Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

David Goldfischer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Paul Viotti

Third Advisor

Peter Van Ness


Japan, Missile defense program, Defense, International relations, Asia, China, South Korea


For some years, Japan has pursued its own missile defense system in cooperation with the United States. The Japanese government claims that the missile defense (JMD) program is purely defensive and will not pose a threat to other countries. JMD may seem justified by North Korea's development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. However, neighboring states regarded it as a sign of military ambition and revival of Japan's prewar militarism. The development and deployment of JMD could have grave implications for regional and global security. This dissertation focuses on these implications, domestic and international political considerations and the future direction of Japan's defense and security policy.

After the Cold War, when the superpowers maintained strategic stability with massive offensive nuclear arsenals (mutual assured destruction--MAD), new threats from rogue states and terrorists have forced us to rethink the credibility of MAD. But attempts to build shields against nuclear ballistic missiles could trigger a new phase of the arms race pitting offensive vs. defensive capabilities. The author argues that defense must be emphasized in order to achieve stability and security (mutual defense emphasis--MDE). Characterization of JMD as truly defensive or not depends on theoretical and strategic viewpoints. The key is the distinction between defense and offense, and whether Japan will emphasize defense, and convince other states that its strategic intentions are really defensive.

For the Japanese, with their dual realist and pacifist identities, JMD can be a tool of either realist military strategy or pacifist arms control. Japan should choose defensive realism, including MDE arms control, as a middle way that may eventually open a pacifist route to disarmament. With the world's most sophisticated technology and a tradition of pacifism, Japan is in a unique and advantageous position to promote arms control.

In pursuit of JMD, the Japanese government should not only promote arms control and MDE--building missile shields against rogue and terrorist missile attacks or accidental or unauthorized launches, but also advance offensive arms reduction among major states. Japan can and must become a leader in such a shift toward a less dangerous world.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Norifumi Namatame


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

246 p.


International law