Naoki Tanaka, quite possibly the least effective defense minister in the Ministry of Defense’s short history, has been replaced by Satoshi Morimoto, a professor at Takushoku University – a private university in Tokyo. Morimoto’s appointment makes him the first non-politician in the Ministry of Defense even including its days as the Japan Defense Agency. However it is not Morimoto’s first time in Ichigaya: as a national security specialist, he served as an aide to Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada during Taro Aso’s time in the Kantei.
Morimoto graduated from the Defense Academy’s Department of Science and Engineering and has spent time in the Defense Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nomura Research Institute (as Executive Chief Engineer). He also completed a Masters at Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
After two completely useless Defense Ministers, Noda finally seems to have stopped playing politics with defense and chosen an expert to head the ministry. I personally expect he has the makings of either an excellent leader for the ministry, bringing together the civilian and uniformed elements, or he could prove to be difficult for the ministry to work with given his extant views on national security. It’s too early to tell, but I wait in mild optimism.
In the meantime, let’s review the current toll on the Defense Ministry with an updated look at Japan’s Prime Ministers and their Defense Ministers:
A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan.
His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch