Asia Today with Jeffrey Bingham Mead


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Asia Today with Jeffrey Bingham Mead navigateright Episode

SHOW #49, DECEMBER 7, 2019

On the December 7, 2019 broadcast of Asia Today with Jeffrey Bingham Mead I welcomed Professor Richard J. Samuels. Our conversation focused on his newly-released book Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community. 

The prewar history of the Japanese intelligence community demonstrates how having power over much, but insight into little can have devastating consequences. Its postwar history—one of limited Japanese power despite growing insight—has also been problematic for national security. In Special Duty Richard J. Samuels dissects the fascinating history of the intelligence community in Japan. Looking at the impact of shifts in the strategic environment, technological change, and past failures, he probes the reasons why Japan has endured such a roller-coaster ride when it comes to intelligence gathering and analysis, and concludes that the ups and downs of the past century—combined with growing uncertainties in the regional security environment—have convinced Japanese leaders of the critical importance of striking balance between power and insight.  

Using examples of excessive hubris and debilitating bureaucratic competition before the Asia-Pacific War, the unavoidable dependence on US assets and popular sensitivity to security issues after World War II, and the tardy adoption of image-processing and cyber technologies, Samuels' bold book highlights the century-long history of Japan's struggles to develop a fully functioning and effective intelligence capability, and makes clear that Japanese leaders have begun to reinvent their nation's intelligence community.

Richard J. Samuels is Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Einstein Visiting Fellow at the University of Berlin. His books have won prized from the American Political Science Association, the Association for Asian Studies, and the Society for Italian Historical Studies. 

In other news, UCT Int’l Culture Development, Inc., and the Westchester Association of Chinese Americans held an Arts for Peace Youth seminar and exhibition at United Nations headquarters in New York City. The event was well attended by distinguished guests from various permanent missions to the UN, former Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest  Davis, Sean Wang, Vice President of Westchester Association of Chinese Americans-, Vivirena Wang, President of Young Westchester Association of Chinese Americans-, UCT member and philanthropist KiKi Hong, UN officials, the student artists, and many guests.  

Yiling Li, the President of the UCT, hosted the seminar and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Six students from different schools received certificates from the UCT Culture Center and New Jersey State officials. The students delivered keynote speeches at the seminar, shared their artwork, as well as how the UN sustainable development goals have been reflected. A star model from Argentina with special needs shared his experiences in overcoming challenges to make his artistic dreams come to true. All guests and students were deeply touched and encouraged.  

Mr. Sean Wang delivered closing remarks, expressing appreciation and support from the guests and encouraged the students to get actively involved. Mr. Wang presented the Certificates of Honor to the 19 students who had participated in the event. The event helped students and guests better understand the 17 UN sustainable development goals. This a milestone for all participating students.  The host also expressed that they would organize more events like this in the future, providing opportunities for young people to participate , share and lead the road toward peace. 

Tune-in to Asia Today with Jeffrey Bingham Mead for the broadcast in realtime on Saturday mornings starting 10:30 a.m. Eastern USA Time on Radio 1490 WGCH and anywhere via live audio streaming over the Internet.