Australia-Japan Society of Tasmania Inc.


Issues and Challenges for Japan's Next Prime Minister

  • 24 Sep 2021
  • 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
  • Online

In a surprise announcement, Suga Yoshihide has announced that he will not contend the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party presidential elections, and thus will stand down as Japan's prime minister once his party has found a replacement. Why is Suga going now, and what is in store for Japan's next head of government? Who are the contenders vying for power? What are the key domestic political challenges on the horizon in Japan? What economic matters will the new prime minister have to deal with? What is coming up on Japan's foreign policy agenda?

Hear from four experts on Japan's politics, economics and foreign policy as they discuss the issues and challenges for Japan's new prime minister with AIIA National President Allan Gyngell.

Dr Bryce Wakefield is the national executive director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. He has lived, worked and researched in the United States, Japan, Europe and New Zealand. He trained as a political scientist with particular expertise in International Relations and the international affairs of East Asia.

From 2008 to 2012 Bryce was the associate responsible for Northeast Asian programs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. In this role, he was responsible for conceiving, designing and organising around 60 events in Washington, including policy briefings in the U.S. Congress, on political issues in Australia, Taiwan, North and South Korea and Japan.

From 2012 to 2018, he was a tenured lecturer of area studies and international relations at Leiden University in the Netherlands. During his time as a university academic he also delivered training, induction and briefing sessions for Dutch and international diplomats in the Hague and in Japan. Bryce lived in Japan from 1998 to 2004 and earned his master’s degree from Osaka University’s School of International Public Policy. He earned his PhD in political studies from the University of Auckland.

Professor Haruko Satoh is specially appointed professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), where she teaches Japan’s relations with Asia and identity in international relations. She is also co-director of the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Centre and she was previously part of the MEXT Reinventing Japan project on “Peace and Human Security in Asia (PAHSA)” with six Southeast Asian and four Japanese universities.

In the past she has worked at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Chatham House, and Gaiko Forum. Her interests are primarily in state theory, Japanese nationalism and identity politics. Recent publications include: “China in Japan’s Nation-state Identity” in James DJ Brown & Jeff Kingston (eds) Japan’s Foreign Relations in Asia (Routledge, 2018); “Japan’s ‘Postmodern’ Possibility with China: A View from Kansai” in Lam Peng Er (ed), China-Japan Relations in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); “Rethinking Security in Japan: In Search of a Post-‘Postwar’ Narrative” in Jain & Lam (Eds.), Japan’s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment (World Scientific, 2012); “Through the Looking-glass: China’s Rise as Seen from Japan”, (co-authored with Toshiya Hoshino), Journal of Asian Public Policy, 5(2), 181–198, (July 2012); “Post- 3.11 Japan: A Matter of Restoring Trust?”, ISPI Analysis No. 83 (December 2011); “Legitimacy Deficit in Japan: The Road to True Popular Sovereignty” in Kane, Loy & Patapan (Eds.), Political Legitimacy in Asia: New Leadership Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), “Japan: Re-engaging with China Meaningfully” in Tang, Li & Acharya (eds), Living with China: Regional States and China through Crises and Turning Points, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Richard Katz is a special correspondent at Weekly Toyo Keizai, a leading Japanese business weekly. He was editor-in-chief of The Oriental Economist Report (TOE) and is a Carnegie Council Senior Fellow for the Asia Dialogues program.

He authored two books on Japan. The first was Japan: The System That Soured—The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Economic Miracle (M.E. Sharpe, 1998), followed by Japanese Phoenix: The Long Road to Economic Revival (M.E. Sharpe, 2002). Toyo Keizai Shimposa published them in Japanese.

He has taught about Japan as an adjunct professor in economics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and at the New York University Stern School of Business, and has testified several times before Congress. He regularly writes op-eds and essays for newspapers and magazines, including "Voodoo Abenomics" in the July-August 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs.

Katz is currently working on a book tentatively titled, Reigniting Japanese Growth: The Role of Startups.

Professor Yoichiro Sato has taught at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and Auckland University (New Zealand) and has been a visiting professor at multiple institutions. His more than ten published books include The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance (co-edited with Takashi Inoguchi and G. John Ikenberry, Palgrave, 2011), Regional Institutions, Geopolitics and Economics in the Asia Pacific (co-edited with Steve Rothman and Utpal Vyas, Routledge, 2017), and Re-Rising Japan (co-edited with Hidekazu Sakai, Peter Lang, 2017). His commentaries have appeared in various global media, including Time, Newsweek, Al Jazeera, Agence Presse Francais, and Nikkei Asian Review.

Allan Gyngell AO FAIIA has been National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) since September 2017, having previously been named a Fellow of the AIIA in 2010. He is also an honorary professor with the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific.

Allan has had an extensive career in Australian international affairs. He was the Director-General of the Australian Office of National Assessments (ONA) from 2009 to 2013. Prior to leading the ONA, he was the founding Executive Director of the Lowy Institute from 2003 to 2009. Additionally, he has worked at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, serving as an Australian diplomat in Yangon, Singapore and Washington. He was Senior Advisor (International) to Prime Minister Paul Keating between 1993 and 1996.

Allan was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2009 for services to international relations. In 2007, he co-authored Making Australian Foreign Policy with Michael Wesley. An updated edition of his history of Australian foreign policy, Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World Since 1942, was published in 2021.

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