The May 2011 issue of the United States Asia Pacific Council’s (USAPC) bimonthly newsletter, the Washington Report, featured an interview with Dr. Sheila Smith on the implications of the “Great Tohoku Earthquake” recovery for local and national politics in Japan and the US-Japan alliance. Dr. Smith is a Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and was previously a Research Fellow for Politics, Governance and Security at the East-West Center from 2001 to 2007.
Analyzing the post-quake political landscape of Japan going into the recovery phase, Dr. Smith remarked:
“If party politics prevent a coalition effort at governing, then perhaps Japan needs a “thinking exercise” that is bipartisan in nature, like the US 9/11 Commission. There are ways to contemplate a new vision for Japan that don’t necessarily involve the old way of thinking that party seats must be traded or cabinet positions awarded. I do hope the crisis is seen as an opportunity for a constructive conversation of policy options and choices.”
Dr. Smith praised the rapid response of the US government to support Japan and the demonstration of the interoperability of the US Military and the Japan Self Defense Force as testimony to the strength of the bilateral security agreement. She emphasized that “Japan’s recovery matters not only to Japan… It is extraordinarily important to the United States that Japan’s recovery be as quick and as complete as possible.”
Click here to read USAPC’s interview with Dr. Smith.