Japan's Response to Covid-19: Political Leadership and Crisis Response

Japan's Response to Covid-19: Political Leadership and Crisis Response

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Via Zoom Webinar. Register at https://bit.ly/3e1r7FZ

  • Akihisa Shiozaki, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu,
  • Harukata Takenka, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies,
  • Kenji Kushida, Shorenstein APARC Japan Program

In keeping with the State of California's shelter-in-place orders, this event is available through livestream only. Please register in advance for the webinar by using the link below.

REGISTRATION LINKhttps://bit.ly/3e1r7FZ

The time of this event has changed to 4:30pm-5:30pm PDT.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, Japan is experiencing its second wave of coronavirus outbreak, following a first wave early on, just as it had become clear that the virus was spreading rapidly from Wuhan. In late February, travel restrictions were followed by Prime Minister Abe’s call for school closures. But as the pandemic raged through parts of Europe and then the United States, and as a growing number of countries issued shelter-in-place orders and lockdowns, Japan seemed relatively unscathed. Concerns then escalated and calls for voluntarily restricting peoples’ movement started in earnest following the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics. On April 6, Prime Minister Abe declared a state of emergency for seven prefectures.

This panel brings together expertise on Japan’s political leadership with experience in Japan’s crisis management. Professor Harukata Takenaka has long studied how Japan’s political leadership has evolved, while Mr. Akihisa Shiozaki, an expert on crisis management, was a core member of Japan’s first private-sector investigative report after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

This is the first in an APARC-wide series of virtual seminars that explore Asian countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Held throughout the spring quarter, each event is led by one of APARC’s programs.


Aki Shiozaki Headshot

Akihisa Shiozaki, Partner, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Akihisa Shiozaki is widely recognized for his expertise in corporate crisis management, including regulatory investigations, white collar defense, product recall, labor/employment disputes, import/export control, cyber security, media interaction and various corporate governance issues, especially those with multi-jurisdictional or parallel civil and criminal components. In recent years, he has advised both domestic and foreign clients in resolving a number of the most high profile corporate crises cases relating to Japan, including the LIBOR/TIBOR manipulation investigation, FX manipulation investigation, global product recall by a Japan auto-parts manufacturer, international trade secret theft in the semiconductor industry, government investigations against a global pharmaceutical corporation operating in Japan, and his representation of the former CEO of Olympus Corporation who brought light to the company's recent accounting scandal. He is recognized by Legal 500 as a Leading Individual in the field of Risk Management and Investigations. In 2017, Akihisa was awarded the Compliance / Investigations Lawyer of the Year at the Asian Legal Awards hosted by The American Lawyer, in association with The Asian Lawyer, China Law & Practice and Legal Week.

Akihisa worked in the Prime Minister’s office as senior policy advisor from 2006 to 2007 and is knowledgeable in Japanese regulations /rules and governmental procedures, as well as having rich experience dealing with the media. He also serves as the vice-chairman of the Anti-Yakuza Committee at the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association and has authored many related publications. He graduated from the University of Tokyo (LL.B.), holds an M.A. in international policy from Stanford University, and completed his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he served as class president.

Harukata Takenaka Headshot

Harukata Takenka, Professor of Political Science, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

Harukata Takenaka is a professor of political science at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.  He specializes in comparative politics and international political economy, with a particular focus on Japanese political economy. His research interests include democracy in Japan, and Japan's political and economic stagnation since the 1990s.  He received a B.A. from the Faculty of Law of the University of Tokyo and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.  He is the author of Failed Democratization in Prewar Japan: Breakdown of a Hybrid Regime, (Stanford University Press, 2014), and Sangiin to ha [What is House of Councillors], (Chuokoron Shinsha, 2010).

Portrait of Kenji Kushida

Kenji Kushida, Research Scholar, Shorenstein APARC Japan Program (Moderator)

Kenji E. Kushida is a Japan Program Research Scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and an affiliated researcher at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. Kushida’s research interests are in the fields of comparative politics, political economy, and information technology. He has four streams of academic research and publication: political economy issues surrounding information technology such as Cloud Computing; institutional and governance structures of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster; political strategies of foreign multinational corporations in Japan; and Japan’s political economic transformation since the 1990s. Kushida has written two general audience books in Japanese, entitled Biculturalism and the Japanese: Beyond English Linguistic Capabilities (Chuko Shinsho, 2006) and International Schools, an Introduction (Fusosha, 2008). Kushida holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his MA in East Asian studies and BAs in economics and East Asian studies, all from Stanford University.