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Strategic Japan Working Papers

Working papers by Japanese experts on potential areas for enhanced cooperation between the United States and Japan.

Does Japan have a grand strategy? Is Japan capable of grand strategy? In the post-war period, Japan adhered closely to the Yoshida Doctrine of alignment with United States and focus on economic growth. However, today the nation faces challenges from a rising China and constrained economic growth at home that have required a search for new tools of statecraft to secure national interests and preserve autonomy and prestige. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has garnered significant attention for his policies undergirding a path of “proactive pacifism” for Japan. First, Abe is pursuing an ambitious combination of fiscal policy, quantitative easing, and structural reform to reinvigorate Japan’s economy. Second, Abe is responding to strategic challenges by realigning national security institutions, including the establishment of a new National Security Council (NSC) and the relaxation of the government’s bans on collective self-defense and arms exports. 

Shaping this new strategy is a generation of Japanese scholars and foreign policy experts who came of age in the post-Cold War era. Trained in the West but fluent in Asian languages, they are poised to take positions of influence as decision-making is increasingly centralized in the Prime Minister’s Office and the new NSC. CSIS has invited Japanese experts to serve as short-term visiting scholars in Washington, D.C. They worked with CSIS counterparts and other American scholars to produce strategy memos on their geographic and functional areas of expertise.

Taken together, these papers highlight potential areas for enhanced cooperation between the United States and Japan at a time when the United States needs a confident and proactive Japan, and Japan needs sustained U.S. engagement and deterrence in a changing Asia-Pacific region.

2020 Working Papers

Tomotaka Shoji

“Japan’s Approach toward ASEAN-led Security Multilateralism: Coordinating Strategic Agendas with the United States”

Mie Oba

“Regional Economic Institutions and Japan’s Leadership: The Promotion of Institutional Hedging”

Sara Konoe 

“Japan’s Diplomacy at the G7 and G20: Supporting Global Economic Governance”

Miki Honda

“Japan’s Strategies for Advancing Diplomacy in the United Nations: Implications for U.S.-Japan Cooperation”

Past Event
"Strategic Japan: Shaping the Rules Based Order in the Reiwa Era"


2019 Working Papers

Ryo Sahashi (The University of Tokyo)
The Indo-Pacific in Japan’s Foreign Policy

Ryosuke Hanada (The Japan Institute of International Affairs)
The Role of U.S.-Japan-Australia-India Cooperation, or the ‘Quad’ in FOIP: A Policy Coordination Mechanism for the Rules-Based Order

Naoko Eto ( Institute of Developing Economies Japan External Trade Organization)
Japanese Strategy for Balancing China: The Gravity of Universal Values in the ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP)

Shino Watanabe (Sophia University)

China’s Infrastructure Development in the Indo-Pacific Region: Challenges and Opportunities


2018 Working Papers

Yoko Hirose (Keio University)
“Japan-Russia Relations: Can the Northern Territories Issue be Overcome?”

Satoru Mori (Hosei University)
“Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation in the Age of Defense Innovation”

Michito Tsuruoka (Keio University)
“Japan and Europe as Strategic Partners: Opportunities and Challenges”

Madoka Fukuda (Hosei University)
“Japan’s Policy Toward China and Taiwan”


2017 Working Papers

Kei Koga (Nanyang Technological University)
“Transcending the Fukuda Doctrine: Japan, ASEAN, and the Future of the Regional Order”

Junya Nishino (Keio University)
“Japan’s Security Relationship with the Republic of Korea: Opportunities and Challenges”

Shutaro Sano (National Defense Academy)
“Japan-India Security Cooperation: Building a Solid Foundation amid Uncertainty”

Tomohiko Satake (National Institute for Defense Studies)
“Japan-Australia Security Cooperation: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities”


2016 Working Papers

Akiko Fukushima (Aoyama Gakuin University)
“Multilateralism Recalibrated: Japan’s Engagement in Institution Building in the Past 70 Years and Beyond”

Jun Saito (Keio University)
“Japan’s Economy and Policy in a Global Context: Postwar Experience and Prospects for the 21st Century”

Kazuya Sakamoto (Osaka University)
“What Is the Strengthened Japan-U.S. Alliance for? Defending and Advancing the Liberal World Order”

Yoshihide Soeya (Keio University)
“The Case for an Alternative Strategy for Japan: Beyond the “A9A” Regime”


2015 Working Papers

Heigo Sato (Takushoku University)
"Japan's Arms Export and Defense Production Policy"

Satoru Nagao (Gakushuin University)
"Japan, the United States, and India as Key Balancers in Asia"

Akiko Imai (Tokyo Foundation)
"Development Assistance for Inclusive Growth: A Field for Japan-U.S. Cooperation?"

Yoko Takeda (Mitsubishi Research Institute)
"Will the Sun Also Rise? Five Growth Strategies for Japan"


2014 Working Papers

Yasuhiro Matsuda (University of Tokyo)
“How to Understand China’s Assertiveness since 2009: Hypotheses and Policy Implications”

Tetsuo Kotani (Japan Institute of International Affairs)
“U.S.-Japan Allied Maritime Strategy: Balancing the Rise of Maritime China”

Hiroyasu Akutsu (National Institute for Defense Studies)
“Japan’s North Korea Strategy: Dealing with New Challenges”

Yoshikazu Kobayashi (Institute of Energy Economics, Japan)
“Enhancing Energy Resilience: Challenging Tasks for Japan’s Energy Policy”

Nobuhiro Aizawa (Kyushu University)
“Japan’s Strategy toward Southeast Asia and the Japan-U.S. Alliance”

Contact Information
Contact Hannah Fodale
Tel: 202-457-8752