Thesis Title

Japan's Efforts in Missile Defense

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


Japan has declared that it would seek to construct a ballistic missile defense system to protect the homeland. Its decision is based primarily on the growing threat of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems. Of immediate concern to Japan is North Korea, followed by the long-term threat of China both of which have significant nuclear weapon ad ballistic missile programs. Japan's post-war policies promoted pacifism and the renunciation of any offensive armed forces and weaponry as the United States provided protection from external attack, which it still does at present. However, ongoing pressure by the United States for Japan to assume a greater share of responsibility for its national security has resulted in Japan slowly beginning to move in this direction. Lacking a deterrent other than the American nuclear umbrella, which is arguably diminishing, Japan is highly vulnerable to a missile threat from North Korea and China. Both view Japan as an obstacle to their long-term strategic objectives. To address this concern, Japan, with significant assistance and encouragement from the United States, has decided to invest in a ballistic missile defense. This thesis examines the history of Japan's defense policy as it has evolved from the end of World War II to the present. Its focus is then on missile defense and the political and legal issues it raises.


ballistic missile defenses-Japan, U.S.-Japan relations, ballistic missiles-China, ballistic missiles-North Korea, Japan

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Jeff I. Grigore