From March 4 -11, 2017, Sasakawa USA partnered with the New America Foundation to take eight policy experts on energy and environment for a week-long study trip to Japan. During their visit to Tokyo and Fukushima, the delegates met with a range of Japanese government officials and experts from the Prime Minister’s Office, government ministries, the Diet, corporations, and research institutions to explore various themes at the intersection of clean energy, national and international security, and climate change.
In Tokyo, the delegates visited government officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Environment to discuss a number of issues ranging from Japan’s energy, environment, and climate change policies to the decontamination efforts in Fukushima. They also met with representatives from corporations and research institutions such as the Tokyo Power Electric Company (TEPCO), Toyota Corporation, and New Energy and Industrial Technology (NEDO). As many participants also shared a background in security, the group also visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense to exchange opinions on the U.S.-Japan alliance and security challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region. Before leaving Tokyo, the group also had the chance to meet Representative Goshi Hosono of the House of Representatives (Democratic Party), and Sasakawa USA’s Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow and Special Advisor to Prime Minister Abe, Tomohiko Taniguchi.
In Fukushima, the delegates visited Fukushima TV Station for a conversation with a journalist to hear his experience during the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, as well as the Japanese media’s perspectives on Fukushima’s recovery since the disaster. The delegates then made a quick stop at the Fukushima Prefecture Tourist Product Center, a small shopping plaza offering regional products, to try some of the local produce and support the local economy. On the last day of the trip, the delegates visited the Fukushima Environmental Creation Center to learn more about the Fukushima nuclear crisis and what the prefecture is doing to promote public awareness of the challenges and progress made in the area. The delegates also toured the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, AIST (FREA) in Koriyama City where they learned about Fukushima’s research and development efforts in renewable energy technologies.
Read more about the trip on the New America Foundation’s website here.
Nadya T. Bliss, Director of the Global Security Initiative (GSI) at Arizona State University
Sharon Burke, Senior Advisor, International Security Program and Resource Security Program at New America
Emily Gallagher, Program Associate, Resource Security Program at New America
Kate Gordon, Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute and Non-resident Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University
Jon Powers, Co-Founder at CleanCapital
Tarak Shah, former Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Science and Energy at the Department of Energy
Bina Venkataraman, Director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of Harvard & Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michael Wu, Fellow, Resource Security Program at New America
Following the trip, SEED delegate Emily Gallagher reflected on the lessons that can be learned from Fukushima in her New America blog post here, and SEED delegate Kate Gordon wrote an informal recap in her personal blog which you can visit here.
The SEED delegates also participated in a special roundtable discussion on “U.S.-Japan Cooperation on Energy and Environment: Findings, Recommendations, and Next Steps” to share their key findings and takeaways from the trip with the D.C.-based representatives from organizations and ministries they visited in Japan.
Click here to learn more about the Sasakawa USA Emerging Experts Delegation (SEED) Program.