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Comparative Connections Roundtable



Public Virtual Event


About This Event

Japan has undergone its second leadership transition in two years. The new administration inherits the foreign policy initiatives of its predecessors – including the Quad and enhanced partnerships with Southeast Asia – but also its challenges. These include a sputtering economy, rendered even more fragile because of the COVID-19 pandemic; increasingly fraught relations with China; and rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait, not to mention potential shifts in the balance of power within the Tokyo government. Join our Comparative Connections authors, all of them experts on Japan and its foreign relations, as they discuss the continuity and change that Tokyo’s new administration will bring and what it will mean for Japan’s partners and rivals.


June Teufel Dreyer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, where she teaches courses on China, U.S. defense policy, and international relations. Professor Dreyer has lectured to and taught a course for National Security Agency analysts, consults for organizations, including the National Geographic and Centra Technology. She is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Formerly senior Far East specialist at the Library of Congress, Dr. Dreyer has also served as Asia policy advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and as commissioner of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission established by the U.S. Congress. Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations Past and Present, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016; updated paperback edition in 2018. The tenth edition of her China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition, was published in 2018. Professor Dreyer received her BA from Wellesley College and her MA and PhD from Harvard, and has lived in China and Japan and paid numerous visits to Taiwan. She has served as a United States Information Agency lecturer, speaking in fourteen Asia-Pacific states. Professor Dreyer has published widely on the Chinese military, Asian-Pacific security issues, China-Taiwan relations, Sino-Japanese relations, ethnic minorities in China, and Chinese foreign policy. In 2017, she received the University of Miami’s faculty senate award as Distinguished Research Professor. Her current research focuses on Sino-Japanese Relations; Chinese domestic and foreign policy; Taiwan studies; and Asia-Pacific Security issues. Her most recent book, Taiwan Under Tsai Ing-wen, co-edited with Jacques de Lisle, was published in April 2021.

Kei Koga is Assistant Professor at the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU). His research focuses on International Security, International Institutions, and East Asian/Indo-Pacific security, including the transformation of U.S.-bilateral security networks and ASEAN–led institutions. Previously, he was visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 2017; a Japan-U.S. Partnership Fellow at the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), Tokyo, in 2012-2014; Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Studies Program, The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, in 2012-2013; a Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in 2009–2010; and RSIS-MacArthur visiting associate fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), NTU in 2010. He has published on topics that include East Asian security, U.S. and Japanese foreign policies, the U.S.-Japan alliance, and ASEAN. His recent publications include the book Reinventing Regional Security Institutions in Asia and Africa (Routledge 2017); “Japan’s ‘Indo-Pacific’ question: countering China or shaping a new regional order?” (International Affairs, 2020); “Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ Strategy: Tokyo’s Tactical Hedging and the Implications for ASEAN” (Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2019); “The Concept of ‘Hedging’ Revisited: The Case of Japan’s Foreign Policy Strategy in East Asia’s Power Shift” (International Studies Review (ISA), 2018); and “ASEAN’s Evolving Institutional Strategy: Managing Great Power Politics in South China Sea Disputes” (Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2018). His current book project is Managing Great Power Politics: ASEAN, Institutional Strategy, and South China Sea. He received his Ph.D. in International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Sheila A. Smith is John E. Merow senior fellow for Asia Pacific studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, she is the author of Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China and Japan’s New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance. She is also the author of the CFR interactive guide Constitutional Change in Japan. Smith is a regular contributor to the CFR blog Asia Unbound and a frequent contributor to major media outlets in the United States and Asia. Smith joined CFR from the East-West Center in 2007, where she directed a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. She was a visiting scholar at Keio University in 2007-08, where she researched Japan’s foreign policy towards China, supported by the Abe Fellowship. Smith has been a visiting researcher at two leading Japanese foreign and security policy think tanks, the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus. Smith is chair of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON), a binational advisory panel of government officials and private-sector members. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Asian studies department of Georgetown University and serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. She also serves on the advisory committee for the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. Smith earned her MA and PhD from the political science department at Columbia University.