Date and Time
Sep. 5 (Thu.) 1:00pm-3:00pm
South American B, 2nd Floor, Capital Hilton
1001 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
The re-election of Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister in December 2012 changed the economic and political landscape radically and rapidly. Abe’s decision to promote monetary easing schemes as a tool to help Japan overcome deflation, which has stalled the Japanese economy for many years, contributed to Abe's high degree of public support. Taking advantage of the trend, Abe then announced Japan’s official participation in the TPP negotiation in March 2013, the decision of which had been viewed as extremely difficult during the DPJ era due to powerful farming lobbies and strong oppositions by politicians from rural constituencies. This means Japan and the United States would be able to forge a partnership to disseminate trade and investment policy norms based on those of developed countries, including ones relating to labor and environmental regulations.
On the other hand, Japan does a significant volume of trade with major Asian countries such as China, South Korea, India, and Indonesia, none of whom currently participate in TPP, and, many Japanese companies have set up a wide range of production networks involving these countries. In addition, these non-TPP members in Asia tend to protect some of their key industries (e.g., China imposes a 25% tariff on automobiles), so progress in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an East Asian integration framework, is also important as a tool to open these key markets to Japanese exports.
The TPP can be also viewed as a means of strengthening strategic relations with the United States - the key nation for maintaining regional stability. If the TPP is regarded as a key component of US President Barack Obama’s “pivot” or “rebalancing” to Asia, whose primary aim is to check China’s aggressive behavior in maritime territorial disputes in the East and South China Sea, it could be argued that the TPP is a political tool intended to assist this American strategic objective as well as those of its allies and partners.
This seminar, jointly organized by the Brookings Institution and WOJUSS, intends to examine the implications of the emerging regional structure initiated by the development of the TPP, especially after Japan joined the negotiation in July 2013. The issues highlighted includes how both governments can overcome differing domestic regulatory systems to conclude the TPP; how Japan balances the TPP negotiations and the RCEP initiatives; how Japan and the US can engage with China through the promotion of their common economic rules and norms, and how the Abe administration can respond to Obama’s Pivot strategy.
Takashi Terada, Operating Adviser, U.S.-Japan Research Institute / Professor, Doshisha University
Masahiko Gemma, Operating Adviser, U.S.-Japan Research Institute / Professor, Waseda University
Mireya Solis, Knight Chair in Japan Studies and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies / Associate Professor, American University