Japan is in the middle of a historic experiment. Nearly a quarter-century after the end of its post-World War II economic miracle, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is boldly attempting - through massive government spending, monetary easing, and an overhaul of Japan's highly regulated economy - to end a long period of political paralysis and revive the country, lifting it into a leadership role in Asia.
Michael Auslin, a resident scholar and the director of Japan Studies at the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute, examines the effort and the lessons it may hold for the West on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The presentation, Japan's Future and the Fate of the West, begins at 6:30 p.m.
With a huge bureaucracy, special interest-driven politics, and economic sluggishness, Japan mirrors many of today's advanced, industrial nations. And so its success, or lack of it, in addressing its challenges could serve as a signal to the U.S. and Europe. Are they on similar paths to low growth, political incompetence, and social malaise?
Abe, who won election in 2012, is pushing for completion of a 12-nation, trans-Pacific trade pact on which he says the U.S. and Japan "must take the lead" - a point of emphasis in his address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in late April 2015.
Auslin, who specializes in Asian regional security and political issues at the American Enterprise Institute, has advised both the U.S. government and private businesses on Asian and global security issues. A former associate professor of history at Yale University, he also is a biweekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal. His books include Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations.
The event is sponsored by Adam Starr and the Lawrence D. Starr Charitable Foundation.
A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.