Marc Knapper
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

U.S. Department of State

Marc Knapper, a member of the Senior Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan since August 2018. Prior to assuming this position, Marc was in Seoul as Chargé d’Affaires from 2017 to 2018 and Deputy Chief of Mission from 2015 to 2016. Earlier assignments include Director for India Affairs, Director for Japanese Affairs, and multiple postings in Tokyo, Seoul, Hanoi, and Baghdad.

Marc has twice worked in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, once in 1997 as the State Department representative to the Spent Fuel Team at the Yongbyon nuclear facility, and again in 2000 as part of the advance team for then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s visit to Pyongyang.

Marc is the recipient of a number of awards from the U.S. Department of State, including the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the nation’s highest diplomatic honor. Marc has also received the Linguist of the Year award and three Superior Honor Awards. He is a summa cum laude graduate from Princeton University, and also studied at the University of Tokyo, Middlebury College’s intensive Japanese program, the Army War College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Seminar XXI course. Mr. Knapper speaks Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese.

Yasuyo Sakata
Professor of International Relations
Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS)

Yasuyo Sakata specializes in Korean Peninsula and East Asia security with a focus on alliances, U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral relations, and Japan-Korea relations. She was a research fellow of the Research Institute for Peace and Security (Tokyo) Security Studies Program, visiting research fellow at the Institute of Modern Korean Studies at Yonsei University, and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University. She is a member of the Japan Ministry of Defense Central Deliberative Council on Defense Facilities and NHK World’s Deliberative Committee. She has participated in expert seminars including those at the National Committee for American Foreign Policy, RAND, and the European Council of Foreign Relations. She has made media commentaries including the Japan National Press Club, NHK Sunday Debate, NHK World, TV Asahi, Arirang TV (Seoul), and Channel News Asia (Singapore). She received her B.A. and M.A. in political science from Keio University (Tokyo).

Dr. Hiroki Takeuchi (moderator)
Associate Professor, Tower Center for Political Studies, SMU
Director, Sun & Star Japan and East Asia Program

Hiroki Takeuchi is Associate Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia in the Tower Center, at Southern Methodist University (SMU).  He received his B.A. of Economics from Keio University in Japan, his M.A. of Asian Studies from University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. of Political Science from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  Previously, he taught at UCLA as a faculty fellow of the Political Science Department and at Stanford University as a postdoctoral teaching fellow of the Public Policy Program.

Dr. Takeuchi’s research and teaching interests include Chinese and Japanese politics, comparative authoritarianism, and international relations and political economy of East Asia, as well as applying game theory to political science.

He is the author of Tax Reform in Rural China: Revenue, Resistance, and Authoritarian Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2014).