The IAFOR Research Centre and the Osaka School of International Public Policy, at Osaka University, hosted two visiting lectures on Thursday, July 26, 2018. The first speaker, Dr Yukinori Komine (Associate Researcher at the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies at Harvard University and Associate Professor of International Relations at American Public University) focused on the relationship between Japan and the United States. The second, Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr. (Lecturer at Leiden University, in the Netherlands) discussed the US policy and human rights. The lectures were attended by about forty students and professors, and both generated vigorous discussions and debates.
Dr Yukinori Komine: Special Talk No. 7
"Understanding the US-Japan Alliance: An Overview of Key Concepts, Events, and Issues"
Dr Komine started the day by introducing the audience to the background of US-Japan relations and giving particular attention to the role of continuity in Japanese domestic politics, and the constant tension between potential entrapment as a US subject and abandonment by the world’s superpower.
He then discussed the changing international order with a focus on how the role of the United States in international politics may be changing. Many in the audience expressed great interest in Dr Komine’s observation that “no alliance lasts forever” as he delved into the possible outcomes of a declining US role in Asia. There was much debate amongst students and staff about how the US-Japan relationship could change if the power of the United States wanes as China’s increases.
Dr Salvador Santino Fulo Regilme Jr.: Special Talk No. 8
"One Great Nation under Trump? Global Human Rights in Distress amidst American Decline"
Following seamlessly on Dr Komine’s lecture, Dr Regilme reiterated the concerns of how international relations might change if American power declines. However, Dr Regilme focused his discussion on the potential impact on human rights. He noted that the predominant view of human rights under US hegemony has been on civil and political rights with material rights often being neglected. He argued that this prioritizing of political rights has been driven by an American economic view of neoliberalism, which opened the question to the audience of how the international community may come to see human rights in a different light if the neoliberal system endorsed by the United States begins to fail.
Both lectures engaged the students in a critical analysis of what it means if US power and influence is in decline. The discussions ranged from issues specific to Japan and East Asia to broader questions about the changing world order and international institutions. The IAFOR Research Centre, OSIPP, and Osaka University, as well as all of the students and staff, extend their gratitude to the speakers for lending their time and expertise. It was a memorable event, and all in attendance benefited from the lectures and the discussions that followed.
See photos from the events and read detailed reports from IRC Research Associates on the IAFOR Research Centre Website.