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Keizai Society: Tohoku Transformation & The U.S. Role
8 March 2012
On March 11, 2011, a cataclysmic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan’s northern coastal Tohoku region of Japan, ravaging communities and transforming in an instant the world’s image of Japan. The heart-wrenching images of the disaster flashed across the world on the net and new SNS media triggered an international outpouring of compassion and support, while the courage and composure of the people of Tohoku stirred fresh admiration for the best qualities of Japan.
Yet, as the long year of recovery has passed, the drawn-out Fukushima nuclear crisis, reports of government and corporate failings both after and before the natural disaster itself, and lingering damage to a Japanese economy that had only just begun to emerge from more than a decade of stagnation has stirred new doubts about the future of the country once considered the unstoppable juggernaut of Asia. Today, Tohoku’s recovery is more than a domestic humanitarian challenge for Japan. It has taken on global import as a symbolic barometer of Japan’s ability to shake off its long malaise, and reinvent itself to once again flourish in a world transformed by new technologies and the rise of powerful new competitors. During the disaster and its aftermath, the US-Japan military alliance reasserted itself as a powerful tool for relief and recovery through Operation Tomodachi.
But today, it is the emerging trans-Pacific synergy in hi-tech that is helping speed Tohoku’s recovery, and is pointing the way to new transformative possibilities for the future. The challenge today for Tohoku -- and for all of Japan -- is not simply to rebuild, but to transform, to emerge not just better prepared to respond to the next catastrophe, but reinvigorated and rewired to compete and flourish in the new connected world.
- U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Frank Clark, currently representing the U.S. at Japan’s National Institute of Defense Studies (NIDS), the leading institution in Japan dedicated to the research of national security and defense issues
- Dr. Richard Dasher, director of the US-Asia Technology Management Center at the Stanford University School of Engineering and Consulting Professor in the Departments of Electrical Engineering , Asian Languages, and the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- The Honorable Hiroshi Inomata, Consul General of Japan in San Francisco, Japan's Consul General in San Francisco
- Stu Levy, international entrepreneur, producer, director and writer across mediums including graphic novels, film, television, and new media and founder of the pioneering media company TOKYOPOP
- John Raymont, Founder and President of Kurion, Inc.
- Gaku Ueda, an Engineering Manager at Twitter where he is the head of both the International Engineering team and the Mobile Growth team
- Dr. Ka-Ping Yee, software engineer on the Google Crisis Response team, which is part of Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google
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