The Crossley Center
and the Korbel School
hosted a program of visiting Japanese professors and government officials in early 2020. The timing of this program was fortunate. Had it occurred even a week later in March, most events would likely have been cancelled due to the coronavirus. The final presentation with Professor Koji Murata was held on March 3, 2020 with an audience of more than 130. It was one of the last large events at the Korbel School campus, which is now entirely online.
The events with Professor Murata and Foreign Ministry official, Noriyuki Shikata, were scheduled in early February and early March and were well attended by a total of more than 300, including Korbel School students and community opinion leaders. Extensive online promotion was conducted by the sponsor organizations, reaching more than 5,000 online by email and via Facebook and Twitter. Panel participants, experts on Asia and U.S. foreign policy, U.S. domestic politics and U.S. and world public opinion were Ambassador Christopher Hill, Office of Global Engagement
; Professor Suisheng Zhao, Center for China-U.S. Cooperation
; and Dina Smeltz, Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
One of the important features of the program was the collaboration with the Crossley Center, the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation and the Office of Global Engagement. Another unique aspect was the support of the Japanese Consulate of Denver and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs alongside the Korbel School and the University of Denver.
The program met its goals by facilitating an informed conversation among Japanese and Colorado experts on the primary factors that influence the Japan-U.S. alliance. The dialogues dispelled some misperceptions and clarified Japan’s foreign policy for American audiences.
The following are a few of the most salient topics discussed in the three presentations.
- There are many opportunities for cooperation between the U.S. and Japan, and Asia in general. Japan has been working diligently to improve relations and reduce miscommunications with China.
- Japan advocates an Asian policy that supports democracy, human rights and freedom of navigation. It works with the EU countries to enhance peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The Japan-U.S. alliance is strong and stable, and the relationship between Prime Minister Abe and President Trump is sound. Abe is one of his few friends on the international stage.
- The American public supports the alliance with Japan and the bases in Japan, and has a very favorable view of Japan.
- This is a period of tremendous change and disruption of long-established norms in the West concerning America’s leadership role, the promotion of democracy, free trade and alliances. Some of the change reflects deep worldwide trends and others are based on recent Western leaders and parties.
In general, the program provided thought leaders an opportunity to share ideas and opinions, and provided considerable information to students and the public.
Prepared by Floyd Ciruli, Director, Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research