The U.S.-Japan relationship is not much in the headlines these days—and when it is the stories seem to focus on issues, such as Okinawa and beef, that have bedeviled ties seemingly for decades. But, in the midst of seismic shifts in Asia-Pacific security and global economic relations, shouldn’t the two countries be talking about something else?
Many in American industry have thought so and in 2009 the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan released a white paper calling for a new set of discussions with Japan directed at capturing the innovation and growth potential of the emerging global Internet economy. Accompanying the call were a set of over 70 specific recommendations for discussion in areas ranging from privacy, security, intellectual property, spectrum management, cyber security to competition—an agenda for the future not the past.
The paper found resonance with the new Democratic Party government in Japan and the Obama administration that were searching for a new direction and vocabulary for U.S.-Japan economic relations and were mindful that partnership with Japan in this area strengthened the U.S. hand in dealing with preemptive attempts elsewhere to define rule of the road for the Internet and “cloud computing.”
The Dialogue was formally launched in the fall of 2010 and its third plenary session is taking place in Washington, D.C. October 16 to 19, 2012. Professor Jim Foster is participating in the Dialogue as a leading member of the U.S. private sector delegation to the talks. He will be coming to Stanford immediately following the joint industry-government meeting on October 18 (the governments will continue in closed-door session through the 19th) and will offer his analysis and insight into the discussions in Washington and their implications for future cooperation between Japan and the U.S. industry in the cloud computing field and for the two governments on challenging issues of broader Internet governance.
Jim Foster is currently a professor in the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University, where he teaches and researches on U.S. foreign policy issues and global Internet policy. He is the co-director of Keio’s Internet and Society Institute. Foster worked as a U.S. diplomat from 1981 to 2006, serving in Japan, Korea, the Philippines and at the U.S. Mission to the EU. He was director for corporate affairs at Microsoft Japan from 2006 to 2011. He is a former vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and a co-author of the ACCJ White Paper on the Internet Economy.