The First Shimoda Conference (then also known as the Japanese-American Assembly) took place in 1967 as a forum for high-level but unofficial discussions of critical issues in US-Japan relations, the first of its kind in the postwar US-Japan relationship. It was initiated by the Japan Council for International Understanding (JCIE’s predecessor) and the American Assembly of Columbia University, with funding from the Ford Foundation. Among the attendees were several Congressional members, including then Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, Senator Edmund Muskie (later secretary of state), Representative Thomas Foley (later Speaker of the House), and Representative Donald Rumsfeld (later secretary of defense). The Japanese Diet participants included Yasuhiro Nakasone (later prime minister) and Eiichi Nagasue (later chairman of the Democratic Socialist Party). At this conference, Senator Mansfield and other participants pointed out the need for the initiation of informal contact and the exchange of views among Japanese and US legislators. As a result, the US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange Program, the first privately sponsored, unofficial, and nonpartisan Congressional exchange was launched in 1968.

Held periodically at key turning points in Japan-US relations, the Shimoda Conferences became a symbol of private policy dialogue between the two countries. Conferences dealt with issues of diplomacy, trade, security, globalization, media, and education from a bilateral perspective. Shimoda ’94, the ninth Shimoda Conference, also served as the second in a series of three conferences on Japan and the United States in Asia Pacific, which were carried out under JCIE’s “United States and Japan in Asia Pacific” project. This was the first Shimoda Conference to involve not only American and Japanese government, private-sector, media, and academic leaders but also a large contingent of participants from other Asia Pacific nations. Their inclusion reflected the belief that because the Japan-US relationship is so embedded in and critical to Asia Pacific as a whole, it should be the subject of a broad regional dialogue.

Tokusaburo Kosaka welcoming Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield at the first Shimoda Conference


1967: 1st Shimoda Conference

1969: 2nd Shimoda Conference

1972: 3rd Shimoda Conference

1977: 4th Shimoda Conference

1981: 5th Shimoda Conference

 1983: 6th Shimoda Conference

1987: 7th Shimoda Conference

1990: 8th Shimoda Conference

1994: 9th Shimoda Conference

2011: New Shimoda Conference


JCIE Publications | Discord in the Pacific

This volume contains articles that were prepared as background papers for the Third Japanese-American Assembly held in Shimoda, Japan, in June 1972 (the first two Shimoda assemblies were held in 1967 and 1969), as well as the final report on the Third Assembly.

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Additional Reports

The United States and Japan (1975)
Encounter at Shimoda: Search for a New Pacific Partnership (1979)
The Fifth Shimoda Conference (1981)
Shimoda Report: A Continuing Dialogue on Critical Issues in US-Japan Relations (1982)
Report of the 6th Shimoda Conference (1983)
Report of the 7th Shimoda Conference (1987)
Report of the 8th Shimoda Conference (1990)