Past Event

Japan’s 2021 elections: what to watch for

October 26, 2021
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
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Zoom Webinar

Tobias Harris, Center for American Progress
Amy Catalinac, New York University (NYU)
Kenneth McElwain, University of Tokyo

Moderated by: Daniel Smith, Columbia University

This event will take the form of a one-hour roundtable (~10 minutes for each speaker plus Q&A) of experts’ views on what to watch for in the 2021 Japanese general election, which will be held on October 31st. 

Tobias Harris is Senior Fellow at American Progress, where he oversees the National Security and International Policy team’s work on Asia. From 2013 to 2021, he was a political risk analyst covering Japan and the Korean Peninsula at Teneo Intelligence, as well as a research fellow for economy, trade, and business at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA from 2014 to 2020. He is also the author of The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan, the first English-language biography of Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. Prior to joining Teneo Intelligence, Harris worked for a Japanese legislator, authored the blog Observing Japan, and conducted graduate research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Tokyo. He holds an master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor’s degree in politics and history from Brandeis University.

Amy Catalinac is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at New York University. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2011, and before that earned a B.A. (Hons) at Victoria University of Wellington her native New Zealand. Before coming to NYU, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University (2014-15), an Assistant Professor at Australian National University (2012-14) in Canberra, Australia, and a postdoctoral fellow in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University (2011-12). Her research focuses on Japanese politics and foreign security policy. She is also interested in applications of quantitative text analysis in political science. She the author of the forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press, Electoral Reform and National Security in Japan: From Pork to Foreign Policy. Articles have been published or are forthcoming in The Journal of Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, Politics and Policy, Japan Forum, and Political Science.

Kenneth McElwain is Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo. He is originally from Ireland but was raised in Tokyo, Japan. He moved to the United States for university, obtained a PhD in political science, and worked at a number of universities, most recently as an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan. 

Daniel Smith is the Gerald L. Curtis Visiting Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy in the Department of Political Science and School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. His interests cover a range of topics in Japanese politics, comparative politics, political economy, and political behavior. A core substantive focus of his research and teaching is political representation in democracies, especially how institutions such as electoral systems affect voting behavior and the demographic backgrounds and behavior of political elites. He is the author of Dynasties and Democracy (Stanford University Press, 2018), and articles appearing in journals such as the American Political Science ReviewAmerican Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and Political Analysis. He is also a co-editor of the Japan Decides election seriesPrior to coming to Columbia University, he was assistant and then associate professor in the Department of Government at Harvard University. He received his MA (2009) and PhD (2012) in political science from the University of California, San Diego, and his BA (2005) in political science and Italian from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 2012 to 2013, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University. 

This online event is cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the APEC Study Center at Columbia University. 

Contact Information

Athina Fontenot