The Age of Three Emperors: The Direction of US Foreign Policy and the Future of US-Japan Relations

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Friday, March 17th, 2017

Friday, March 17, 20172:00PM - 4:00PMExternal Event, Jackman Humanities Building
First Floor Conference Room
170 St. George Street
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America’s 45th president, Donald J. Trump, was inaugurated in January of this year. His unexpected victory was a surprise to many and it became the second major global shock in 2016 after Brexit. As an individual who has never held public office, he came to power by adroitly harnessing the anger of the American voter. Despite comparisons to past US presidents such as Jackson, TR, Nixon, and Reagan, in many ways he is a new type of leader that America has not witnessed since the beginning of the Republic. Although it will require many more months to be able to fully assess the new president’s policies, one can assume that his policies will be quite different than those of his predecessor.

In a world which an undercurrent toward a power transition can be witnessed, in which direction will President Trump lead the US? Moreover, as a leader devoid of any strong ideology besides “Making America Great Again,” his policies will surely be much vaguer and harder to pin down. However, he has surrounded himself with advisors and senior administration officials who do not necessarily toe the same foreign policy position toward such countries as China and Russia. Considering that he also does not have full support of a few senior GOP leaders on matters of foreign policy, how will this multilevel tug-o-war play out? And amid an era of ever increasing uncertainties, what can we expect the future course of US foreign policy be, particularly toward Asia? Will the previous Asia Pivot policy become an Asia Pullback policy similar to Nixon’s Guam doctrine of the 1970s? Furthermore, how should Japan and other nations deal with an increasingly inward America that will be much less predictable and perhaps even more reckless? Through this presentation, I would like to present a possible geopolitical scenario of the future that incorporates the major powers of US, Japan, China, Russia, and the EU.


Tosh Minohara is Professor of Diplomacy at the Graduate School of Law and Politics, Kobe University where he holds a joint appointment with the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies. He received his B.A. in International Relations from University of California, Davis, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science and Diplomatic History from Kobe University. In the past, he has had various visiting appointments with such universities as Harvard University, University of California at Irvine, University of Iowa (Noguchi Distinguished Fellow), University of Oxford, Leiden University, Stockholm University, Kuwait University, Seoul National University, and most recently, Inha University, ROK. His main research themes are, from a historical perspective, the diplomatic, political, and security dimension of US-Japan relations. He is currently interested in applied history. He has published widely and his first monograph, The Japanese Exclusion Act and US-Japan Relations [in Japanese], was awarded the Shimizu Hiroshi Prize in 2002. He is also the editor of Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan (University of Toronto Press, 2016) and Decade of the Great War: Japan and the Wider World during the 1910s (Brill, 2014). He is also the English translation editor of the forthcoming,The History of US-Japan Relations: From Perry to Present (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). He has several op-ed columns and comments frequently for major new outlets throughout the world. In addition to NHK in Japan, he regularly appears as a navigator in several National Geographic programs.


Aleksandra Babovic is currently a PhD student at Kobe University Graduate School of Law with a specialization in Diplomatic History. She earned her MA degree from Paris School of International Affairs. She is a Lecturer at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies and Osaka University. Her research interests include Japanese post-war history, international criminal law and justice, and more specifically the Tokyo Tribunal.

Ms Babovic will speak on International Relations under Trump Administration, from perspective of Europe.

David A. Welch is CIGI Chair of Global Security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, where he has recently been working on Asia-Pacific Security.

Professor Welch will speak on International Relations under Trump Administration, from perspective of Canada.


Eileen Lam


Tosh Minohara
Professor of U.S.-Japan Relations, International History and Security Studies, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Kobe University

David Welch
Munk School Fellow; CIGI Chair of Global Security, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Aleksandra Babovic
Lecturer, Department of Global Affairs, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Louis Pauly
Chair and Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Centre for the Study of Global Japan


Consulate General of Japan in Toronto


Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Asian Institute

Centre for the Study of the United States

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