Academia & Science

The Rise of Populism and Japan

30 April 2019

1:00pm – 2:00pm

The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), 10 St James's Square, London, SW1Y 4LE

020 7486 4348



Despite growing populism around the world, the rise of Trumpism and the Brexit labyrinth in the UK, Japan seems to be a relatively stable democracy. Japan has successfully advanced free trade initiatives in the Asia Pacific region and with Europe. Shinzo Abe is soon to be the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history. Yet, it by no means follows that Japan is immune to populistic impulsions. This seminar will explore how populism plays out in public discourses across society, politics and foreign relations in Japan today and how the case of Japan can be situated in a global context.

To register your interest in the seminar please visit the Chatham House event page.

About the contributors

Professor Yasushi Watanabe
Professor Yasushi Watanabe is Professor at Keio University. Before joining Keio University, he was awarded a PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University and undertook post-doctoral research at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. He was previously a Fellow at Downing College, University of Cambridge in 2007, a Visiting Professor at Sciences-Po in 2013, a Japan Scholar at the Wilson Center, and Visiting Scholars at Peking University and College of Europe in 2018. Yasushi serves on the Advisory Panel at the Japan Foundation, as a programme director of the International House of Japan, and a co-chair of the Japan Advisory Council of the Salzburg Global Seminar. His books include the co-edited volume Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States (2008) and the edited volume Handbook of Cultural Security (2018). In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious Japan Academy Medal, which is the highest national prize awarded to mid-career academics.

Sir David Warren
Sir David Warren (Chair) is an Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, at Chatham House. He was the British ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012, having served twice before in the British embassy in Tokyo during his career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He was head of the FCO’s China Hong Kong department from 1998 to 2000, and a member of the FCO’s board of management from 2004 to 2007. He retired from the FCO in 2013. He is now visiting professor at Sheffield University, and chair of the council of the University of Kent. Sir David is also a member of the advisory board of Migration Matters, the campaigning group highlighting the benefits of legal migration, and a director of Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust. He was previously chairman of the Japan Society, the leading independent body in the United Kingdom dedicated to UK-Japanese cultural, educational and business contacts.