Episode 17

Japan’s Foreign Policy: The Art of Persuasion?

Released on August 17, 2020

This episode, in a collaboration with the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, we turn our attention to Japan - specifically its foreign policy. Against a backdrop of rising tensions between the U.S. and China, what are Japan’s priorities when it comes to managing its relations with the two countries? As the world’s third largest economy, it holds considerable clout both within the Asia region and globally. But how can it best utilise this influence, and what does it perceive its role to be within a shifting world order? Andrew is joined by Akio Takahara, a law professor at Tokyo University and an adjunct fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs; and Yuka Kobayashi, a China and International Politics scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Akio Takahara

Akio Takahara is Professor of Contemporary Chinese Politics at the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo. He is an adjunct fellow of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a senior fellow of the Tokyo Foundation, and a senior fellow of the Japan Forum on International Relations. Before joining the University of Tokyo, he taught at Rikkyo University and J. F. Oberlin University. He also served as Secretary General of the New Japan-China Friendship 21st Century Committee, President of the Japan Association for Asian Studies, and a Programme Officer of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. He spent several years as Visiting Scholar at the School of International Studies at Peking University, the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University, and the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. He received his D.Phil. from the University of Sussex.

Yuka Kobayashi

Yuka Kobayashi is Lecturer and Assistant Professor in China and International Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and Visiting Research Professor at Nankai University. Prior to joining SOAS, she was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include International Relations of China, International Law, Trade and Investment, Human Rights and Climate Change/Energy. She has advised various governments, think-tanks and international organisations on these subjects. She was an expert witness for the U.K. Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on China and the International Economic Order. After receiving a LL.B. (specialisation in Public International Law) from Kyoto University, she studied Mandarin and Chinese International Politics at Nankai University and then obtained her M.Phil. and D.Phil. at the University of Oxford.