Japan Update 2020: Japan's Choices Beyond COVID-19

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

The Australia Japan Research Centre and ANU Japan Institute are proud to host the virtual 2020 annual Japan Update conference — Japan's Choices Beyond COVID-19 — from Tuesday 8 September to Thursday 10 September.

This year’s update brings together distinguished experts from Japan and Australia for the latest research and debates on how Japan will navigate the policy challenges of the post-COVID-19 world.

All attendees will receive a confirmation email upon registration with instructions for joining our webinar panels.

Event Schedule

Tuesday 8 September (5-7pm AEST) (4-6pm JST)

Welcome and introduction

Panel: Japan's coronavirus response

How has Japan managed to flatten the coronavirus pandemic curve and sustain a low number of deaths without strictly enforced lockdown measures, its densely populated cities and aged population? And why has Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s approval rate fared so poorly given Japan’s success in fighting the pandemic? This panel looks at the health strategy Japan deployed and the social and political fallout from the COVID-19 shock to Japan.


Haruka Sakamoto, University of Tokyo
Hiromi Murakami, GRIPS
Sota Kato, The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research
Chair: Sanjaya Senanayake, ANU

Wednesday 9 September (5-6.30pm AEST) (4-5.30pm JST)

Economic crisis and recovery

This panel will discuss the economic crisis from the coronavirus pandemic and the recovery strategy for Japan. How does COVID-19 change the economic outlook in Japan? Does a relatively high rate of corporate savings in major Japanese firms put them in a better position than their foreign rivals? Will Japan’s large government debt and limited capacity for fiscal expansion constrain the recovery process?

*Co-hosted by the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA), ANU


Sagiri Kitao, University of Tokyo
Toshitaka Sekine, Hitotsubashi University
Chair: Ippei Fujiwara, Keio University and ANU

Thursday 10 September (5-7pm AEST) (4-6pm JST)

Foreign policy and security post-coronavirus

This panel will examine how the global COVID-19 pandemic is shaping Japan’s foreign and security policies. How are Sino-Japan relations being impacted by the escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington? What are the implications of America’s fraught pandemic response and the upcoming presidential election for the US-Japan alliance? What role will Japan’s relations with regional middle powers play in the post-pandemic era? And how is the shifting Indo-Pacific landscape shaping Japan’s defence posture?


Tomohiko Satake, National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS)
Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University
Rikki Kersten, Murdoch University
Chair: Lauren Richardson, ANU

Closing remarks