AJRC Fellowship 2017-18: Fellow Feedback (part 1)

The Australia-Japan Research Centre in association with leading Japanese research institutes was pleased to offer an exciting opportunity for late-year undergraduate and postgraduate Australian university students with a strong interest in Japan and Australia-Japan relations to undertake research in Japan in 2017.

From March to December 2017, two AJRC fellows spent time in Japan undertaking a research project on a policy-relevant topic in politics and international relations. This included an internship at a policy-relevant organisation.

One of the 2017 AJRC Fellows, Hannah Harmelin, told us about her research experience in Japan:

“During my time with the Asia Pacific Initiative (API, formerly known as the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation) I was able to pursue my research on Japan’s role in the Pacific Islands region, and also engage with the ongoing projects of API’s US-Japan Strategic Vision program.

Through this program I was part of a team of API staff and interns coordinating the 4th annual US-Japan Military Statesmen Forum held in Washington DC in July 2017, a strategic dialogue between the United States and Japan to address issues of strategic importance to both countries.

I benefited from the guidance of my supervisor Mr Yoichi Kato, API Senior Research Fellow and former national security correspondent for the Asashi Shimbun, who I consulted on understanding and evaluating Japan’s strategic and diplomatic interests in the Pacific region in particular. I also received support and advice from Ms Kay Kitazawa, API Executive Vice President, regarding research and policy processes in Japan as compared to Australia.

I found the experience highly beneficial — it connected to my studies in Security and International Relations of the Asia Pacific at the ANU, and my interest in Japan’s strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region and more specifically the Pacific Islands. The fellowship allowed me to access resources of universities and libraries in Japan, and I also received assistance from Ms Mana Takahashi, a 2016 National Parliamentary Fellowship Program scholar to the ANU who is a PhD candidate at Nagoya University. My research report examined opportunities and challenges for Japanese foreign aid in the Pacific Islands as the aid landscape in the region becomes increasingly crowded and Japan seeks to serve its broader ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ strategy.

I am very grateful to the Australia-Japan Research Centre and the Japan Foundation for the opportunity to undertake this fellowship with the Asia Pacific Initiative, develop my research skills and deepen my connections to the policy and think tank community in Japan.”

The 2017 AJRC Fellowship was supported by funding from the Japan Foundation, Sydney.

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