Akira Muto is a global affiliate visiting scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) for 2018-19. Muto has over 25 years of experience in the Foreign Ministry of Japan with background in Russia and policy planning. He served as director of the Russian division, deputy director general (Ambassador) in charge of former Soviet Union states, as well as director of policy coordination division. Additionally, he served as director of free trade agreement and economic partnership division and the director of the fourth division of Intelligence Service. As a diplomat, his previous assignments included Washington D.C., Moscow and Boston (Consul General). In recent years, he served as Cabinet Councillor at National Security Secretariat and was engaged in various international security affairs. His research interest covers strategic relations among US-Japan Alliance, Russia and China in the Asia-Pacific region.