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2022 JUMP Program

This year, our annual JASH JUMP program was broadcast via Zoom on February 22, 2022. The program was formatted to encourage audience participation and to create an interactive space for our attendees. Approximately a third of the attendees were military service members or civilian government contractors who served in Japan. Additionally, a quarter of the attendees tuned in from the continental U.S., Canada, Japan, China and the Philippines.

Welcome and overview remarks were made by Shanti Shoji, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and sponsor of the event. Consul General Yutaka Aoki, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu welcomed attendees.

This year’s program was titled: The Critical Role of the U.S.-Japan Alliance in the Pacific. Ms. Barbara Tanabe, founder of Ho`akea Communications, LLC and JASH Board Director moderated the discussion. All comments were off the record to allow for a deeper discussion on this important topic.

President Vares-Lum opened the program with her personal story about her father who was an American soldier stationed in Japan and her mother who was of Japanese ancestry. She also shared how her life’s work started out and has continued to be focused on U.S.-Japan relationships, and has also more broadly centered around building people-to-people relationships throughout the Pacific.

From a security lens, Vares-Lum spoke about the important work and the great strides that have continued to be made in strengthening the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship. Currently in her new role as president of the East West Center and looking from outside the traditional security lens, she is asking the question, “Why does Japan matter to America and why America to Japan?” Vares-Lum reviews statistics in the following areas that illustrate the importance of this bilateral alliance: trade; jobs; investments; visitors; sister partnerships; and humanitarian aid. She goes on to add that most importantly in working with Japan, is the shared commitment to democracy, rule of law, open society, human rights and open market.

The common theme throughout her presentation is the critical importance of people-to-people and country-to-country relationships.

Casimira Rodriguez’s field of study focuses around the U.S.-Japan alliance, alliance management, and security policy. She broke her presentation into two elements: An overview of the Indo-Pacific strategy; and the changing regional dynamics in East Asia.

Rodriguez pointed out that the U.S.-Japan Alliance in her opinion has never been stronger. However, she believes there is still much more potential for cooperation and partnership.

Rena Sasaki's presentation focused on two issues: Economic security; and coordinated responses by the U.S. and Japan from Taiwan Strait contingency.

On the topic of economic security, Sasaki stressed the importance of the U.S. and Japan’s partnership. She commented about the positive steps between President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida who recently established the Economic “2+2” to track and drive economic cooperation and order in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

The JUMP program provides an opportunity to bring the Japanese and American military, civilian and business community together whether it be in-person or virtual and is a very special and unique program. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, the National Association of Japan-America Societies and the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. for allowing JASH to share this program with our local and international community. MAHALO NUI LOA!

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