21 November 2019 - 23 November 2019

Japan, the West and China: Japan’s future and role in the world

Chair: The Honourable Alexander Downer AC
Japan, the West and China guests

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Executive summary

The world is ready for Japan to play a more expansive and outward looking role. Politically, economically and in the context of fragile multilateralism, the West is looking for more leadership from Japan. Regionally, Japan is now seen as a source of stability.

In the context of two global superpowers (US and China) and a gravitational pull towards the Asia Pacific region, Japan finds itself in demand as a leader, mediating the process of moving to the G2, globally, regionally and multilaterally.

Japan also has an important role in a network of middle power countries with shared interests and values who collectively have the capacity to provide global leadership on freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law. As a network, these countries can provide a counter-weight to the two global superpowers and be collective leaders in response to the impact of digital transformation on societies across the world.

But it is not clear what kind of country Japan really wants to be. The cautious, nuanced and subtle approach taken by Japan masks both national strengths and weaknesses, and the national narrative for the future of the country is not obvious. Japan sees itself as doing well on international leadership while the West thinks it should do more as the world’s third largest economy, for example on climate change; the renewal of multinational institutions and regulatory structures; and the renewal of capitalism. A counter argument is that Japan is exemplifying a different and quieter kind of leadership.  

How should we handle the disconnect between what the West wants from Japan and what Japan wants for itself? Is there a second disconnect between what Japan’s leadership want and what the people want? Is Japan’s evolving international role springing from necessity rather than real desire?

Japan is nonetheless trusted as an honest broker sharing democratic interests. It is regarded as pragmatic and peaceful. The international outlook of Shinzo Abe has been a significant strength. Outward foreign direct investment (FDI) is high and is accepted by recipients without fear – this achievement should not be understated.

Japan’s weaknesses were seen to stem from failures in understanding human capital, in turn affecting productivity. Two major area of domestic policy stood out: failures in national education and in gender equality – the treatment of women in the workforce and support for family life.

The decline in the number of Japanese students studying abroad (especially compared to China and other Asian countries) was striking. Have young Japanese people become more inward looking? The sharp drop in numbers experiencing life abroad could stoke up problems for the future, not least with language barriers.

The ageing population remains a huge issue. Other countries are looking to Japan to lead on innovation in respect of elder care, especially in relation to technology. The treatment of immigrants and the role for migrants in the national economy might yet open up new fissures in Japanese society, for example a rise in populism.

Context and why this was important

Japan remains one of the most successful and influential countries in the world by many measures. And yet Japan’s concerns for the future are growing, with many challenges ahead ranging from the increasing regional assertiveness of China; to an ageing population necessitating a rise in immigration. What are the elements of a compelling and positive vision for Japan in the years ahead? What role should Japan aspire to play in the region and in the world? How can Japan support and drive renewal of democratic states, alliances and markets? As Asia develops, what must the Western alliance become from the Japanese perspective, without slipping into unnecessary antagonism and conflict with China?


Chaired by the Honourable Alexander Downer AC, this Ditchley conference brought together an eclectic mix of Japanese, Western and other politicians, business leaders, technology innovators, experts and commentators. Participants included leading political scientists, economists and journalists; policy-makers from Japan, the US and Canada; senior research analysts, diplomatic expertise from Japan, China and the UK; and leaders from major Japanese companies.


A positive role in the world

The world sees a role for Japan in international rule-making and in mediating tension between the US and China. Japan is already seen as a potential leader in the politics of the digital economy and on AI governance. In 2016, Japan hosted a meeting of G7 Ministers with responsibilities for technology and proposed principles for research and development in Artificial Intelligence. Japan is regarded as a leader in regulatory standards for data, fintech and crypto currencies and could lead wider alignment.

In 2018, Japan was the world’s largest FDI investor, with record investment in the US and in China. Japan is seen as a committed contributor to the G30, G20, and G8 and to, broadly defined, Western security. Although one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, Japan has been a major contributor to climate change policy with a commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement. But more is needed on natural disaster preparation and in the understanding of the risks of climate change, including on security issues.

Although Japan looms large in the Asia pacific region, its role in ASEAN is broadly welcomed. Japan was considered to be under-represented in the major multilateral institutions and the UN Security Council. With the exception of some Special Advisors, there were said to be few Japanese in formal international leadership roles. The world wants Japan to take on greater global responsibilities. Are there different perceptions of leadership at work in the expectations of Western countries and the role Japan considers itself to be playing?

In a world in which the West is seen to have broken the neo-liberal economic system, how is Japan to help take forward the rebuilding of global institutions and a redefining of economic systems?


The challenges that come with an ageing and declining population are huge. Population is expected to decline from 127 million (2014) to 97 million (2050). A drop in the birth-rate and the increasing cost of elder care contribute to anxieties about whether the current generation of children will do better than their parents. Downward mobility is a fear. Greater inequality, an increase in insecurity, a low birth rate, and a decline in family formation are all worrying features of modern Japanese life.

With ever greater concentration of the population in Tokyo, apartments are getting ever smaller. Business tends to be done in Tokyo, creating divisions between rural areas and the capital: people commute between world cities, not between rural areas and cities. Japan was described as becoming less homogenous and more tolerant of immigrants, but older people were concerned about weakening of traditional ways of life. Deference to older people is nonetheless still a strong feature of the culture – with both positive and negative aspects. National attitudes towards immigration (an increasing economic and social necessity) and the treatment of immigrants were described as ambivalent.

The decline in the numbers of young people studying abroad was striking and a contrast with China, South Korea and other Asian countries. Those Japanese students who do study abroad tend to go for short language courses of less than three months and, even then, these numbers are comparatively very low. It was asked why increasingly fewer young Japanese people want to study abroad. Is it because the quality of life in Japan is good? Are the young just happy to live in Japan? Is it because the value of the Yen makes it more difficult to live overseas? Is it because corporates are more reluctant to educate employees abroad and that a culture of corporate loyalty minimises the value of the wider experience gained? Whatever the reasons, the consequences of the decline were considered damaging for Japan’s future as a global player.

Japan is also facing major hurdles on productivity and education. People, and especially women, are not recognised sufficiently as a national asset. Restricted choices for women remains an entrenched problem. ‘Womenomics’ was described as superficial: it’s about women but not for them. Women are recognised as economically useful but there have not been sustained efforts to address gender inequality. The long-hours work culture militates against the interests of women in the workforce.

Education was thought to need to move away from rote memorisation to include new skills and to encourage imagination and innovation. It was not clear what kind of society Japan wanted its education system to produce. The Japanese system was felt by many to need greater access to diverse ideas. The globalisation of Japanese universities hadn’t really happened yet. Language teaching was generally poor, especially in English.


The last 40 years of relations between China and Japan were summed up as relatively co-operative. China sees itself as important for the development of Japan and Japan attracts millions of tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since the tensions over the Senkaku islands in 2014, Japan was described as working to calm relations between Tokyo and Beijing and now there were signs of encouragement of investment in China.

Japan shares concerns with the EU and other Western countries about closed markets, forced tech transfers and use of subsidies by China and the growing convergence of economic power with geopolitical and security power. But Japan advocates a patient strategic approach rather than confrontation.

High levels of outward Japanese FDI are not regarded as threatening by recipients, their neighbours and the West, in contrast sometimes to Chinese investment. This is a significant achievement of Japanese soft power.

There could be a role for Japan to mediate a US/China trade conflict to avoid the threat of economic de-coupling. Japan is working with the EU and others for reform of WTO rules and hopes for progress on IP rights and tech transfer.

Japanese companies want Chinese partners and access to Chinese markets and to networks within China. But concerns were raised about the risks of a debt crisis in relation to China’s economic position and to the Belt and Road Initiative. Japan, we were warned, must prepare for China’s economy to stumble. In contrast to the US, Japan is cautious, allowing more time to work up trade solutions. But pressure from the US on Japan, the EU, UK and others over positioning between the two global super powers can only grow.


On security, the US is broadly seen as pulling back, globally. Japan must rethink its dependency on the US and draw more on its regional partnerships. The Japanese approach to foreign policy was described as pragmatic and technocratic, for example, in relation to Russia and Iran (seen by some as a strength from which Western countries could learn). But with China growing in power as an authoritarian state, the question of values in relation to foreign policy was raised. Does Japan need to develop more of a values-based foreign policy?

Regional role

The Indo/Asia Pacific region is becoming a centre of the global economy and this could offer new opportunities for Japan. Relations with China and India are the strategic priority. Prime Minister Abe has been developing the partnership with India for the last 12 years.

China unsurprisingly dominates Japan’s view of the region. Japan initially felt threatened by the Belt and Road Initiative. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now set four conditions for a more forward position but is not excluding collaboration.

Japan sits between two markets, the US & China. China wants Japan to “come home” to Asia and to recognise China as both regional hegemon and lead market. History is a complicating factor. China wants Japan to remember and to atone for the crimes of the past, while at the same time looking for a new relationship and extended security co-operation between China, Japan and South Korea.

There is respect and appreciation for Japan in ASEAN countries and a hope that Japan will help counterbalance China in the region. The question of whether Japan could serve as a bridge between China and Western countries was contested but Japan was thought to have a better understanding of Chinese society than the West.

ASEAN has a central role in regional dialogue and co-ordination and avoiding surprises. It was seen as a limited but effective institution (some suggested it was more effective as a regional organisation than the EU) that provided an opportunity for Japan. For example, standards and regulation developed within ASEAN could be adopted more widely without taking sides. China would expect to assert growing influence on ASEAN. It looked to ASEAN countries as important sources of raw materials.

It was pointed out several times that, in the 1970s, Japan was the China of the day. It was suggested that Japan could perhaps use that experience to help influence China and promote the rule of law and help create the stability in the region that China itself wants. This may be a challenge however as China’s economic power seeps into issues of security. The onus was considered to be on China to limit its nationalism, evident since the 1990s. At least Chinese animosity towards Japan was weakening as direct memories of the war faded. Young Chinese people had an increasingly positive attitude towards Japan and Japanese culture.

On the South China Sea, ASEAN’s role is important but not backed by maritime enforcement capabilities and Japan remains dependent on the West for hard power back-up. Chinese and Russian military collaboration is having an impact on security in the region.

Six years ago, the Ditchley discussion on Japan’s Regional and Global Future (December 2013) considered the China dream. Since then, the focus has moved to Belt and Road and the emerging links between economic power and geopolitical and security power.

A growing discussion about standards is in fact about values. Standards are underpinned by values. The debates in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) countries demonstrate the strength of the trade and economic relations but there are no security arrangements on a multi-lateral basis. Could these be explored in future? Furthering of peace and security in the region did not have to mean accepting the status quo. Rights of minorities and human rights could be made part of the equation.


We explored the prospects for Japanese politics after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe steps down after his long period in office. His development of an international role for Japan was considered to have been highly successful and there was concern amongst some about a risk of retreat under a new leader. But the Japanese view was that there would be no turning back. Japan was committed to an international role commensurate with its economic power, in line with the political direction taken over the last 10-15 years. There were concerns about an unhealthy lack of political opposition in Japan, with the Japanese Communist Party the only real force. Abe’s long dominance was seen as having been good for Japan, but it carried risks if it went on for too long.

Future vision for Japan

A comprehensive vision of Society 5.0 was put forward by Japanese business, with a technological and social transformation of every aspect of human society. The future of agriculture and food security, energy, the future of cities, finance, public services, responses to climate change and disaster prevention were all part of Society 5.0 – the product of the 4th industrial revolution that would place values of respect for diversity and human rights at its centre. It would be dependent on global partnerships and imagination. The question left hanging was whether Japan was in a strong enough position in both these areas, with the relatively few Japanese studying abroad; a continued emphasis on social solidarity and conformity to norms; and the limited role for women as outlined above.

It was noted, though, that Japan had been able to reinvent itself before. Japan was said to have made the transition from developing to developed country – twice! But there were doubts: with an ageing and declining population, was there the energy and dynamism in Japan to reinvent itself for Society 5.0? Did it have the collective imagination, and was the Japanese population behind this vision? Society 5.0 did not take account of the need to reform education and the start-up culture was not strong enough. Thailand was said to be easier for entrepreneurs than Japan.

What to learn from Japan?

There was a debate about the degree of nationalist and populist politics in Japan, but it seems clear that unlike many Western countries, Japan has not yet seen a significant rise in nationalism and populism. Japan is not anti-global and is rules based. In contrast, the West was seen as facing more acute difficulties. Japan was perhaps showing a different kind of democratic leadership, a quieter version built on its trusted status regionally and internationally. Are there lessons to learn from Japan’s approach to leadership for the future of capitalism and democratic societies in the West?

Ideas emerging, but not consensus

  • The ageing society is a common issue for Japan and China. There is scope for shared understanding and leadership in policy and technology solutions.
  • Discrimination against women must be addressed. Japan has known about this issue for a long time.
  • The education system would benefit from radical review and reform, especially in the light of aspirations for Society 5.0.
  • The decline in Japanese student study abroad should be reversed and Japanese universities could do more to attract international students and research.
  • Japan is a law-abiding society with low crime and good social order but, for some, there is still too much deference to older people for the country to be as innovative and forward moving as it will need to be to be competitive in future.


This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

CHAIR:  The Honourable Alexander Downer AC 
Executive Chair, International School for Government, King's College London (2018-); Chair of Trustees, Policy Exchange (2017-); Chairman, Royal Overseas League (2018-); non-executive director, Yellow Cake plc. Formerly: Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (2014-18); United Nations' Special Advisor on Cyprus (2008-14); Member of the Australian Parliament for Mayo (1984-2008); Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (1996-2007); Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Liberal Party of Australia (1994-95).


Ambassador Hans Dietmar Schweisgut 
Secretary General, Austro‑French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (2019‑). Formerly: Ambassador of the European Union to the People's Republic of China and Mongolia (2014‑18); Ambassador of the European Union to Japan (2011‑14); Permanent Representative of Austria to the European Union in Brussels (2007‑10); Ambassador of Austria to the People's Republic of China (2003‑07); Ambassador of Austria to Japan (1999‑2003).

Mr Stewart Beck 
President and CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (2014‑). Formerly: Department of External Affairs and International Trade: Canadian High Commissioner for Canada to India, Ambassador to Nepal and Ambassador to Bhutan (2010‑14); Consul General, San Francisco (2009‑10); Assistant Deputy Minister, International Business Development, Investment and Innovation (2006‑09); Director General, North Asia (2003‑04); Consul General, Shanghai (1999‑03). A Member of the Programme Advisory Committee, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Donald Campbell 
Senior Strategy Advisor, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, Vancouver; Distinguished Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation; International co‑Chair, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (2012‑); Board of Directors, Toyota Canada Inc.; Recipient, Order of the Rising Sun: Gold and Silver Star 2015. Formerly: Executive Vice‑President, CAE Inc., Montreal (2000‑07); Canadian co‑Chair, Canada‑Japan Forum (2003‑06); Deputy Foreign Minister of Canada and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for G8 Summits (1997‑2000); Ambassador of Canada to Japan (1993‑97); Deputy Minister of International Trade (1989‑93). Formerly a Member of the Program Advisory Committee, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Dongwoo Kim 
Research lead, Digital Asia, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; post‑graduate Research Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (2017‑19); Yenching Scholar, Yenching Academy, Peking University.

Dr David M. Malone 
Under Secretary‑General of the United Nations and Rector, United Nations University, Tokyo (2013‑). Formerly: President, International Development Research Centre (2008‑13); High Commissioner of Canada to India and Ambassador to Bhutan and Nepal (2006‑08); Canadian Ambassador to the UN (1990‑94); author, books on the UN Security Council, economic factors in civil wars, international development and of 'Does the Elephant Dance? Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy' (Oxford, 2011). A Member of the Program Advisory Committee, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Dr Jin Linbo 
Senior Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies. Formerly: Visiting Fellow, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, Brookings Institution (2008‑09); Invited Scholar, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University (2001‑02); Visiting Scholar, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University (1995‑97).

Professor Shen Dingli 
Professor and former Executive Dean, Institute of International Studies, and former director, Center for American Studies, Fudan University; Honorary Visiting Professor, Washington University, St. Louis; Vice President, Chinese Association of South Asian Studies, Shanghai Association of International Strategic Studies, Shanghai Association of American Studies, Shanghai UN Research Association, Shanghai Public Policy Research Association; member, Global Council, Asia Society. Formerly: advisor to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on strategic planning (2002); lecturer in international security, China‑U.S. relations, China's foreign and defense policy and the 'Semester at Sea' Program; Eisenhower Fellow, 1996.

Mr Wang Qi 
Diplomatic Service of the People's Republic of China: Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China to the United Kingdom (2019‑). Formerly: Counsellor and Deputy Director General, Office of the Foreign Affairs Leading Group, CPC Central Committee (2013‑19); First Secretary and Counsellor, Embassy of China to the U.S. (2006‑13); Second Secretary and First Secretary, Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China (MFA) (2001‑06); Attaché, Third Secretary and Second Secretary, Embassy of China in the U.S. (1997‑2001).

Mr Seamus Nevin 
Chief Economist, Make UK (formerly EEF ‑ The Manufacturers Organisation); Fellow, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (2016‑). Formerly: Head of Policy Research, Institute of Directors.

Mr Akinari Horii 
Special Adviser and Member, Board of Directors, Canon Institute for Global Studies; Audit & Supervisory Board, Tokio Marine Holdings; member: Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives); Advisory Council of Japan International Cooperation Agency; Investment Committee, Kindai University; Trilateral Commission; Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, United States‑Japan Foundation. Formerly: Bank of Japan, latterly as Assistant Governor (2006‑10).

Mr Tsutomu Ishiai 
The Asahi Shimbun: Deputy Managing Editor (2019‑) and diplomatic/political correspondent. Formerly: London Bureau Chief (2016‑19); Foreign News Editor (2013‑16); Cairo Bureau Chief and Middle East and Africa Editor (2011‑13); Chief correspondent, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2007‑08); Washington correspondent (1996‑98, 2002‑06); Middle East correspondent (1998‑2001).

Mr Isao Kano 
Mitsubishi Corporation (1984‑): Senior Vice President, Mitsubishi Corporation; Managing Director, Mitsubishi Corporation International (Europe) Plc, London (2018‑); Vice President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UK; non‑executive directorships at Mitsubishi Corporation Group companies including: Princes Ltd, Triland Metals Ltd, Colt Car Company Ltd, Diamond Generating Europe Ltd and Cermaq AS. Formerly: various senior management roles, Mitsubishi Corporation.

Mr Toshiki Matsukiyo 
MSc student in Russian and East European Studies, St Antony's College, University of Oxford (on sabbatical); Diplomatic Service of Japan (2015‑): Attache, Embassy of Japan to the UK (2019‑). Formerly: Attache, Consulate‑General of Japan in St Petersburg (2018‑19); Attache, Embassy of Japan to Russia (2017‑18); Russia Division, European Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo (2015‑17).

Mr Jun Miura 
Diplomatic Service of Japan: Political Minister, Embassy of Japan to the United Kingdom. Formerly: Special Representative of the Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue (2018‑19); Director, Policy Planning Division, Headquarters of the Abduction Issue, Cabinet Secretariat (2018); Director, United Nations Policy Division (2016‑18); Director, Second North America Division (2014‑16); Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Prime Minister's Office (2011‑14); Director, Specialized Agencies Division (2010‑11).

Mr Takashi Okada 
Diplomatic Service of Japan: Minister Plenipotentiary and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan to the United Kingdom. Formerly: Deputy Director, Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office; Assistant Vice‑Minister (Parliamentary Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A member of the Programme Committee of the Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Noriyuki Shikata 
Diplomatic Service of Japan (1986‑): Associate, Program on U.S.‑Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (on sabbatical) (2019‑20). Formerly: Deputy Head of Mission, Japanese Embassy to the People's Republic of China (2017‑19); Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy, Kyoto University (2016‑17); Deputy Director General, Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2016‑17); Director of Personnel, MFA (2014‑16); Political Minister, Embassy of Japan to the United Kingdom (2012‑14); Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Global Communications, Office of the Prime Minister of Japan (2010‑12).

Mr Akira Shimizu 
Chair, Planning and Coordinating Sub‑Committee, Committee on Europe, Keidanren; Hitachi Ltd (1979‑): Vice President and Senior Corporate Officer for economic diplomacy affairs (2018‑). Formerly: General Manager of Government and External Relations Division (2016‑18); International Strategy Division (2012‑16); Managing Director, Hitachi Europe Ltd (2010‑12); International Business Planning and Development Division; Head of/established new data storage assembly manufacturing site, Hitachi, Orleans, France (1991‑95).

Mr Naoki Tanaka 
President, Center for International Public Policy Studies; freelance economic commentator specializing in international and Japanese economics, politics and industry, amongst others; author, 'The Great Stagnation of China' (2016), 'What is Structural Reform?' (2001) and 'Global Economy' (1988), amongst others. Formerly: President, 21st Century Public Policy Institute.

Ms Yoko Dochi 
Managing Director, Global Head of Investor Relations, SoftBank Group Corporation.

Ms Shihoko Goto 
Deputy Director for Geoeconomics and Senior Northeast Asia Associate, Asia Program, The Wilson Center; contributing editor, The Globalist. Formerly: correspondent for Dow Jones News Service and United Press International, Tokyo and Washington, DC; donor country relations officer, World Bank.

Ms Olga Romanova 
Global Rhodes Scholar; Master of Public Policy student, Blavatnik School of Government, St John's College, University of Oxford; Harvard College Class of 2019. Formerly: Japan Research Center Summer Intern, Harvard Business School, Tokyo (2017); Analyst Intern, Verdad Capital, Cambridge, MA and Tokyo (2016‑17); Captain, Japanese National Synchronized Skating Team (2013‑15).

Professor Kerry Brown PhD 
Professor of Chinese Studies and Director, Lau China Institute, King's College London (2015‑); Associate Fellow, Asia Programme, Chatham House; adjunct, Australia New Zealand School of Government, Melbourne; author: 'China's World: What Does China Want?' (2017), 'China's CEO: Xi Jinping' (2016), 'What's Wrong with Diplomacy: The Case of the UK and China' (2015), and others. Formerly: Professor of Chinese Politics and Director, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney (2012‑15); directed Europe China Research and Advice Network, giving policy advice to the European External Action Service (2011‑14); Senior Fellow and Head of Asia Programme, Chatham House (2006‑12); HM Diplomatic Service (1998‑2005).

Mr Bill Emmott 
Honorary Fellow, Magdalen College, University of Oxford; Ushioda Fellow, Tokyo College, Tokyo University (2019‑); adviser: Tokyo University and Critical Resource; columnist: Nikkei Business, Mainichi Shimbun, La Stampa; Chairman: International Institute for Strategic Studies, Japan Society of the UK, Trinity College Dublin Long Room Hub for Arts & Humanities, Wake Up Foundation. Formerly: Visiting Fellow, All Souls' College, University of Oxford (2017‑18); Editor‑in‑Chief, The Economist (1993‑2006). Author, 'The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World's Most Successful Political Idea' (Profile/Public Affairs, 2017). A Governor of The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Tim Harding 
Japan and Korea Market Specialist, Department for International Trade; Board Member, Japan Society of the UK. Formerly: Economic Section, Embassy of Japan, London; Import/Export Operations, Itochu Corporation; Export Sales, Hanjin Shipping; Assistant Language Teacher, JET Programme, Japan (2008‑10).

Mr James Hardy 
Senior Research Analyst, Japan and East Asian Security, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Formerly: Asia‑Pacific Editor, Jane's Defence Weekly (2010‑15); Staff Writer, Yomiuri Shimbun (2004‑09).

Sir Tim Hitchens KCVO CMG 
President, Wolfson College, University of Oxford (2018‑). Formerly: Chief Executive, Commonwealth Summit 2018 Unit (2017‑18); Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service: Director General, Economic and Consular, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London; British Ambassador to Japan (2012‑16); Director Africa, FCO (2010‑12); Director, European Political Affairs (2008‑10); Minister, British Embassy, Paris (2005‑08); Head, Africa Department (Equatorial), FCO (2003‑05); Assistant Private Secretary to HM The Queen (1999‑2002).

Mr Jason James 
Director General, Daiwa Anglo‑Japanese Foundation (2011‑). Formerly: Director, British Council, Tokyo (2007‑11); Chair, European Union National Institutes of Culture Japan cluster; board member, Japan‑British Society; board member, United World Colleges Japan; Head of Global Equity Strategy, HSBC, London; Head of Research, HSBC Securities, Tokyo.

Mr Stephen Johnston 
Co‑founder, Aging2.0 (global network of 100+ Chapters in 20+ countries focused on innovating in ageing, www.aging2.com); founder, Fordcastle (innovation consulting); co‑author, 'Growth Champions' (Wiley 2012).

HE Mr Paul Madden CMG FRGS 
Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service: Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Japan (2017‑). Formerly: British High Commissioner to Australia (2011‑15); British High Commissioner to Singapore (2007‑11); Additional Director for Asia Pacific, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London (2015); Managing Director, UK Trade and Investment (2004‑06); Assistant Director of Information, FCO (2003‑04); First Secretary, British Embassy, Washington (1996‑2000); First Secretary, British Embassy Tokyo (1988‑92).

Mr Neil Riley MBA 
Head of Japan Desk, Barclays Bank Plc; Board Member, Japan Society of the UK. Formerly: Head, Premier Sales Department, HSBC Moscow (2009‑11); Niigata‑ken Kankou Karisuma 'Prefectural Spokesperson for Niigata Tourism' (2006‑08);  CEO, Japan Worldwide KK (2004‑08); financial industry roles at The Bank of Tokyo‑Mitsubishi Ltd London Branch and Deutsche Bank AG London & Tokyo.

Dr Victoria Tuke 
Head of Japan, Republic of Korea and Mongolia team, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Formerly: Private Secretary to the Minister for the Armed Forces; Policy Advisor, National Security Secretariat; Daiwa Scholar; Visiting Fellow, Tokyo Foundation, Waseda University, Tokyo and Institute for Defence and Strategic Analyses, New Delhi.

Mr Jonathan Paris 
London‑based analyst (2001‑); Senior Advisor, Chertoff Group; Board Member, Global Diplomatic Forum. Formerly: Visiting Scholar, One Belt One Road Security think tank, Shanghai University of Political Science and Law (2017); Senior Associate Member, St Antony's College, Oxford (2004‑05); Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations in New York (1995‑2000); author, US government study, 'The Future of China in Africa' (2016); co‑Editor, The Politics of Post‑Suharto Indonesia (Brookings 1998).

Dr Naoko Aoki 
Adjunct political scientist and 2018‑2019 Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, RAND Corporation; research associate, Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland; adjunct fellow, Pacific Forum. Formerly: Tokyo‑based reporter and Beijing correspondent, Kyodo News.

Ms Wendy Cutler 
Vice President, Asia Society Policy Institute (2015‑) and Managing Director, Washington, DC office. Formerly: U.S Diplomatic Service and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), latterly Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, working on a range of U.S. trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia‑Pacific region.

Mr Glen S. Fukushima 
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (2012‑); member, Council on Foreign Relations; member, Asia Society Global Council; Board of Directors, Japan Society of Boston; Board of Trustees, Japan Association of Corporate Executives. Formerly:  Director for Japanese Affairs and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan and China; Vice Chairman, Japan‑United States Friendship Commission (White House appointment); President, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan; Vice President, AT&T Japan; President, Arthur D. Little Japan; President and CEO, Cadence Design Systems Japan; President and CEO, NCR Japan; President and CEO, Airbus Japan; member, Trilateral Commission; Fulbright Fellow, University of Tokyo.

Mr Brent Sadler 
U.S. Navy; Foreign Area Officer ‑ Pacific/Japan (2012‑). Formerly: Senior Defense Official and Defense Attache, U.S. Embassy Malaysia (2016‑18); Senior Assistant, Navy Asia‑Pacific Advisory Group, Washington, DC (2015‑16); Director Maritime Strategy and Policy, U.S. Pacific Command (2014‑15).