Scholars Examine Japan’s Future

Three Japanese visiting scholars presented their end-of-term findings after a yearlong research position at Harvard, addressing Japan’s trade, business, and food security landscape at a panel discussion yesterday in CGIS North.

The presentations marked the end of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations Seminar series, which was sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Taiji Furusawa kicked off the panel with a discussion on the effects of capital movements on international trade.

In particular, Furusawa focused on how investment funds tend to move from the least developed nations to the most developed nations, crossing a conceptual border often referred to as the “North-South divide.”

“Capital moves from the country with less developed financial institutions to the country with the developed financial institution,” Furusawa said.

As a result, developed nations tend to attract more high-quality entrepreneurial projects, further exacerbating inequality.

Following Furusawa’s presentation, research associates Masaki Tone and Tsuyoshi Nozoe presented their work, which also focused on the Japanese economy.

Tone discussed his research on the significant role that small and medium-sized enterprises play in economic development in Japan and the U.S.

Nozoe talked about his research on food security in twenty-first century Japan. He concluded that climate change has caused a shortage in agricultural production at various times in recent decades, making the maintenance of an adequate food stock an important priority.

Moderator and Director of the Program Susan J. Pharr was the first to ask a question of the panelists on Japan’s recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.

“For the past 10 years, Japan has been 40 percent self-sufficient ... Will that balance be affected as consumer confidence takes a while to adjust to eating food from [the affected] regions?”

Nozoe said that while the amount of farmland rendered unusable by the crisis was small, Japan’s agricultural industry may face a “reputation risk.”

“My task is to inform the accurate data and recover the reputation of the Japanese agriculture production,” he added.

In fact, all three of the scholars will be at the forefront of Japan’s recovery, according to Pharr. They will be engaged with nuclear policy, fisheries, and agriculture in the process of “finding solutions to Japan’s current crises,” she said.

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