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JUSFC Meet Our Grantees Series: The National Bureau of Asian Research
February 9, 2017
JUSFC is delighted to support the National Bureau of Asian Research’s (NBR) Pacific Trilateralism project. Pacific Trilaterism is designed to increase public understanding of the evolution of the dynamics between the United States, Japan and South Korea, and how the three nations can work jointly to strengthen their relationship in the coming decades.
“Grant support from JUSFC was critical for this project because it allowed NBR to engage and inform key Members of Congress and the media,” says Dan Aum, Director of NBR Government and Media Relations. “Our goal is not to just present issues, but also to provide informed recommendations derived from our network of experts to key policymakers.”
The first phase of the project identified scholars from each of the three countries to author policy briefs that addressed the history of the trilateral relationship from their own country’s perspective. Daniel Sneider of Stanford University, Yoshihide Soeya of Keio University, and Yul Sohn of Yonsei University, authored preliminary briefs that would later develop into a larger report and be the focal point for a policy event on Capitol Hill.
The second phase of Pacific Trilateralism began in late 2016 and will continue through August 2017. Later this year, experts will travel to Japan and South Korea for in-depth discussions with stakeholders in Seoul and Tokyo. The groundwork for this visit was laid at a Washington, D.C. workshop where the experts identified four key issues in the trilateral relationship: regional security threats, energy security threats, non-traditional security threats, and cyber and new frontiers.
“The Trilateralism workshop occurred the day after the U.S. Presidential election, and leading up to it most people in the room probably had a configured mindset of what was going to happen,” Dan Aum recalls. “That morning there was a broad shift in thinking. It highlighted the need for this type of work. Information is critical and informed views really energize and make better policy.”
The workshops in Japan and South Korea will dive deeper into the identified issues. NBR is excited to receive feedback from stakeholders on what they think is important, interesting or innovative in moving the relationship forward.
“It’s a pivotal time in U.S. and Korean policy,” adds Program Director Alison Szalwinski. “This type of engagement with Japanese stakeholders is very helpful because of our strong mutual ties.”
Aum and Szalwinski say the Pacific Trilateralism project will be an enduring investment in the broader trilateral relationship itself. It creates a virtuous cycle in which NBR will highlight the U.S.-Japan relationship through media outreach and social media to inform decision makers and the public. NBR will continue to use the materials they developed through the JUSFC grant well beyond the grant cycle.