Connecting People & Ideas to Advance Mutual Interests in U.S.-Asia Relations

Next Generation of U.S.-Japan Nuclear Policy Experts

Purpose of the Program

The “Mansfield Next Generation of U.S.-Japan Nuclear Policy Experts” training program aims to nurture a new generation of nuclear experts who will contribute to the strengthening of U.S.-Japan security relations and grow into leaders and policymakers with a comprehensive understanding of regional nuclear security dynamics.

Program Timeline

March-August 2023 | Participants will attend virtual interactive webinars, featuring speakers discussing global nuclear politics and history; nuclear security dynamics in the Indo-Pacific; and arms control; and the future of nuclear agreements.

September 10-17, 2023 | Participants travel to Washington, D.C. for the 7-day in-person training program. Facilitated by the Foundation, the students will meet with key nuclear experts from academia and think tanks as well as practitioners from the U.S. government.

December 2023 | Participants will work in groups and submit a short policy-relevant piece for online publication with the Mansfield Foundation.

January 2024 | Japanese participants will have the opportunity to present their research and talk about their experience during the program to Japanese college and graduate students.

Meet the Cohort

Alice Dell’Era is a Ph.D. Candidate in International Relations at the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs at Florida International University. As part of her dissertation, she is researching Japan’s contributions to its alliance with the United States, specifically examining how Tokyo sustains this alliance’s objectives through its pursuit of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific discourse.

Alice is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Geopolitical Studies “,” an Italian think tank that closely collaborates with research centers at the University of Roma La Sapienza. As a member of the China and Indo-Pacific Desk, she has written about the U.S. alliance network, U.S.-Japan relations, Japan-Italy relations, NATO’s perspective on Asia, and the broader security dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region. Alice is also part of the Spring 2022 Cohort of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program.

Alice holds a BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Bergamo, an MA in Modern Languages for Communication and International Cooperation from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and an MA in International Studies from Florida International University.


Samanvya Hooda is a Security Studies M.A. student at Georgetown University, and a graduate research assistant to Dr. Keir Lieber and Dr. Caitlin Talmadge. He is also a Defense Analysis Research Assistant at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, and a 2023 CSIS Nuclear Scholar. Prior to his studies at Georgetown, he worked at the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi, researching conventional deterrence, China’s military, and the China-India-Pakistan nuclear triangle. Samanvya received a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, India. His research interests lie in escalation dynamics, nuclear trilemmas, emerging technologies, and Indo-Pacific security.


Alden “Eli” Horton is a Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (MIIS) and a Graduate Research Assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). At CNS, Eli supports the center’s educational training, events, and programs that introduce nuclear nonproliferation and security topics to high school and undergraduate students in the U.S., Russia, and Japan. At MIIS, Eli is a Conflict Transformation Cohort Fellow with the Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation where he conducts research on U.S.-Russia arms control efforts in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Eli’s interest in U.S.-Japan nuclear policy began when he met a group of hibakusha (Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors) and heard them advocate for nuclear disarmament. These testimonies stimulated his interest in U.S.-Japan diplomacy as he began exploring the U.S.-Japan security relationship and the cornerstone of this correspondence, the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. His other areas of interest in nuclear security include nonproliferation policy and diplomacy, strategic arms control, and strategic export controls.


Miho Kawamoto was born in Hiroshima and is passionate about becoming an expert in the fields of nuclear security and non-proliferation. During her time abroad in the U.S. as a high school exchange student, she was astonished to find that she was the only student in the American History class who believed that using the atomic bomb against Japan during World War II was not justified. She became aware that such a difference might have arisen from the fact that she knew the stories of atomic bomb survivors, while her American classmates did not. Such divergent views resulted in further developing her interest in nuclear deterrence. Her curiosity in this topic drove her to focus on international politics and security issues surrounding nuclear weapons during her undergraduate studies. After graduating with a Bachelor of Law and International Politics, she enrolled in the University of Tokyo’s Master’s Program in Public Policy to increase her knowledge, and to pursue her dream of becoming a policy expert.


Ryo Kiridori is a research fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), a Tokyo-based think tank affiliated with Japan’s Ministry of Defense, which he joined in 2016. He is also in the political science PhD program in at the University of Toronto, with a focus on international relations and comparative politics. His research interests include foreign policy analysis, alliance politics, and international politics of the Indo-Pacific. From 2018 to 2019, Ryo was cross appointed to the Defense Policy Division and Strategic Planning Division in the Bureau of Defense Policy where he engaged in drafting Japan’s mid-to-long-term defense strategy called National Defense Program Guidelines as well as in various policy-level strategic dialogues, including the Japan-US Extended Deterrence Dialogue. At NIDS, he specializes in US and Japanese defense strategies, on which he has written several book chapters, articles, and commentaries. He holds a BA in political science from the University of New Brunswick, where he was awarded the Richard B. Hatfield Prize in Political Science for the highest academic average, and an MSc in international relations from London School of Economics and Political Science.


Hiroko Kurosaki is a first-year graduate student at Nagasaki University. Hiroko is currently studying the stories of Japanese American A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) for her senior thesis as part of the Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Course Group. Hiroko’s strong interest in nuclear issues stems from her upbringing in Nagasaki. She has developed a particular interest in the history of A-bomb related issues and nuclear weapons dynamics. Hiroko graduated from the University of the Ryukyus (Okinawa) in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature. Through works of literature, she enthusiastically learned about the history of Japanese Americans during WWII. Hiroko aspires to be a journalist who works with people from various backgrounds.


Nahoko Miki, an MPP candidate at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy, is a Japanese student whose research interests are security policy and strategic communication. She is interested in East Asia’s nuclear security dynamics, and the role of the U.S.-Japan security alliance in the geopolitical stability of that region. She researches the dilemma between nuclear deterrence and nuclear disarmament. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Economics from a dual degree program between Sciences Po Paris (at the Euro-Asian campus in Le Havre) and Keio University. She has experience as a communication and marketing intern at the Japan office of two global companies, where she gained analytics and project management skills.



Takanobu Sato is a PhD candidate at Waseda University. His research interests focus on governance mechanisms of science, technology and innovation initiatives, especially, in the context of international security. His expertise includes international export control regimes, and correlated national policy. He has conducted policy and technology research to enhance efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons, and related materials and technology. Most recently, he has been involved in policy research on industrial and technological cooperation as an expert at the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation. His research aims to accelerate the understandings of the needs and advantages of both the Japanese public sector and industry in order to intensify defense and technological cooperation. At an earlier stage of his career, he worked as a consultant providing advisory to public and private sector on a variety of issues, including defense industry and technology, cyber security, security export control and supply chain. He has presented at major international conferences and published several articles in Japan.


Sayaka Shingu is a doctoral candidate of Hitotsubashi University and an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan since 2010. As Assistant Director at the Arms Control and Disarmament Division, she contributed to developing Japan’s position on arms control and nonproliferation affairs, including the INF Treaty, New START, the future of arms control, and the 10th NPT Review Conference. She is currently writing a dissertation on the influences of China and Japan on the U.S. decisions during the INF Treaty negotiations, aiming to provide a different perspective from the traditional arguments centered on the United States, Russia and NATO views. She presented her doctoral research at a capstone conference of the CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues in 2022, and has publications in Nonproliferation Review and Bombshelltoe. She was an intern of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in 2013, a 2020-2022 fellow of the Japan-US partnership program at the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and a 2021-2022 fellow of the Arms Control Negotiation Academy. Sayaka holds a M.A. in Non-proliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and B.A. in Law and Politics at University of Tokyo.


Jordan Smith is a master’s student at American University in Washington, D.C. specializing in U.S. foreign policy and nuclear security. She currently works for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, where she researches issues such as why Afghanistan’s government collapsed in 2021. However, her passions lie in studying the politics of nuclear weapons. She has previous experience at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Counterproliferation Initiatives, where she worked on sanctions packages against entities of concern during the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine. In the summer of 2022 she took a course with Brookhaven National Laboratory on safeguarding nuclear materials, and during her undergraduate studies she wrote a thesis on the psychology of a leader’s decision to use nuclear weapons. In 2023, she will begin a one-year term with the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration as an NGFP Fellow.


Jayden Thomas is originally from Kentucky and received his BA in political science and international affairs from Western Kentucky University in 2021. He is currently a graduate student at George Washington University where he is pursuing an MA in Asian Studies with a focus on Japan and international security. He is a two-time alumnus of the Critical Language Scholarship Japanese program (2019, 2021) and a Gilman Alumnus. He studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University and was a public affairs intern with the U.S. Consulate in Naha, Okinawa.


Hiroki Watanabe is a Ph.D. student in the School of Social and Human Sciences at Tokyo Institute of Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a Master of Arts degree from Tokyo Institute of Technology.  Prior to starting his master’s degree program, he had an internship experience at the Mansfield Foundation’s Tokyo Office, where he had assisted and worked together with the Mansfield Staff. By drawing upon archival sources of both U.S. and Japanese government agencies, he conducts empirical research on the development of U.S.-Japan alliance. He is highly interested in the defense policies of Japan and the United States during the Cold War, particularly in the 1970s. He completed his master’s thesis by analyzing the U.S. Navy’s readjustment of its base realignment plan in the Western Pacific, which culminated in the cancellation of the planned reversion of Yokosuka Naval Base to Japan in 1971.  He is also a member of the Tokyo Tech-Tsinghua University Joint Graduate Program. In this dual-degree program, he focuses on the trilateral relations of Japan, the United States, and China as well as China-related contemporary issues, such as the Belt and Road Initiative.


Lily Wojtowicz is a Ph.D. Candidate at American University in the School for International Service’s department of International Relations and the Janne E. Nolan Nuclear Security Fellow at the Truman Center. Her dissertation, “Extended Nuclear Deterrence: How Allies Assess Credibility During Crises,” explores how nuclear states assess their reliance on another’s nuclear arsenal during crises of confidence. She received an M.A. in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a B.A. in International Relations from Beloit College. Wojtowicz has previously worked for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.


Koichi Yoneda is a Ph. D. student studying international relations and security studies at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. His areas of interest are maritime strategy, defense cooperation, and security affairs in the Indo-Pacific region. His research focus is on security frameworks in South East Asia. He is a serving officer in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and is currently working as an instructor/researcher at the JMSDF Command and Staff College. Koichi is a graduate of the National Defense Academy (NDA) and holds a bachelor’s degree in science, and a master’s degree in Policy Studies from GRIPS. Koichi joined the JMSDF in 2007 after graduating from the NDA and is a helicopter pilot. He has engaged in international cooperation activities both in and out of Japan. In private, he enjoys tennis with his family. He and his family are actively involved in child welfare work and fostering.



The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes understanding and cooperation in U.S.-Asia relations.  Maureen and Mike Mansfield’s values, ideals and vision for U.S.-Asia relations continue through the Foundation’s exchanges, dialogues, research and educational programs, which create networks among U.S. and Asian leaders, explore the underlying issues influencing public policies, and increase awareness about the nations and peoples of Asia.  The Foundation has offices in Washington, DC; Tokyo, Japan; and Missoula, Montana.

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Funding is generously provided by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo