Monday, November 23, 2020

Japan's Major Outreach to US Think Tanks

The Center for International Policy's (CIP) Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative (FITI) has published a new report on Japan's influence in the US.

The report was fairly narrow in scope, and only analyzed Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) statements from 2019.  It showed, among other things, that 51 different firms served as Japan's registered foreign agents in the US, and there was reported spending of nearly $32 million by Japan on FARA-registered firms.

The report showed that think tanks were contacted at least 476 times in Japan's influence efforts in 2019.  "[With think tanks, there is] little or no information on who was potentially influenced, as 444 of the 476 contacts were unreported by the Okinawa Prefecture DC Office."

Added the report: "More contact definitely took place than what was reported in FARA, with think tanks perhaps even less forthcoming about their donors than FARA-filing forms are about their outreach on behalf of foreign governments, as demonstrated in other FITI reporting."

FITI notes that it previously found that from 2014-2018, Japan contributed close to $5 million to US think tanks as the largest East Asian donor and ranking 11th among all foreign funders.

The report received financial funding through the Charles Koch Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.