Thursday, July 23, 2009

ACCJ Event on Japanese National Security

The Aerospace & Defense Committee of the American Chambers of Japan hosted a forum on Japanese defense policy on June 24, and members of the Aero-Defense and the Government Relations committees were invited. The guest speaker was Hiroshi Imazu, Member of the House of Representative, Liberal Democratic Party. Mr. Imazu has been engaged in Japanese defense policy ever since he won a national diet seat. Mr. Shigenobu Tamura, Chief Policy Researcher of the Liberal Democratic Party, sat beside Representative Imazu. Mr. Tamura is a mentor to my Japanese language blog friend Dr. Cat a.k.a. Koshu Takamine.

The ACCJ hosts numerous events to exchange viewpoints on social, economic, and political issues. However, since the Chamber is a businessmen organization, most of the events are held in well known hotels. Fortunately, this was a small scale forum held at the ACCJ’s board room, and it was not so expensive. Considering my interest, it was a quite attractive opportunity.

There are various fields of committees at the ACCJ, and I belong to the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and the Governmental Relations committees. The atmosphere differs from one committee to another. The CSR Committee is relatively young, and somewhat like an enthusiastic college student circle for global friendship and public interest. On the other hand, the Government Relations Committee and the Aerospace & Defense Committee are extremely professional. Most of the members at both committees are experienced senior executives of renowned companies.

The Aerospace & Defense Committee is a closed membership club, and everything spoken at the meeting is completely confidential. According to Mr. Jean-Pierre Bolat, Chairman of the Aerospace & Defense Committee, this is because mutual trust between the guest and the committee is vital for policy discussion with Japanese leaders. There are numerous issues extremely sensitive to publicize in defense policy and inside stories of political corridors, and I understand it.

The lecture by Mr. Imazu was very helpful to understand Japan’s defense policymaking process. Contrary to popularly believed, LDP policy team plays no less important role than supposed to be the best and the brightest bureaucrats.

At the Q & A session, I was impressed with questions by attendants. Every piece of word spoken in Japanese suggests their involvement in Japanese political corridors. Diet man Imazu replied to questions by attendants including me very sincerely. It was a great meeting, and I hope that I will be able to see participants and guest speakers on another occasion.

Special thanks to:
The Honorable, Member of the House of Representatives, Hiroshi Imazu
Mr. Shigeo Tamura, Chief Policy Researcher, Liberal Democratic Party
ACCJ Aerospace & Defense Committee