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Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Tackles the Burning Issues with Students

Update:Nov. 01, 2013

On Wednesday, October 30, Nikkei Inc. and Keio University Global Security Research Institute hosted a special event entitled "Debating the Burning Issues: Re-examining the US-Japan Relationship for the New Era in Asia" at the West School Building Hall, Mita Campus. Former United States Deputy Secretary of State Mr. Richard L. Armitage took the stage to share his thoughts on topics such as national security in Asia, Japan's relations with China and Korea, and the future of the US-Japan alliance, mainly through dialogue with the largely student audience.

Following an opening address by Professor Heizo Takenaka, Director of the Global Security Research Institute and Professor of the Keio University Faculty of Policy Management, Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard University delivered his greetings via video message.

The event was presided over by Mr. Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Senior Staff Writer at Nikkei Inc. In the first half of the event, Mr. Sunohara posed a number of questions on issues related to Japan's foreign relations and took an audience vote on each. Audience members voted yes or no using their event programs, which were made in Keio-themed colors: blue on one side, and red and yellow on the other. On the topic of Japan exercising its right to collective self-defense, the proportion of students who voted in support was low in comparison to that of the audience as a whole. In response, Mr. Armitage commented that this suggests that greater efforts need to be made by the government to explain the issues surrounding collective self-defense more carefully. Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Dr. Kurt M. Campbell, who was unable to attend the event as planned, provided video messages with his comments on each issue.

In the second half of the event, students had the opportunity to pose their questions to Mr. Armitage directly. Mr. Armitage responded to each question earnestly, sometimes with a sprinkling of humor.

Over 700 people attended, filling the venue to capacity. Mr. Taizo Nishimuro, Chairperson of the Keio University Board of Councillors also attended and exchanged warm greetings with Mr. Armitage, his long-time acquaintance.

The West School Building Hall filled to capacity
▲The West School Building Hall filled to capacity
Former Deputy Secretary of State Mr. Richard Armitage
▲Former Deputy Secretary of State Mr. Richard Armitage

Mr. Armitage listens intently to questions from students
▲Mr. Armitage listens intently to questions from students
The audience votes
▲The audience votes

Photo: Susumu Ishito