Japan has one of Asia’s most technologically advanced militaries and yet struggles to use its hard power as an instrument of national policy. The horrors of World War II continue to haunt policymakers in Tokyo, while China and South Korea remain wary of any military ambitions Japan may entertain. In Japan Rearmed Sheila Smith argues that Japan is not only responding to increasing threats from North Korean missiles and Chinese maritime activities but also reevaluating its dependence on the United States. No longer convinced that they can rely on Americans to defend Japan, Tokyo’s political leaders are now confronting the possibility that they may need to prepare the nation’s military for war.
Sheila A. Smith, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, is senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She is the author of Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power (Harvard University Press, 2019), Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (Columbia University Press, 2015), which was released in Japanese as ?? ??????: ????????????? (Tokyo University Press, 2018), and Japan's New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance (Council on Foreign Relations, June 2014). She is also the author of the CFR interactive guide, “Constitutional Change in Japan.”
Smith is a regular contributor to the CFR blog Asia Unbound, and frequent contributor to major media outlets in the United States and Asia. She joined CFR from the East-West Center in 2007, where she directed a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. She was a visiting scholar at Keio University in 2007-08, where she researched Japan’s foreign policy towards China, supported by the Abe Fellowship. Smith has been a visiting researcher at two leading Japanese foreign and security policy think tanks, the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus.
Smith is vice chair of the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON), a bi-national advisory panel of government officials and private sector members. She also serves on the advisory committee for the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Asian Studies Department of Georgetown University and serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. She earned her MA and PhD degrees from the department of political science at Columbia University.