Podcast: Prospects for US-Japan-Europe Security Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific

I recently hosted a great conversation about the prospects for US-Japan-Europe security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region with Dr. Zack Cooper (Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute and Co-Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States) and Dr. Garima Mohan (Fellow, Asia Program, The German Marshall Fund of the United States). In recent years, the world’s attention has shifted toward the Indo-Pacific. As concerns over the rise of China and other regional challenges have intensified, the US and Japan have taken steps to strengthen their security cooperation and Europe has also become more engaged, begging the question of how the three sides might work together on security issues. What factors are driving Europe’s recent involvement in the Indo-Pacific? Does Europe have a role to play in the Biden Administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, or would it be better for European countries to focus their efforts on security issues closer to home? Will a change of leadership in Japan affect its prospects for cooperation with the US and Europe? What are the most promising issue areas for trilateral cooperation and coordination, and what challenges lie ahead? In this episode, we discuss these questions and more. The topic of this podcast originated in conversations at GMF’s Japan Trilateral Forum.

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New Publication: China’s Challenge to the Global Commons

I’m pleased to share that my article “China’s Challenge to the Global Commons: Compliance, Contestation, and Subversion in the Maritime and Cyber Domains” has been published at International Relations. Read the full article

If you do not have access to International Relations, please contact me for a copy.

The abstract for the article is below:

It is often predicted that rising powers such as China will seek to reshape the international order as they gain influence. Drawing on comparative analysis of the maritime and cyber domains, this article argues that China poses a challenge to the global commons because its actions reflect a pragmatic focus on national interest that disrupts more collaborative conceptions of their governance. However, instead of directly rejecting existing regimes, China has pursued a mixed strategy of complying when these regimes confer benefits and employing contestation or subversion when they conflict with its strategic aims. In particular, China has used contestation and subversion to push for the enclosure of the maritime and cyber domains, extending ideas of sovereignty and territoriality to them to varying extents. While the relatively well-institutionalized nature of maritime governance has limited China’s focus to the application of specific rules in areas where it prioritizes sovereign control, the embryonic status of the cyber regime has enabled China to call into question the fundamental definition of cyberspace as a global common. Subversion has also allowed China to accomplish strategic goals through ‘gray zone’ tactics, resulting in increased conflict below the level of war in both domains.

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Invited Talk: Economic Connectivity in the Indo-Pacific

On July 13, I spoke at a panel on Economic Connectivity in the Indo-Pacific as part of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Next Generation Policy Forum along with Hayley Channer (Perth USAsia Centre) and former Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Masafumi Ishii. We discussed the challenges associated with promoting connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region and some of the reasons that recent trilateral initiatives have been slow to take off, as well as the opportunities for moving forward.

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Webinar: Maritime Security in Southeast Asia

I was enjoyed moderating a Pacific Forum webinar on “Maritime Security in Southeast Asia: Issues, Prospects, and Challenges for Cooperation” on June 14. The featured speakers were Dr. Collin Koh (Research Fellow and Coordinator of United States Programme, IDSS, RSIS) and Blake Herzinger (Non-Resident Fellow, Pacific Forum).

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Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching

I’m happy to share that I have been awarded a Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. This annual award recognizes faculty across campus who have made significant contributions to teaching and student learning. This year, I was one of 13 individuals recognized with an excellence in teaching award, out of 32 finalists from all colleges and schools, and out of more than 625 initial campus-wide nominations submitted by faculty, staff, students and alumni. The university posted this kind blurb about me in its piece featuring all of this year’s award winners:

Thanks to all of my students for making teaching so worthwhile, and to my students from this year in particular for surprising me with this very nice collection of comments to congratulate and thank me:

Made with Padlet

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Joining Asia Policy as Co-Editor

I’m delighted to share that I’ll be serving as Co-Editor of the journal Asia Policy, along with Mark Frazier (The New School) and Deepa Ollapally (George Washington University). Asia Policy is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal devoted to bridging the gap between academic research and policymaking on issues related to the Asia-Pacific. It publishes research articles and policy essays, special essays, roundtables on policy-relevant topics and recent publications, and book review essays, as well as other occasional formats.

Submit your work to Asia Policy

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New Publication: The Adaptation of Japanese Economic Statecraft: Trade, Aid, and Technology

I’m happy to share that my article “The Adaptation of Japanese Economic Statecraft: Trade, Aid, and Technology” has been published in World Trade Review.  Check it out on FirstView: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474745620000543

If you do not have institutional access to World Trade Review, you can access a free read-only version of the article through Cambridge Core Share at this link.

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2019–2020 Talks in Review

It was another busy year, despite the onset of COVID-19. I gave the following talks during the 2019–2020 academic year:

  • “Responding to the Rise of China in the Global Commons: Japan’s Evolving Approach to Outer Space, Cyberspace, and the High Seas.” Asia Policy Assembly, Washington DC (June 2019).
  • “The Abe Security Reforms: Drivers and Constraints, Opportunities and Challenges.” US Army Japan, Camp Zama, Japan (July 2019). read more
  • “Issues in Japan-South Korea Relations.” South Korean Journalist Security Forum. East-West Center, Honolulu (September 2019). read more
  • “Coping with Competition in the Global Commons: Japan in the Outer Space, Cyberspace, and Maritime Domains.” Maneuvering in a World of Great Powers, University of California, Berkeley (October 2019).
  • “Trade and Investment in Japan.” Japan House, Los Angeles (December 2019). read more
  • “Coping with Competition in the Global Commons: Japan in the Outer Space, Cyberspace, and Maritime Domains.” Japan’s Leadership in the Liberal International Order, University of British Columbia (January 2020). read more
  • “Designing Trade Architecture for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” The Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Charting a Common Approach, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Vancouver (January 2020). read more
  • “Understanding Trade Wars.” Global Vision Summit: Trade Wars, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, Honolulu (February 2020).
  • “Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy Amid COVID-19 and Beyond.” East-West Center, virtual (June 2020). read more
  • “Promoting Good Governance in the Global Commons through the US-Japan Alliance.” National Bureau of Asian Research, podcast interview (July 2020). read more
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NBR Podcast Interview: Promoting Good Governance in the Global Commons through the US-Japan Alliance

I was recently interviewed by the National Bureau of Asian Research about my research on increasing competition in the outer space, cyberspace, and maritime domains and how countries such as Japan and the United States are responding. Check out the podcast here (with convenient timestamps for the various topics that we covered) or click play below:

This podcast is part of NBR’s ongoing Asia Insight series. Asia Insight features interviews with top Asia experts about key issues affecting the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on implications for U.S. policy and businesses. You can subscribe to the series on Apple Podcasts.

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New Publication: Crafting Policy for Contested Commons

I’m pleased to announce that my paper “Crafting Policy for Contested Commons: Insights from Japan’s Approach to the Outer Space, Cyberspace, and Maritime Domains” has been published as part of a joint policy paper series entitled “Japan’s Leadership in the Liberal International Order: Impact and Policy Opportunities for Partners.”

My paper examines Japan’s changing approach to the global commons, tracking commonalities across the outer space, cyberspace, and maritime domains. As security threats have emerged in these domains, Japan has continued to uphold the principles of the liberal international order based on rule of law, but it has also hedged against risk by securitizing issues, by turning its existing diplomatic and technological tools to new purposes, and by linking the commons with security structures related to the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the U.S.-Japan alliance. This examination of Japan’s approach to the global commons has broad implications for policy. First, there is a clear need for serious attention to the maintenance and/or construction of governance regimes that will promote the use of the global commons in ways that benefit all countries. Second, the increasingly crowded and competitive environment in the global commons presents new challenges in terms of cultivating consensus and regulating activity, but it also offers opportunities to create coalitions of like-minded countries, and middle powers have an important role to play in this process. Third, the clear parallels in changes across the outer space, cyberspace, and maritime domains suggest that there is something valuable to be gained from fostering dialogue among their respective scholars and practitioners, to find best practices that can be shared or transferred across domains. Although the onset of COVID-19 has drawn the attention of many countries away from developments outside their national borders, it has not lessened the importance of these issues—indeed, there is evidence that the global pandemic may be providing a convenient distraction that is enabling additional incursions in these domains and further eroding norms regarding their shared use.

The paper series as a whole examines Japan’s remarkable leadership on various dimensions of global and regional economic governance, including trade governance, economic and data governance, regional rules-based order, and environmental governance, asking: How significant is this new phase of Japanese international leadership in historical perspective? What factors are driving this new global leadership? What are implications for Japan’s partners, including Canada, and the US?

The series also features pieces by Vinod Aggarwal (University of California, Berkeley), Alan Alexandroff (University of Toronto), Leslie Elliott Armijo (Simon Fraser University), Joseph Caron (University of British Columbia), Grace Jaramillo (Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada), Saori Katada (University of Southern California), Masahiro Kawai (University of Tokyo), Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto), Jeffrey Kucharski (Royal Roads University), Harutaka Takenaka (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies), T.J. Pempel (University of California, Berkeley), Sayuri Romei (Wilson Center), Mireya Solis (Brookings Institution), Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist University), and Yves Tiberghien (University of British Columbia).

The series was jointly published by:

  • Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Research School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia
  • Centre for the Study of Global Japan and Global Summitry Project, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
  • Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo
  • Pacific Forum
  • Berkeley APEC Study Center, University of California, Berkeley
  • Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California, San Diego

My thanks go to the University of British Columbia and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada for providing the support for me to attend the conference for which these papers were initially written, which was held at the University of British Columbia in January 2020. This UBC conference was held back-to-back with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s conference on “The Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Charting A Common Approach,” where I also gave a talk on “Designing Trade Architecture for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” This back-to-back structure allowed many participants to engage in both events, resulting in much productive dialogue between academics and policymakers.

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