Japanese Foreign Intelligence is an outlier. Unlike many states, Japan does not possess a centralized foreign intelligence agency that dispatches agents abroad to engage in espionage. Japan is also notable for civilian control over key capabilities in human and signals intelligence. Japanese Foreign Intelligence and Grand Strategy probes the unique makeup of the country’s foreign intelligence institutions, practices, and capabilities across the economic, political, and military domains and shows how they have changed over time.
Brad Williams begins by exploring how Japan’s experiences of the Second World War and its new role as a major US ally influenced its adoption of bilateralism, developmentalism, technonationalism, and antimilitarism as key norms. As a result, Japanese intelligence-gathering resources centered primarily around improving its position in the global economy throughout the Cold War. Williams then brings his analysis up to the Abe era, examining how twenty-first-century shifts in the international, regional, and domestic policy environments have caused a gradual reassessment of national security strategy under former prime minister Shinzo Abe. As Japan reevaluates its old norms in light of regional security challenges, the book concludes by detailing how the country is beginning to rethink the size, shape, and purpose of its intelligence community.
Anyone interested in Japanese intelligence, security, or international relations will welcome this important contribution to our understanding of intelligence capabilities and strategy.
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