Japan Air Self Defense Colonel Seiki Kageura, a 2012 International Security Fellow at Brookings, conducted a survey of American think tankers and what they think about Japan. You can read it here (PDF).

Why think tankers?

During this research, the author focused on American think tanks because they are home to many of the experts whose voices are most common in the American media. Many Japanese reports mention that think tanks carry great weight in influencing U.S. government policy toward Japan and people quoted in the papers and selected for my interviews were, as it turned out, mostly think-tankers. U.S. think tanks hold, at least from Japan’s viewpoint, such a prominent role in policy formation that the Japanese are unable to ignore their views.

Kageura is right about that. If you’ve read an article about Japan and foreign policy lately, a think tanker was quoted on it. Think tankers are some of the few groups still studying Japan — everyone else who is interested in making money has moved on to China. Only nonprofit organizations with an eye on the bigger picture have the time and attention to devote to #2 in Asia. And many (if not all) of these think tanks have strong ties to the U.S. government and policymakers therein.

It’s therefore not surprising either that among Kageura’s respondents, most didn’t recommend any fundamental changes to the Japan – U.S. security relationship at all. No changing Article 9. No Japanese nukes. Things are pretty good, Japan; just spend a little more on defense, buy more F-35s, and if you depend less on the U.S. for your security, you will DESTABILIZE THE ENTIRE REGION!

Do you really think the self-licking ice cream cone would turn on itself?

Thursday: my own responses to Colonel Kageura’s survey.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch