U.S.-Japan Task Force

Mansfield Foundation Task Force on Crafting a Contemporary U.S.-Japan Vision for Shared Progress and Prosperity

Overview | 日本語| Participant Biographies

To commemorate the 2012 centennial celebration of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, in partnership with the Japan Commerce Association of Washington (JCAW) and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York (JCCI), has launched the “Mansfield Foundation Task Force on Crafting a Contemporary U.S.-Japan Vision for Shared Progress and Prosperity.” The task force, part of a broader initiative by JCAW and JCCI to commemorate the Cherry Blossom Centennial*, cultivates a next generation of American Japan experts from the private sector, academia, and government. The Mansfield Foundation is deeply grateful to the sponsors of the Cherry Blossom Centennial Commemoration Project.

The task force met together four times between 2011 and the end of 2012 in Japan and the U.S, working independently to develop a modern vision for the U.S.-Japan relationship that reflects an evolving geopolitical context in the Asia Pacific and the realities of an increasingly globalized world. This vision, which recommends forward-looking strategic initiatives through which the two countries can contribute to mutual economic strength and vitality, has been published here:

Between November 29th and December 5th, Task Force members Robert Pekkanen, Mireya Solis, Kay Shimizu, David Boling, Gordon Flake, and Senior Advisor Ambassador Tom Schieffer traveled to six cities throughout Japan and publicly rolled out their vision through a series of public seminars. The public seminar events occurred at the following locations and dates, with more detailed information available by clicking on the links provided:

Thursday, November 29th, Sapporo

Friday, November 30th, Sendai

Saturday, December 1st, Kyoto

Monday, December 3rd, Nagoya

Tuesday, December 4th, Osaka

Wednesday, December 5th, Kumamoto

The task force project is intended to benefit long-term U.S.-Japan relations not solely through the development of the vision statement, but also by fostering a cohort of talented, dedicated, and impactful individuals who are invested in facilitating effective and thoughtful U.S.-Japan cooperation for the 21st century. This group will meet regularly in the future to reassess and republish its original recommendations.


The task force is guided by a Senior Advisory Committee comprised of three prominent senior Japan experts:

  • The Honorable Tom Schieffer, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan (2005-2009) and Member, Mansfield Foundation Board of Directors
  • Alicia Ogawa, Senior Advisor, Columbia Business School and Member, Mansfield Foundation Board of Directors
  • Kent Calder, Director, Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies and Director, Japan Studies, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

Task force members include:

  • David Boling, Former Vice President of The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and Alumni Mansfield Fellow
  • Emma Chanlett-Avery, Specialist, Asian Affairs, Congressional Research Service
  • Harrison Cook, Vice President of International Government Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company.
  • Nathaniel Graddy, Director, Operations and Strategy, Boeing Japan
  • Keith Krulak, International Economist, U.S. Department of State and Alumni Mansfield Fellow
  • Robert Pekkanen, Chair, Japan Studies Program, University of Washington and U.S.-Japan Network for the Future Participant
  • Jennifer Sklarew, PhD candidate, George Mason University and Alumni Mansfield Fellow
  • Kay Shimizu, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University and U.S.-Japan Network for the Future Participant
  • Mireya Solis, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, Senior Fellow, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution and Associate Professor at American University

Meeting 1, Montana, September 2011

The Mansfield Foundation Task Force convened for the first time for a retreat in Bigfork Montana in September, 2011. This first meeting, an intensive two-day private workshop, afforded an opportunity for task force members to explore issues in the U.S.-Japan relationship through the lenses of their particular backgrounds and experience. From this exercise, and under the guidance of Ambassador Schieffer, Ms. Ogawa, and Dr. Calder, the task force formulated the outline of a contemporary vision for the U.S.-Japan relationship.

Members of the Mansfield Foundation Task Force, Montana, September 2011

Meeting 2, Tokyo, December 2012

In order to further develop the rough vision that the task force drafted during its meeting in Montana, the group reconvened in Tokyo from December 13th-16th, 2011. The primary purpose of this meeting was to better understand circumstances and sentiments in Japan while simultaneously seeking input from a variety of Japanese individuals with particular stakes in the U.S.-Japan relationship. Over three days the task force members and senior advisors held thirteen meetings with over fifty forward-thinking Japanese and Japan-based stakeholders from the Japanese government, the U.S. Embassy Japan, small and medium-sized enterprises, multinational businesses, non-governmental organizations, and academia. The task force heard a wide variety of impressive insights, many of which will factor into the task force’s ultimate vision statement. The task force met again briefly in February 2012 for a review session, identifying the key takeaways from the Tokyo meeting, and integrating lessons learned into the vision statement.

Members of the task force heard perspectives from the Japanese Diet in Tokyo, December 2012. Pictured here are the Honorable Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Honorable Mieko Nakabayashi, and Senior Advisory Committee member Kent Calder (SAIS).


Task force members worked towards a draft of their vision for U.S.-Japan relations, which they shared publicly in a June 6th seminar in Washington , D.C. The seminar provided the opportunity for the task force and senior committee members to engage with the public and broader policy community on their vision, with the aim of incorporating feedback from this session into a final vision released in Fall 2012. Following the public release, task force members will undertake a similar outreach in Japan.

Further details of the June 6th seminar is finalized and posted on the Mansfield Foundation and JCAW websites at the time of the Cherry Blossom Centennial in April 2012.

*The Cherry Blossom Centennial Commemoration Project is co-organized by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington DC and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York with the support of Embassy of Japan. All the official programs of the Cherry Blossom Centennial Commemoration Project are Sponsored by JCAW Foundation, as well as JCC Fund.


First task force meeting, Montana, September 2011


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