Senior Fellow, JCIE/Japan​

Koji Watanabe is a senior fellow at the Japan Center for International Exchange, and he previously served as Japan’s ambassador to Russia (1993–1996) and ambassador to Italy (1992–93). He was also deputy minister for foreign affairs, sherpa for the G-7 Houston and London summits of 1991 and 1990, and Japanese co-chairman of the US-Japan Structural Impediments Initiative Talks.

Ambassador Watanabe joined the Foreign Ministry upon graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1956 and served as director-general of the Information Analysis, Research, and Planning Bureau and of the Economic Affairs Bureau. He was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University (1973–1974). His other overseas posts include counsellor at the Japanese Embassy in Saigon (1974–1976), minister at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing (1981–1984), and ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1988–89). Ambassador Watanabe is president of the Japan Forum and a former member of the Board of Governors of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).