The Sasakawa USA In-Depth Research Trip provides the selected alumni with an opportunity to return to Japan for a deeper understanding of common challenges in the U.S.-Japan relationship. The participant will decide the research topic in consultation with Sasakawa USA, and build his/her own itinerary (6 nights and 7 days) to conduct independent research and interviews on the selected topic.
Upon completion of the trip, the participant is required to submit a policy paper based on his/her research and findings to be featured in Sasakawa USA’s on-line publications, and will have the opportunity to present their findings to the DC policy community at an event hosted by Sasakawa USA.
Applications are Closed
Applications have closed for the Sasakawa USA 2018-2019 In-Depth Research Trip. Learn more about the Sasakawa USA In-Depth Research Trip application process.
Sonja Schaefer currently works as a Legislative Assistant handling a portfolio of issues related to trade, labor, immigration, budget, and appropriations for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her previous experience includes working as an economic research assistant investigating illicit financial flows in East Africa at the International Law and Policy Institute in Oslo, Norway, as well as working as a research assistant with the University of Macau studying Chinese investment in Ethiopia. Schaefer speaks advanced Mandarin Chinese and spent 5 months living in Beijing and studying Mandarin at Beijing Foreign Studies University. She aspires to be a specialist in Asia-Pacific trade and investment.
Schaefer holds bachelor’s degrees in both Economics and Chinese Studies from Pacific Lutheran University, and concentrated her theses on economic policy in East Asia.
For her Sasakawa USA In-Depth Research Trip, Schaefer studied how the United States and Japan can work together to combat steel excess capacity.
Daniel (Dani) Charles is the CEO and Co-Founder of Charles Bernard Ventures. Dani has extensive experience advising the U.S. government on the procurement and deployment of critical technology, as well as providing cyber-related training to groups across the Intelligence, Defense, Diplomatic and Federal Law Enforcement communities. Charles has directly supported U.S. government cyber programs, led teams specializing in cyber investigations, research and analysis, and, on numerous occasions, drafted white papers and memos for senior government audiences focused on how to bring new and innovative technology into the national security fold.
Charles is a 2017-2018 Cybersecurity Policy Fellow at New America, and was a 2016 National Security Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy. He co-teaches a graduate-level Cyber 101 workshop at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, and has spoken publicly on cyber issues in a number of capacities, to include as a guest speaker at the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Veterans Cyber Initiative, and as a panelist at the American Society of Travel Agent’s Premium Business Summit as well as its Global Convention.
Charles received his M.A. from Georgetown University, where he wrote his graduate thesis on the lessons U.S. Cyber Command can learn from U.S. Special Operations Command. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Emory University.
For his Sasakawa USA In-Depth Research Trip, Charles studied the strategic relationship between Japan and Israel as it relates to cyber, technology, and innovation, and how the United States might facilitate Japan-Israel exchange.
Sasakawa USA alumni who participate in an in-depth alumni research trip are required to submit a policy paper based on his/her research and findings to be featured in Sasakawa USA’s on-line publications. Please see below for papers written by previous participants.
Sharon Burke, October 3, 2018
Commentary and Analysis
Burke posits that Japan–playing to its strengths as a security builder–has an opportunity to improve global readiness for the great security challenges of the later part of this century, not all of which are military in nature.
Tarak Shah, July 5, 2018
Commentary and Analysis
Shah highlights current trends in the Japanese electricity market, notes areas of strength, and outlines specific changes that Japanese policy makers could implement for a safer, cleaner energy future.
Grace Ruch Clegg, May 23, 2018
Commentary and Analysis
Ruch Clegg shares her findings on the legacy, benefits, challenges, and outlook for sister city relationships between the United States and Japan. Clegg finds that despite the challenges, U.S.-Japan sister relationships remain a vibrant element of the broader bilateral relationship.
Rachel Hoff, June 8, 2016
Sasakawa USA Forum Issue No. 3
In recent years, the United States and Japan have taken significant steps toward a stronger security alliance. While recent efforts to remove some of the legal and structural obstacles that have prohibited Japan from playing a larger role in the alliance have set the stage for a new era of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation, serious challenges remain to implement and operationalize the new reforms and mechanisms.
Thomas Storch, June 1, 2016
Sasakawa USA Forum Issue No. 2
U.S.-Japan alliance coordination has historically been hindered by structural challenges, such as the lack of a mutual defense pact or a joint operational command structure. Despite longstanding efforts to bolster crisis interoperability and coordination, the alliance continues to lack an optimal structure to organize the planning and execution of complex joint operations.
Ken Sofer, May 20, 2016
Sasakawa USA Forum Issue No. 1
The 2015 Paris climate agreement was a significant achievement in international efforts against climate change, but the agreement’s success will depend heavily on the domestic politics of major emitters such as Japan and the United States. As the agreement enters the implementation phase, it is crucial for U.S. policymakers to understand the roles, interests, and relative power of the numerous political actors in Japan’s climate policy process.