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Diet Roundtable & Thought Leaders Seminar: Japan’s Support for the Liberal International Order

Tokyo, June 19–20, 2018

JCIE organized a series of meetings on June 19–20 to explore Japan’s approach to supporting the liberal international order and democratic governance in Asia, including a roundtable with eight leading Diet members and a seminar with policy experts, government officials, journalists, and other opinion leaders. These featured renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University and the president of the US National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, as guest speakers, and they were organized as part of a JCIE pilot project on Japan’s role in supporting democratic governance.

On June 19, eight senior Japanese Diet from the ruling and opposition parties, including former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (chairman, Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party), exchanged views with Fukuyama, Gershman, and the JCIE study team on growing challenges in Asia to the rule of law and democratic practices.

Then, on June 20, two dozen influential thinkers from a variety of sectors, including academia, think tanks, government, and the media, met for a lively discussion on how Japan can take a more strategic approach to supporting democracy and the international liberal order—both on its own and in conjunction with the United States and other leading democracies. The discussion featured Gershman and Fukuyama as initial speakers and it was chaired by former UN Under-Secretary-General Yukio Takasu. Participants debated issues such as the strength of Japanese support for human rights; the ways in which electoral assistance can support democracy but can also provide cover for authoritarians who use elections to justify an otherwise undemocratic regime; and how the legacy of history constrains what Japan has historically been able to do in Asia.