In May 1999, a small meeting of 18 top opinion leaders from Japan and the United States was convened in Tarrytown, New York, by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party Koichi Kato. The goal of the meeting was to discuss future US-Japan cooperation in Asia. The initiative for this meeting came from Dr. Kissinger and Professor Ezra Vogel of Harvard University, both of whom assert that dialogue and cooperative networks between the leaders of the two countries need to be substantially reinforced in light of major changes in Asia that will lead to new opportunities for bilateral cooperation but also give rise to potential conflict and tension between the two countries. JCIE and Harvard’s Asia Center served as the secretariats for this effort. Discussions at the first meeting focused on the domestic dynamics that affect each country’s Asia policy, political security issues in East Asia, and the future prospects for Asia Pacific regional economic development.

The Second US-Japan Dialogue on Asia took place on April 6–7, 2000, in Tokyo. The dialogue engaged a diverse group of 19 politicians, former and current government leaders, academics, and journalists, led by Henry Kissinger, Koichi Kato, and former Vice President Walter Mondale. The discussions centered on the impact of China and the Korean peninsula on political, economic, and security policies in the United States and Japan, as well as on the challenges of managing the US-Japan relationship.