to be very popular, and 71 students, faculty, and members of the community gathered en masse to hear him discuss the impact of China’s rise on Japan-China and Japan-U.S. relations.
During his public remarks, Mr. Shikata argued that despite deepening tensions owing in significant part to various aspects of China’s rise, such as its policies vis-à-vis contested islands in the East China Sea, there has long been, and continues to be, important cooperation between Japan and China. For example, he highlighted the heavy flows of Japanese foreign direct investment in China since 1978. (He also recommended the 2019 book of 21JPSI’s forthcoming (April 6) speaker, Prof. Ezra Vogel, for more information on the history of Japan-China relations.)
Though Japan-China cooperation is significant, there are also important frictions between China, Japan, and the United States. In addressing these challenges, the U.S.-Japan partnership and security alliance, Mr. Shikata argued, carries great significance. For example, as China’s growing military power has reshaped East Asia’s security landscape, U.S.-Japan security cooperation is very important.
After concluding his roughly 45-minute remarks, Mr. Shikata engaged the audience in a spirited discussion and Q&A session for roughly 30 minutes.
At the beginning of his public remarks, Mr. Shikata remarked that he was very impressed by the large attendance—among the largest he had seen at an event on Japan during his travels across the United States—and the significant interest in East Asia at Indiana University. During lunch and dinner with students and faculty members, respectively, Mr. Shikata engaged in lively conversations about his career, Japan’s foreign policy, U.S.-Japan relations, his research at Harvard, and the importance of ties between Japan and the Hoosier State.
*The 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI) was launched at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies in 2018. Under the leadership of Founding Director and HLS faculty member Adam Liff, 21JPSI aims to invigorate and expand research, teaching, and programming on contemporary Japanese politics, society, and international (esp. U.S.-Japan) relations, and to educate, raise awareness, and debate policy responses to the various political, social, and foreign policy challenges that Japan faces in this extremely dynamic era of 21st-century change. Supported by a generous $900,000 grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, in its first five years 21JPSI has enabled a new tenure-track faculty search; new courses on contemporary Japan; a speaker series on Japanese Politics and Society; biennial conferences on U.S.-Japan relations; graduate research fellowships, and faculty travel grants. For more information, please see https://jpsi.indiana.edu/ or write to firstname.lastname@example.org