Weatherhead East Asian Institute Event
KONO Taro, Minister of Defense of Japan
Daniel Russel, Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy,
Asia Society Policy Institute (APSI)
Takako Hikotani, Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy
Department of Political Science, Columbia University
Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Japanese Defense Minister H.E. Taro Kono has played a major role in coordinating the government’s response to the crisis. Japan’s Self Defense Forces (SDF), first mobilized in response to the Diamond Princess cruise ship outbreak continue to provide medical assistance and oversee the transport and quarantine of individuals arriving from abroad. Despite a recent uptick in new cases, Japan has reported a relatively low rate of fatalities, arguably due in part to the rapid deployment of the SDF. In a wide-ranging conversation with Asia Society’s Daniel Russel and Takako Hikotani of Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Minister Kono will share lessons learned from Japan’s experience with coronavirus and offer his insight into what role Japan can play in the global response, as well as the broader security implications of the pandemic on the region.
About the Speakers
KONO Taro, is an eight-term Member of the House of Representatives. He has been Minister of Defense in the Abe Government since September 11, 2019.
Among positions he has held are Foreign Minister; Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, or Minister in charge of the National Police Organization; Minister for Administrative Reform; Minister for Civil Service Reform; Minister for Regulatory Reform; Minister in Charge of Consumer Affairs and Food Safety; and Minister in Charge of Disaster Management in the Abe Government, Parliamentary Secretary for Public Management and Senior Vice-Minister of Justice in the Koizumi Government, and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. Taro is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He was Chairman of the Japan Race Horse Association and Chairman of the Shonan Bellmare Football Club, the 1995 Asia Champion Soccer Club. He is married to Kaori and has a son, Ippei.
Daniel Russel is Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI). Previously he served as a Diplomat in Residence and Senior Fellow with ASPI for a one year term. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, he most recently served as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary on July 12, 2013, Mr. Russel served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Asian Affairs. During his tenure there, he helped formulate President Obama’s strategic rebalance to the Asia Pacific region, including efforts to strengthen alliances, deepen U.S. engagement with multilateral organizations, and expand cooperation with emerging powers in the region.
Prior to joining the NSC in January of 2009, he served as Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs and had assignments as U.S. Consul General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan (2005-2008); Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands (2002-2005); Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus (1999-2002); Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (1997-99); Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1995-96); Political Section Unit Chief at U.S. Embassy Seoul, Republic of Korea (1992-95); Political Advisor to the Permanent Representative to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Pickering (1989-92); Vice Consul in Osaka and Branch Office Manager in Nagoya, Japan (1987-89); and Assistant to the Ambassador to Japan, former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (1985-87). In 1996, Mr. Russel was awarded the State Department’s Una Chapman Cox Fellowship sabbatical and authored America’s Place in the World, a book published by Georgetown University. Before joining the Foreign Service, he was manager for an international firm in New York City.
This is a Weatherhead East Asian Institute Lectures and Panels webinar event.
This event was live streamed on WEAI’s Facebook Page.
DATE & TIME
May 21, 2020
8:00 AM-9:00 AM EDT
9:00 PM-10:00 PM JST
Cosponsored by the Asia Society