March 2014 Washington HA/DR Discussion Panel

Strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance — Opportunities and Challenges:

Prospects for U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

DC March 27 HADR PanelOn March 27, Peace Winds America, in cooperation with the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, held a half-day stakeholders’ meeting followed by a public Forum at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC.   The Forum was entitled Strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance — Opportunities and Challenges: Prospects for U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.  The set of meetings highlighted new initiatives to enhance bilateral cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) that was launched by Vice President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at their December 2013 Tokyo meeting.
The morning meeting and public Forum focused on how the two allies can better coordinate civilian-military responses to natural disasters in the future as well as lessons learned from previous HADR operations in the Asia-Pacific.  Twenty key stakeholders from a cross-section of relevant sectors joined our morning workshop meeting.  The afternoon public Forum featured two panels of experts and practitioners:

Session I — The U.S.-Japan HA/DR Cooperation: Status and Prospects for the Future

  • This session kicked off with a brief overview of US-Japan-Philippines HA/DR cooperation in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Discussion questions included: What were key lessons learned?  What are the next steps?  How does this experience inform current plans to expand bilateral HA/DR cooperation, as outlined by the December 2013 joint fact sheet on US-Japan cooperation? What are the challenges and opportunities facing both allies and their relevant civilian and military aid agencies, and how can civil-military cooperation improve in response to future disasters?


  • Lt. Col. Sano Shutaro, JGSDF, Associate Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan
  • Ms. Yanagisawa Kae, Director of the East, Central Asia and the Caucuses Department of the Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Col. Jeffrey Wiltse, US Army, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Mr. Abe Denmark, Vice President for Political and Security Affairs, National Bureau of Asian Research
  • Commentor/Moderator: Dr. Charles Aanenson, CEO, Peace Winds America

Session II – U.S.-Japan HA/DR Cooperation:  Challenges, Opportunities and Implications for Regional and Global Cooperation

  • This session addressed questions:  How does HA/DR cooperation fit into the broader context of the bilateral alliance?  What are the challenges and opportunities of this cooperation?  What impact is bilateral HA/DR cooperation likely to have on regional and/or global peace and security in the mid- to long-term?  How is bilateral HA/DR cooperation perceived beyond the two allies?  What are some of the “demand-side” needs and how can both allies realistically meet those needs/demands?


  • Dr. Uesugi Yuji, Associate Professor, Waseda University
  • Col. Ohara Bonji, Research Fellow and Project Manager, Tokyo Foundation
  • Mr. James Schoff, Senior Associate, Carnegie Asia Program
  • Dr. Satu Limaye, Executive Director, East-West Center
  • Moderator/Commentor: Weston Konishi, COO, Peace Winds America

The public event adjourned with closing remarks by PWA Board Member Dr. Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Organic Themes