Meridian Diplomacy Forum on Japan


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June 6, 2018
Meridian International Center | Washington, DC

The annual Meridian Diplomacy Forum convenes government and business leaders with academic experts and cultural visionaries to examine the position of soft power alongside trade and security in international relations. This year the Diplomacy Forum explored U.S.-Japan relations, one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. The foundation of the modern U.S.-Japan relationship that began in the late 20th century has been built on the open exchange of ideas, culture, and technology that have led to significant economic gains and opportunities. Many of the hallmarks of American culture today – from entertainment and sports to technology and infrastructure – are results of that bilateral exchange and influenced by Japanese trends. At the same time, each country retains distinctly unique cultural identities and political structures. Through featured speakers and panel discussions, the Diplomacy Forum examined various aspects of U.S.-Japan ties: the state of this bilateral relationship; our security and defense partnership; leadership in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence; Japanese business culture; and, the power of baseball diplomacy.


Forum Partners

Forum Agenda

Welcome Remarks

Fireside Chat Watch Now

Fireside Chat: The State of Bilateral Relations Watch Now

Special Video Message Watch Now

  • Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Co-Chair, U.S.-Japan Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives

Featured Speaker: The Allure of Japanese Business Culture Watch Now

Panel: Embracing Mr. Roboto: How Each Nation is Approaching Innovations in Artificial Intelligence and The Accompanying Public Sentiment Watch Now

  • Moderator: Dr. Lynne E. Parker, Interim Dean, Tickle College of Engineering, University of Tennessee
  • Dr. Kerstin Sophie Haring, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center, U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Dr. Takanori Shibata, Chief Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan

Special Video Message Watch Now

  • The Honorable William Hagerty, U.S. Ambassador to Japan

Panel: U.S.-Japan Security and Defense Partnership Watch Now

  • Moderator: Lindsey Ford, Director for Political-Security Affairs and Richard Holbrooke Fellow, Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Mark Wuebbels, Political Security Officer, Office of Japanese Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Admiral Gary Roughead, Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Ken Spurlock, Air and Missile Defense Systems Senior Manager, Raytheon Missile Systems

Panel: Pacific Pitch: U.S.-Japan Baseball Ties and The Power of Sports Diplomacy Watch Now

  • Moderator: Mori Taheripour, Faculty, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Sayuri Guthrie Shimizu, Dunlevie Family Professor of History, Rice University
  • Takehiro Shimada, Minister for Communications and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Japan
  • Nick Sussman, Director of Baseball and Softball Operations, Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Closing Remarks

Forum Speakers

Project Timeline

Project summary