Hello everyone, I am Tomoko Tanaka-Makino, a Visiting Research Fellow for the US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative at Sasakawa USA, and cannot believe that I am about to complete my five-month fellowship.
I am originally a government official from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, where I was involved in policymaking in the telecommunications sector, including consumer protection and cybersecurity. Last year, when I decided to come to Washington, D.C. with my family, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to study U.S.-Japan collaboration in the telecommunication field from a position outside of government. I was fortunately accepted at Sasakawa USA as a fellow.
In my time at Sasakawa USA, I have conducted personal research on U.S.-Japan collaboration on the global deployment of secure 5G networks and was given the opportunity to write a paper based on my research and stakeholder interviews. Also, as a member of the US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative team, I had the chance to conduct background research on central bank digital currencies and Japan’s DX policy, as well as participate in roundtables with top-level experts on high-tech alliances. These experiences greatly broadened my perspective on current important topics the United States and Japan are facing and deepened my understanding of the crucial role of U.S. think tanks in agilely aggregating the insights of experts from government, industry, and academia to make compelling policy recommendations.
In addition, I gained a great deal of inspiration from my talented and friendly colleagues. I will never forget the pleasant lunchtime conversations with them, where they shared their passion for U.S.-Japan relations, their dedicated work on various programs, and a taste of “real” American culture (how Americans enjoy seasonal events, etc.).
When I go back to work for the Japanese government, I hope to leverage my experience at Sasakawa USA for strategic policymaking, taking into account the importance of allied U.S.-Japan cooperation. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all Sasakawa USA members, especially to Chairman and President Dr. Satohiro Akimoto and my supervisor Mr. James Schoff, for giving me this precious opportunity.