Japan Update 2021

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details


Date & time

Wednesday 08 September 2021


Onine via Zoom


Keiichiro Kobayashi, Shiro Armstrong, Ippei Fujiwara, Sawada Yasuyuki, Yoko Ibuka, Nana Oishi, Lauren Richardson, Jun Mukoyama, Llewelyn Hughes


Australia-Japan Research Centre
+61 2 6125 8247

Japan Update 2021 recordings

Session 1 (Welcome and opening, Keynote Speech, Panel 1: The Impact of COVID-19 on Japanese Society)

Session 2 (Panel 2: Science, Defence and Technology)

Session 3 (Panel 3: Governance Challenges)

Event Summary

The Japan Update 2021 was held on 8 September via webinar. Bringing together experts from Australia, Japan and the region, the Update focused on the impact of COVID-19 on Japanese society and prospects for recovery, governance challenges and science, defence and technology issues.

The Update is the flagship conference of the Australia-Japan Research Centre (AJRC) in the Crawford School of Public Policy and the Japan Institute at The Australian National University.

Holding the Update as a webinar provided our speakers with the unique opportunity to reach an audience that extended far beyond Canberra, with members of industry, business and academia from Japan, Australia and across the region in attendance. The 2020 Update featured three panels via Zoom webinar.

Professor Sawada Yasuyuki (University of Tokyo) delivered the opening keynote speech on Japan and Asia after COVID-19, highlighting the economic impact of the pandemic on the region and examining the role of the Asian Development Bank in its recovery.

Dr Lauren Richardson (ANU) chaired the first panel on the impact of COVID-19 on Japanese Society. Associate Professor Nana Oishi (University of Melbourne) outlined the impact of COVID-19 on migration in Japan, with a focus on government support for migrants, remaining challenges and what migration in post-COVID-19 Japan will look like. Professor Yoko Ibuka (Keio University) suicide in Japan in the context of COVID-19, the drivers of its increase throughout the pandemic and its implications for public policy. 

The second panel was chaired by Professor Ippei Fujiwara (Keio University & ANU) and focused on science, defence and technology issues. Jun Mukoyama (Asia Pacific Initiative) outlined Japan’s challenges in digitalisation, particularly focusing on the transition away from fax machines and the embrace of new forms of digital modernisation. Yuki Tatsumi (Stimson Center) joined from Washington D.C. to share her insights on the existing and upcoming defence challenges for Japan, highlighting how Japan’s defence establishment is seeking to respond and adapt to the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data. Associate Professor Llewelyn Hughes (ANU) outlined the road ahead after Japan’s net-zero emissions announcement, and the challenge of reconciling these goals with Japan’s current public policy environment.

Professor Ippei Fujiwara (Keio University & ANU) chaired the final panel on Japan’s governance challenges. Professor Keiichiro Kobayashi (Keio University) shared his views on Japan’s governance issues on policy measures in response to COVID-19, citing inter-agency coordination failures, fiscal policy issues and loose border controls. Motoko Rich (The New York Times) the current political and crisis governance landscape in Japan, touching on the implications of the Olympics and Paralympics, factional politics and the Yoshihide Suga resignation and the rising influence and power of younger politicians and women and other traditionally marginalised voices in Japanese political leadership. Associate Professor Shiro Armstrong (ANU) outlined Japan’s new economic-security policies as a response to US-China strategic competition and an increasingly uncertain external environment.

The Japan Update 2021 was supported by the Australia-Japan Research Centre and the Japan Institute at the Australian National University.

Take a look at previous Updates, podcasts, and speakers via the links below.

Japan Update 2020

Japan’s Choices Beyond COVID-19

Japan Update 2019

Leadership in a time of uncertainty

Japan Update 2018

Peak Japan

Japan Update 2017

Seeking new directions

Japan Update 2016

Reinventing Japan

Japan Update 2015

Event summary

Japan Update 2014

Event summary

Japan Update 2013

Event summary

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