2019 Japan Symposium

2019 Japan Symposium
2019’s Japan Symposium consisted of a half-day private dialogue with 20 strategic thinkers for a high-level discussion on the role of Australia, Japan, and ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region, and a public event attended by 128 guests featuring 6 speakers.

Australia and Japan have played a critical role in the establishing the ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ concept, known as FOIP, also adopted by policymakers in the United States. Despite ASEAN’s central location within the Indo-Pacific region, some ASEAN governments have been reluctant to embrace the Indo-Pacific concept in their respective foreign policies, despite their shared interests with Japan and Australia. The Symposium examined the idea that Australia and Japan have a role to play in helping ASEAN adopt the Indo-Pacific concept, which in turn will contributing to a more cohesive, secure, and stable region. The Japan Symposium facilitates dialogue on these issues by examining policy options amongst key actors in the region.

Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Japan's Ambassador to Australia, delivered a keynote speech at the Japan Symposium 2019 on Friday, 22 March 2019.
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Philip Green OAM, First Assistant Secretary, US and Indo-Pacific Strategy Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, delivered a keynote speech at the Japan Symposium 2019 on Friday, 22 March 2019. Read More

Read the conference booklet from the 2019 Japan Symposium. Read More

Featured Speakers

His Excellency Reiichiro Takahashi

Ambassador of Japan to Australia


His Excellency Reiichiro Takahashi is the Ambassador of Japan to Australia, since being appointed in February 2019. Prior to this assignment, Ambassador Takahashi served as Consul-General at the Consulate General of Japan in New York. Ambassador Takahashi has served as Director-General of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office from 2012-2015. He has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for over 35 years. He held the position of Deputy Director- General, Economic Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign affairs (2006-2007), as well as Director, Management and Coordination Division, Ministerial Secretariat, (2004- 2006), Press Division (2001-2003) and First South-East Asia Division (1999-2001). His diplomatic postings include assignments to Japanese Embassies in Afghanistan as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from 2011-2012, The Republic of Korea as Minister (2007-2011), India as Minister (2003- 2004), USA as Counsellor (1997-1999) and the Philippines as First Secretary (1994-1997). Ambassador Takahashi obtained a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tokyo University.

Yuka Uchida Ando

Former Political Secretary to the Foreign Minister of Japan


Yuka Ando served as political secretary to Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara from 2010 to 2011 under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration. Prior to that, she spent a decade working at the DPJ headquarters, where she handled international affairs of the party. She is currently senior policy advisor for Fleishman-Hillard Japan K.K., and also a PhD candidate at Japan’s National Graduate Institution for Policy Studies (GRIPS). Ando was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, and a visiting fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. From 2000 to 2002, she served as special assistant for political affairs at the Japanese Embassy in Kuwait. She received her BA from Keio University and MA from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

C. Raja Mohan

Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore


Professor C. Raja Mohan is Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. His research focus is on the foreign policy of India and Asian geopolitics. Professor Mohan helped found Carnegie India, the sixth international centre of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in New Delhi. He was the Henry Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy at the US Library of Congress during 2009-10. Professor Mohan is also a columnist on international affairs for a leading Indian Newspaper, the Indian Express. He was a member of India’s National Security Board. He has published widely and his most recent book is Modi’s World: India’s Expanding Sphere of Influence (Harper Collins, 2015).

Mely Caballero-Anthony

Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies


Mely Caballero-Anthony is Professor of International Relations and Head of the Centre for Non-traditional Security (NTS) Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is currently the Secretary-General of the Consortium on Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia. From 2013-2017, Dr Caballero-Anthony was a member of UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (ABDM) and was Chair of ABDM in 2016. She was Director of External Relations at the ASEAN Secretariat from 2011-2012. From 2015-2017, she was Vice President at-large of the Governing Council of the International Studies Association (ISA). Dr Caballero-Anthony’s research interest include regionalism and multilateralism in Asia-Pacific, human security and non-traditional additional issues in Asia-Pacific. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and international presses. Her latest books include: Negotiating Governance on Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018).

 Philip Green
First Assistant Secretary, US & Indo-Pacific Strategy Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


Philip Green is the First Assistant Secretary of the DFAT’s US and Indo-Pacific Strategy Division. He served as Australia’s High Commissioner to Singapore from 2012 to December 2016, and then worked on South-East Asia affairs in 2017. He previously served overseas as High Commissioner in South Africa (2004-2008), and in Kenya (1998-2000).


Featured Participants from Private Dialogue

Kanna Mihara

Vice President, Macquarie Capital Securities (Japan) Limited


Kanna has 11 years of experience in commercial and investment banking. Since joining Macquarie in 2013, she has worked on 2 of the first 3 major infrastructure privatisation projects in Japan, Sendai Airport and Aichi Toll Road, as a financial advisor for the winning consortium of each transaction. Since 2016, she has been heading Private Capital Markets team in Japan where her primary role is to connect Japanese capital to global infrastructure opportunities.

Before joining Macquarie, Kanna engaged in commercial lending for non-EU EMEA companies in Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation’s EMEA headquarter in London for 5 years. Kanna started her career as a business consultant at BaringPoint (currently PwC) where she worked on various projects for Japanese companies.

Kei Koga

Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University


Kei Koga is Assistant Professor at the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU). His previous position includes visiting fellow at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Studies Program, The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. His recent publication includes a book "Reinventing Regional Security Institutions in Asia and Africa" (Routledge 2017); "The Concept of ‘Hedging” Revisited’ (International Studies Review, 2017); "Japan’s strategic interests in the South China Sea" (Australian Journal of International Affairs, 2018); and "ASEAN’s Evolving Institutional Strategy" (Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2018). He received his Ph.D. in International Relations at the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Rikki Kersten

Interim Pro Vice Chancellor of the College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences, Murdoch University


Professor Rikki Kersten is the Interim Pro Vice Chancellor of the College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences at Murdoch University.  Prior to her appointment as the Interim Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Kersten was the Dean of the School of Arts.  

Professor Kersten specialises in Japanese history, politics, security policy and foreign policy.  She has a special interest in Australia-Japan relations, and in the US-Japan alliance.

Educated at Adelaide and Oxford universities, Professor Kersten has held research attachments to various tertiary institutions in Japan, including the University of Tokyo and Keio University.  Previously, Professor Kersten spent five years in the Australian Foreign Service, and served in the Political section of the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.

Professor Kersten has taught modern Japanese history at Sydney and Leiden Universities and served as Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney.  Before joining Murdoch University, she was Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, Dean of Faculty of Asian Studies, and a Professor of Modern Japanese Political History at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Tomohiko Satake

Senior Research Fellow, National Institute for Defense Studies


Tomohiko Satake is a senior research fellow at the Policy Simulation Office of the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) located in Tokyo. He specializes in Japan-US-Australia security cooperation. Between 2013 and 2014, he worked for the International Policy Division of the Defense Policy Bureau of the Japan Ministry of Defense as a deputy director for international security. He earned B.A. and M.A. from Keio University, and PhD in international relations from the Australian National University. His recent publication includes: “Japan-Australia Security Cooperation in the Bilateral and Multilateral Contexts”, co-authored with John Hemmings, International Affairs, Volume 94, Issue 4, 1 July 2018.

Bill Townsend

Acting Director Corporate Coordination, INPEX


In this role, Bill leads the division responsible for managing the external affairs, human relations, business planning, strategy, risk management, industrial relations, joint venture management, and business services functions in Australia. Bill joined INPEX in 2006. Beginning his career as a US Navy submarine officer, Bill entered the oil and gas industry in 1994 as a Business Advisor to BP Russia based in Moscow. Further commercial and external affairs assignments followed with BP in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Bill arrived in Australia in 2004 to take up the role of Joint Venture Coordination Manager for the North West Shelf Ventures at Woodside Energy. Bill earned a BA (Political Science) from Northwestern University and an MBA from Dartmouth College. He holds dual American-Australian citizenship. Bill is Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Western Australia, a Director on the national AmCham board and a Director of the Energy Policy Institute of Australia.