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About the Speech:   Today, Asia stands at a crossroads, amid multilateral trade negotiations, integration initiatives such as the Eurasian Union, the establishment of new development institutions such as the AIIB, and a shifting balance of regional economic power. In this seminar, three speakers will provide the Japanese perspectives on regional relations, focusing particularly on the increasingly dominant role of China, with particular reference to its One Belt One Road initiative, the Russian energy pivot towards Asia, and the importance of the US-Japan alliance in an increasingly complex security landscape.

About the Speakers:   Shino Watanabe is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Global Studies, Sophia University in Japan. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, she received her M.A. from Tufts University and earned her Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Professor Watanabe has published widely on China’s foreign aid and overseas infrastructure programmes and more broadly on foreign aid competition in Northeast Asia.   Ayako Kusunoki is an Associate Professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, where she also studied and completed her Ph.D. She has previously worked and taught at Kwansei Gakuin University. Professor Kusunoki has  published widely on Japan’s post-war security policy and on US-Japan relations. Professor Kusonoki has been awarded the Saeki Kiichi Prize from the Japan Association for International Security for her research.   Yuko Adachi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Russian Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. She holds a Ph.D. from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked at the International Monetary Fund after obtaining an MA in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, USA. Professor Adachi’s main research interests focus on Russia’s corporate governance, the development and growth of large Russian firms, as well as business-government relations in Russia.