Japan Update 2021

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

The Australia Japan Research Centre and ANU Japan Institute are proud to host the virtual 2021 annual Japan Update conference on Wednesday 8 September, between 10:00am - 3:30pm AEST (9:00am - 2:30pm JST)

Bringing together experts from Australia, Japan and the region, the Update will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on Japanese society and prospects for recovery, governance challenges and science, defence and technology issues.

Event schedule:

Welcome and introduction (10:00 - 10:10am AEST) 

Presented by Professor Helen Sullivan, Dean, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific 

Keynote speech: Japan and Asia after COVID-19 (10:10 - 10:40am AEST)

Presented by A/Prof Sawada Yasuyuki, University of Tokyo

Panel: The Impact of COVID-19 on Japanese Society (10:40 - 11:40am AEST)

This panel will explore the effects of the pandemic on equality, gender and ageing issues, and how recovery in Japanese society looks. Topics will include the mental health and suicide effects of COVID-19, the gaps in the social safety net and progress with opening up to immigration.


  • Professor Yoko Ibuka, Keio University
  • A/Prof Nana Oishi, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Sawada Yasuyuki, University of Tokyo
  • Chair: A/Prof Lauren Richardson, Australian National University

Panel: Science, Defence and Technology in Japan (12:30 - 13:30 AEST)

Japan is a global technology leader. This panel reviews new issues in energy, defence and the digital economy. Progress of digitisation in Japan, including its Society 5.0 strategy, new defence issues like artificial intelligence and space, and the energy transition to zero emissions by 2050, including green innovation, will be the focus of discussions. 


  • Ms. Jun Mukoyama, Asia-Pacific Initiative
  • Ms. Yuki Tatsumi, Stimson Centre
  • A/Prof Llewelyn Hughes, Australian National University
  • Chair: A/Prof Shiro Armstrong, Australian National University

Panel: Governance Challenges (14:00 - 15:00 AEST)

This panel will review new governance issues in Japan, including the economic and political response to COVID-19 in Japan and the new economic security policies for managing a more uncertain external environment.


  • Professor Keiichiro Kobayashi, Keio University
  • Ms. Motoko Rich, The New York Times
  • A/Prof Shiro Armstrong, Australian National University
  • Chair: Professor Ippei Fujiwara, Keio University & Australian National University

Closing remarks

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

This event will be recorded. 

Take a look at previous updates, podcasts, and speakers via the links below:

Japan update 2020

Japan's Choices Beyond COVID-19

Japan update 2019

Leadership in a time of uncertainty

Japan update 2018

Peak Japan

Japan update 2017

Seeking new directions

Japan update 2016

Reinventing Japan

Japan update 2015

Event summary

Japan update 2014

Event summary

Japan update 2013

Event summary

Date and Times


Room: Molonglo Theatre



  •  Australia-Japan Research Centre
     +61 2 6125 8247