Sasebo Seminar: Maritime Challenges in the Indo-Pacific: Common Causes for the U.S. and Japan Beyond Traditional Security (YCAPS-JUMP)

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Sasebo Seminar: Maritime Challenges in the Indo-Pacific: Common Causes for the U.S. and Japan Beyond Traditional Security (YCAPS-JUMP)

November 19, 2019 , 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

The Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies (YCAPS) held its first event in Sasebo on November 19, 2019. “Maritime Challenges in the Indo-Pacific: Common Causes for the U.S. and Japan Beyond Traditional Security,” took place at the Sasebo Central Public Hall in Sasebo City, Japan. The event was free and open to all interested in learning about the topic and meeting others with similar interests. This seminar was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and in partnership with JUMP, the Japan-America Society of Sasebo (JASS), and Pacific Forum (PacForum).

Approximately 35 YCAPS members came to hear experts from the United States, Japan, and Southeast Asia discuss the wide array of maritime challenges that threaten the prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. These challenges include territorial conflicts, erosion of the rule of law, piracy and other criminal activities, unsustainable fishing and environmental destruction. The experts discussed the idea that as wealthy maritime states sharing an enduring alliance and common commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the United States and Japan have a responsibility to lead efforts to address these challenges. They also examined the range of partnerships required to effectively meet these challenges and the major barriers that make these challenges particularly thorny.

The speakers were: RADM Bob Girrier (USN Ret.), President at Pacific Forum; Dr. Sato Yoichiro, Dean of International Cooperation and Research at Ritsumeiken Asia-Pacific University; and Dr. Deo Florence Onda, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director for Research at the Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines.

This event was also held in Yokosuka on Nov. 22.

Event Details:

Time: 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., November 19, 2019

Cost: Free of charge.


Sasebo Central Community Center


857-0053, 6-1 Tokiwacho, Sasebo City



RADM Robert P. “Bob” Girrier, USN (Ret.) is president of Pacific Forum, a Honolulu-based non-profit, non-partisan private foreign policy research institute providing timely, informative, and innovative analysis of political, security and strategic developments in the Indo-Pacific region.
A naval leader with over thirty years’ maritime experience and extensive operations throughout the Indo-Pacific, Europe and Middle East, his operational assignments culminated as Deputy Commander Pacific Fleet and as the Director of Operations for U.S. Pacific Command. Command assignments included two carrier strike groups, a destroyer squadron, destroyer, global mine warfare operations and a mine countermeasures ship.
In theater, he served as lead maritime representative to the team negotiating Rules of Behavior in the Maritime Domain with the Chinese Navy. He also led the first U.S. on-scene naval support during Operation Tomodachi in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and resulting consequence management and disaster response efforts. In Washington, he led the stand-up of the Navy Staff’s firstever office of Unmanned Warfare Systems, making the value case for unmanned & manned systems working in collaboration – and more capably – across increasingly connected environments.
Co-author of three professional naval books on command-at-sea, watch-standing skills and leadership/management, and co-author of 3rd edition of “Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations” (June 2018), he was selected as the U.S. Naval Institute Press Author of the Year for 2017.
He holds an MPA, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; an MMA (Marine Affairs), University of Rhode Island; an MA (International Affairs) SIS, American University; and a BS, U.S. Naval Academy.

Professor Yoichiro Sato holds a BA (Law) from Keio University, MA (International Studies) from University of South Carolina, and Ph.D (Political Science) from University of Hawaii. He is a professor at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. Previously, he also taught at multiple tertiary and governmental institutions including the U.S. Department of Defense’s AsiaPacific Center for Security Studies, Auckland University (New Zealand), and University of Hawaii. His major works include The Rise of China and International Security (co-edited with Kevin Cooney, Routledge, 2008), The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance (co-edited with Takashi Inoguchi and G. John Ikenberry, Palgrave, 2011), U.S. Engagement in the Asia Pacific (co-edited with See Seng Tang, Cambria, 2015), and Re-rising Japan: Its Strategic Power in International Relations (co-edited with Hidekazu Sakai, Peter Lang, 2017). He has been an invited speaker at various top-ranked policy think tanks globally, including the Chatham House and the Royal United Services Institute (London), the East-West Center and the Wilson Center (Washington, D.C.), the National Bureau of Research (Seattle), the Observer Research Foundation (New Delhi), and the Australian Institute of International Affairs (Canberra). His articles and comments have appeared in various international media, including Time, Newsweek, USA Today, National Public Radio, Voice of America, Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, Radio Australia, Bloomberg, MSNBC, Nikkei Asian Review, Japan Times, and TVNZ.

Dr. Deo Florence L. Onda is a current Assistant Professor at the Marine Science Institute in the University of the Philippines – Diliman (UPMSI) and the founding Principal Investigator of the Microbial Oceanography Laboratory. He is also serving as the Deputy Director for Research of the UP MSI. He obtained his Interuniversity PhD in Oceanography in Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, and returned to the Philippines as a Returning PhD Fellow of the UP System and a Returning Scientist Fellow of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology. His work is mainly focused on the how microbial assemblages can be used as indicators of the changing environment, for which he received several international awards and fellowships. He has also recently started working on plastics pollution as an emerging transnational boundary problem. As an oceanographer, he has been involved and still has ongoing collaborations with several international research institutions for Polar and tropical research, including the South China Sea. He is also currently involved in conservation efforts for the marine environment particularly in the West Philippine Sea. Recently, he served as the Chief Scientist and Program Leader of the scientific expedition to the Kalayaan Island Group in the Spratlys Islands.

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