Christopher B. Johnstone Joins CSIS as Japan Chair

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2022: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to announce that Christopher B. Johnstone has been appointed as Japan Chair effective June 13. Prior to joining CSIS, he served on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) as director for East Asia.

“Chris Johnstone is a highly regarded expert on Japan and has served in numerous senior positions in government with great distinction,” said John J. Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS. “We are grateful he is now bringing this decades-long experience to the Japan Chair at CSIS.”

A career civil servant, Johnstone served at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy as principal director for East Asia from 2016 to 2017 and then as principal director for South and Southeast Asia until 2021. In these capacities, he was responsible for the DOD's strategy for engagement with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan and played a key role in shaping DOD strategy toward North Korea and China. Johnstone also served as acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia from January to August 2017.

Previously, he was director for Japan and Oceanian affairs on the NSC from 2014 to 2016. In this role, he supported the president and senior NSC leaders in the development and execution of Asia policy with a focus on Japan and Australia. From 2010 to 2014, Johnstone was Northeast Asia director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he led a team of civilians and military officers that advised the secretary of defense on security policy toward Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Johnstone began his government career at the Central Intelligence Agency. He was a team chief in the Office of Asia Pacific Analysis from 2009 to 2010 and served as the senior political analyst at an East Asian field station from 2005 to 2008.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join CSIS as the Japan Chair,” said Johnstone. “I look forward to building on the extraordinary tradition of the program, which has long been at the forefront of policy-relevant research and analysis on Japan and U.S.-Japan relations.”

Johnstone is a member of the board of trustees of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC and the recipient of the Ryozo Kato Award for Service to the U.S.-Japan Alliance (January 2013). He holds a master's degree in public affairs, international relations and affairs from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree in history from Swarthmore College. He is fluent in Japanese.

Michael J. Green, CSIS’s outgoing senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair, is leaving to become CEO of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Dr. Green will remain with CSIS in a non-resident capacity as senior adviser and Kissinger Chair. CSIS’s long-standing Korea Chair, Dr. Victor Cha, will replace Dr. Green as senior vice president for Asia, while retaining his role as Korea Chair. Nicholas Szechenyi will remain as senior fellow, Japan Chair, and will also become deputy director for Asia.