Natural gas, natural allies: Energizing the US–Japan relationship
Keynote address by Representative Michael Turner, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
About This Event

Event Summary

With Washington's attention diverted away from the Asia "pivot" and toward the conflict in Syria, Representative Michael Turner (R-OH) joined AEI's Dan Blumenthal, Michael Mazza, and Gary Schmitt to discuss the potential strategic implications of US natural gas exports to Japan. Rep. Turner argued that the US should take advantage of its growing energy production to become a bigger player in the global energy market. He added  that if US companies are permitted to export natural gas, then job opportunities at home will increase, Japan will no longer look to potentially unreliable countries to meet its energy needs, and the US government will realize opportunities to deepen alliances with our partners.

Mazza began the panel discussion by emphasizing Japan's desperate need to secure stable supplies of rare earths elements (REEs). In particular, he highlighted the opportunity for Tokyo to use investment in countries with REEs to deepen relationships with new Asian partners.

Schmitt elaborated on Rep. Turner's remarks, pointing out that there are substantial economic and strategic rationales for the US to export natural gas. He noted that while shale gas has dominated the REE discussion in recent years, Alaska's conventional gas reserves may prove to be an important source of energy for the Japanese market. Blumenthal concluded by pointing out that the ingenuity of the private sector has given Washington an opportunity to make policy decisions overwhelmingly positive geopolitical and economic implications. 
--Shannon Mann

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Event Description

As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe strives to revive his country’s economic growth, Japan continues to grapple with a scarcity of natural resources that are most critical to its economic well-being and national security. Tokyo’s quest to expand its network of reliable resource suppliers -- in particular, its quest for rare earth elements and natural gas -- coincides with the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia and with an American energy boom.

At this event, the authors of a recently released AEI report titled “Ensuring Japan’s critical resource security: Case studies in rare earth element and natural gas supplies” will discuss how both the US and Japan can take advantage of the convergence of Tokyo’s quest with America’s “pivot” and energy boom. Representative Michael Turner (R-OH), cosponsor of the House Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013, will provide a keynote address.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


9:45 AM
Breakfast and Registration

10:00 AM
Keynote Address:
Michael Turner, US House of Representatives (R-OH)

10:30 AM
Panel Discussion:
Dan Blumenthal, AEI
Mike Mazza, AEI
Gary J. Schmitt, AEI

Ely Ratner, Center for New American Security

11:30 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact John VerWey at [email protected], 202.862.5839.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Dan Blumenthal is the director of Asian Studies at AEI, where he focuses on East Asian security issues and Sino-American relations. He is also a founding board member of the Alexander Hamilton Society and serves on the board of the Project 2049 Institute and the US-Taiwan Business Council. Blumenthal recently became a research associate at the National Asia Research Program. Previously, he served in and advised the US government on China issues for more than a decade. From 2001 to 2004, Blumenthal served as senior director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia at the US Department of Defense. Additionally, he served as a commissioner on the congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission from 2006 to 2012, holding the position of vice chairman in 2007. He has also served on the academic advisory board of the congressional US-China Working Group. Blumenthal coauthored the book "An Awkward Embrace: The United States and China in the 21st Century" (AEI Press, 2012), and has authored numerous articles in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and The Weekly Standard.

Mike Mazza is a research fellow in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at AEI, where he analyzes US defense policy in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese military modernization, cross–Taiwan Strait relations, and Korean peninsula security. Apart from writing regularly for the AEIdeas blog, he is also program manager of AEI’s annual Executive Program on National Security Policy and Strategy. At AEI, Mazza has contributed to studies on American grand strategy in Asia, US defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific, and Taiwanese defense strategy. He has lived and studied in China and has written op-eds for the The Wall Street Journal Asia, Los Angeles Times, and The Weekly Standard, among others.

Ely Ratner is the deputy director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. His research interests include US national security strategy in Asia, China’s foreign relations in the region, and the US-China bilateral relationship. Ratner recently served in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the US State Department as the lead political officer covering China’s external relations in Asia. Before joining the State Department, he was an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he performed research and long-range analysis on the rise of China, the People’s Liberation Army, and regional security in Asia. He previously worked in the US Senate in the office of Senator Joseph R. Biden (D-DE) and later as a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His commentary and research have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Quarterly, The National Interest, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Ratner is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and previously served as a research fellow in the inaugural class of the National Asia Research Program.

Gary J. Schmitt
is codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI and the director of AEI's Program on American Citizenship. Schmitt is a former staff director of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He was executive director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board during former president Ronald Reagan's second term. Schmitt's security work focuses on longer-term strategic issues that will affect America's security at home and its ability to lead abroad, while his work in the area of citizenship focuses on challenges to maintaining and sustaining a strong civic culture in America. His two most recent books, to which he is both editor and contributing author, are “The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition” (Encounter Books, 2009) and “Safety, Liberty and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism” (AEI Press, 2010).

Michael Turner represents Ohio’s 10th district. Congressman Turner serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, which conducts oversight of ammunition programs, Army and Air Force acquisition programs, all Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs, the National Guard and Army, and the Air Force National Guard and Reserve. In addition, he serves as a member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Before his current congressional appointment in 2012, Turner was appointed chairman of the US Delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly in 2011. Congressman Turner was first selected to the 108th Congress in January 2003. Appointed to the Armed Services Committee, he assisted Wright-Patterson Air Force Base located in Ohio’s 10th District. He congruently served on the Government Reform Committee, which allowed him to utilize his prior experiences as mayor of Dayton, Ohio.

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