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January 09, 2007

[SSJ: 4312] New Monograph on Japanese Public Opinion and Policy toward Security

From: Paul Midford
Date: 2007/01/08

Please forgive this shameless plug, but I believe many SSJ Forum members will be interested in a monograph I just published with the East-West Center's Washington office (Policy Studies #27):

"Japanese Public Opinion and the War on Terrorism:
Implications for Japan's Security Strategy"

This monograph will soon be for sale at Amazon.com (generally EWC Policy Studies sell for $10). You can down load a pdf version now at the East-West Center's Washington office web site for free.

(Click on "Publications" and then "Policy Studies")

A 65 page study with 18 tables (originally it had over 20, but some were integrated into the text for publishing cost reasons) and many more data points from newspaper, governmental and other private polls, this is the most comprehensive recent look in English (and perhaps in Japanese as well: if someone knows of a more comprehensive study, please let me know!) at Japanese mass attitudes toward security, and how these attitudes influence policy. It is methodologically novel for showing how qualitative methods such as congruence, process tracing and triangulation can be usefully applied to analyze a rich array of quantitative data (data often heavily influenced by small changes in survey question wording) and its influence on policy.

Below is the back jacket description of this monograph. Comments and feedback are more than welcome!


Paul Midford

Back jacket Description:

Japan has actively contributed to the Bush administration's war on terrorism, going far beyond the financial support it provided during the first Gulf War in 1991 and testing the limits of postwar constitutional prohibitions on the deployment of military forces overseas. This has led some observers to suggest that Japan might be positioning itself to become a more active supporter of U.S. global strategy, a "Britain of Asia." This study challenges this view and finds that less has changed in Japan's overseas deployments than is often claimed. This study identifies public opinion, an understudied factor, as the reason for the modest expansion of Japan's overseas deployments since 9/11 and brings to bear a wealth of data to back up this conclusion. Applying modified conceptions of defensive and offensive realism to public attitudes regarding the use of force for the first time, this study finds that the Japanese "mass public" has increasingly recognized the need to prepare to meet military threats, but views military power as useful only for homeland defense. The public has been consistently skeptical about the utility of offensive military power for promoting democracy or suppressing weapons of mass destruction proliferation or terrorist networks. The invasion of Iraq, for reasons viewed with great skepticism, has caused the Japanese public, like publics in many other countries, to become increasingly distrustful of U.S. foreign policy. This, combined with a growing willingness to provide for its own defense, suggests that Japan may be less willing to support far-flung U.S. military operations in the future and concentrate more on increasing its defense autonomy.

Paul Midford
Associate Professor
Director of Japan Program
Department of Sociology and Political Science
Dragvoll, NTNU
Office # 10504
NO-7491 Trondheim
Web: http://www.svt.ntnu.no/japan
Office Phone: +47 - 73 59 16 03
Fax: +47 - 73 59 15 64
Cell Phone: +47-452-15-394
Email: Paul.Midford[atx]svt.ntnu.no

Approved by ssjmod at January 9, 2007 11:49 AM