Japan Vs. COVID-19: A Conversation with H.E. Kono Taro, Minister of Defense of Japan

May 21, 2020

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 Takako Hikotani of Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Daniel Russel of Asia Society, 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.