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Rediscovering Internationalism? Japan and the Liberal International Order in the Heisei Era and Beyond



Takako Hikotani, Associate Professor, Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy, Columbia University

Date and Time

February 21, 2019 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM February 20.


Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

The event is jointly sponsored by the Japan Program at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

The Heisei era started in 1989, with high hopes for Japan to contribute to the international order. As the Heisei era draws to an end, Japan is once again expected to “step up” with increased urgency, given the current US administration’s withdrawal from, and challenge to the international order.  In this talk, I will first look back at the thirty years of Heisei, and discuss why Japan did not take the “internationalist” path in a way that some had expected. Looking forward, I discuss how the domestic institutional changes, together with the geopolitical challenges in Asia, have prompted Japan to seek active leadership in the region and beyond. I will elaborate on the evolution of the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision,” with focus on how exactly Japan seeks to achieve “free and open” in the region, and challenges and limitations going forward.

Takako Hikotani is Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy. She previously taught at the National Defense Academy of Japan, where she was Associate Professor, and lectured at the Ground Self Defense Force and Air Self Defense Force Staff Colleges, and the National Institute for Defense Studies. Her research focus on civil-military relations and Japanese domestic politics, Japanese foreign policy, and comparative civil-military relations. Her publications (in English) include, “The Japanese Diet and defense policy-making.” International Affairs, 94:1, July, 2018; “Trump’s Gift to Japan: Time for Tokyo to Invest in the Liberal Order,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2017; and “Japan’s New Executive Leadership: How Electoral Rules "Japan’s New Executive Leadership: How Electoral Rules Make Japanese Security Policy" (with Margarita Estevez-Abe and Toshio Nagahisa), in Frances Rosenbluth and Masaru Kohno eds, Japan in the World (Yale University Press, 2009). She was a Visiting Professional Specialist at Princeton University as Social Science Research Council/Abe Fellow (2010-2011) and Fellow of the US-Japan Leadership Program, US-Japan Foundation (2000- ). Professor Hikotani received her BA from Keio University, MAs from Keio University and Stanford University, and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University, where she was a President’s Fellow.