U.S.-Japan Alliance Series

Two-Day Conference

U.S. Japan Alliance Conference

Left: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters; Right: Cpl. Xzavior McNeal/U.S. Marine Corps


Preventing Nuclear Proliferation to Iran (Day One)

Meeting the Challenge of Amphibious Operations (Day Two)


March 5-6, 2018


Monday, March 5 – 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


RAND Corporation
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Complimentary parking at RAND

About the Program

Over the past decade, the United States and Japan, two of the world's leading status quo powers, have faced major new challenges at both ends of the conflict spectrum.

Led by the United States and its allies, the international community responded to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons with crushing sanctions that ultimately forced Tehran to the negotiating table where it agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to wind back its nuclear program. For Japan, the only state ever to be struck with nuclear weapons, and Israel, which would face the greatest threat from an Iranian nuclear bomb, this agreement is extremely consequential. Of course the commitments of the United States and Iran to upholding their sides of the deal are also critical. In many quarters, the JCPOA has proven controversial, and its future is unclear. The conference will explore the perspectives of the United States, regional nations in the Middle East, and Japan.

Separately, at the lower end of the conflict spectrum, China has grown increasingly aggressive in pressing its claims to the Senkaku Islands via low-level coercion and threats. In response, Japan has transformed some Ground Self-Defense Force units into an amphibious rapidly-deployable brigade (ARDB). Its value for Japan's deterrence and defense, its implications for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, its effects on inter-service jointness, and its future interoperability with the U.S. Marine Corps are all critical questions that will be explored.

On March 5th and 6th, RAND will host a two-day conference to discuss U.S. and Japanese perspectives on the Iran nuclear deal and the creation of the ARDB. Keynote speakers will include former Congresswoman (D-CA 36) the Hon. Jane Harman, and former Commander of U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, Jr. Their insights will be supplemented by presentations from Japanese, Israeli, and American experts on these key issues confronting the U.S.-Japan alliance.

Day One: Monday, March 5


Welcome to RAND
Dr. Scott W. Harold, Associate Director, RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy

12:30 p.m.



“The Iran Nuclear Deal, Three Years On–An American Perspective”
The Hon. Jane Harman (former Congresswoman, D-CA 36) and President and CEO, The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars

Moderator Q&A with Dr. Scott W. Harold

Audience Q&A



2:00 p.m.


Dr. Shira Efron, RAND Corporation

Dr. Dalia Dassa Kaye, RAND Corporation

Mr. Alireza Nader, RAND Corporation

Ms. Sachi Sakanashi, Institute for Energy Economics Japan

Moderator Q&A with Dr. Scott W. Harold

Audience Q&A

2:30 p.m.


4:30 p.m.

Day Two: Tuesday, March 6


Welcome to RAND
Dr. Scott W. Harold, Associate Director, RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy

9:00 am.



“The U.S. – Japan Alliance and the U.S. Asia – Pacific Force Posture”
Lieutenant General John A. Toolan, Jr. (United States Marine Corps, retired) Former Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific



10:15 a.m.


Lieutenant General Koichiro Bansho (Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces, retired)

Dr. Jeffrey W. Hornung, RAND Corporation

Lieutenant General Koichi Isobe (Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces, retired)

Major General Richard L. Simcock, II (United States Marine Corps, retired)

10:30 a.m.


12:30 p.m.

About the Keynote Speakers

The Hon. Jane Harman

Jane Harman
Director, President, and CEO, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars

Jane Harman resigned from Congress on February 28, 2011 to join the Woodrow Wilson Center as its first female Director, President, and CEO. Representing the aerospace center of California during nine terms in Congress, she served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence, and eight on Homeland Security.

During her long public career, Harman has been recognized as a national expert at the nexus of security and public policy issues, and has received numerous awards for distinguished service. She is a member of the Defense Policy Board, the State Department Foreign Policy Board, and the Homeland Security Advisory Committee. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission and the Advisory Board of the Munich Security Conference. Harman is a Trustee of the Aspen Institute and the University of Southern California. She is also a member of the Presidential Debates Commission.

A product of Los Angeles public schools, Harman is a magna cum laude graduate of Smith College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Harvard Law School. Prior to serving in Congress, she was Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, Deputy Cabinet Secretary to President Jimmy Carter, Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, and in private law practice.

Lieutenant General John A. Toolan, Jr.

Lieutenant General John A. Toolan, Jr.
United States Marine Corps, Retired

Lieutenant General John A. Toolan, Jr. saw his 40-year military career culminate as the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Forces Pacific, a diverse organization of 83,000 Marines, Sailors, and defense personnel postured to partner with any number of Asia-Pacific allies to respond to potential crises in the region. A specialist in global strategic planning and decision-making, Lieutenant General Toolan's other assignments ranged from full-scale NATO coalition operations in Bosnia to partnership building with allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

From 2012–2014 he served as the Commanding General of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, the largest of the three Expeditionary Forces in the Fleet Marine Force comprised of more than 57,000 Marines, Sailors & civilian personnel. From 2011–2012 he led the II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) during a deployment to Afghanistan as a unique Marine Air-Ground Task Force partnered with Afghan National Security Forces to conduct counterinsurgency operations against Taliban and insurgent forces while promoting legitimate governance and economic development.

As a Brigadier General from 2006–2007 he served first as the Principal Director for Asia-Pacific Affairs in the Department of Defense, then rotated out to take over as the Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces Japan at Yokota Air Base until 2010. He managed the Pacific Posture Lay-Down to provide ready, relevant, and responsive forces throughout the Asia-Pacific region while overseeing the re-allocation of 10,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, managing a $12 billion investment budget for the construction of critical supporting infrastructure. With a well-rounded education including a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Fordham University, an MBA from National University, and a Master's degree in Chinese Regional Studies from the U.S. Air War College, he is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, the United States Marines Command and General Staff College, and the United States Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School.