Nissan Seminar: Japan’s “three national security documents” and fundamental reinforcement of defence capabilities: reinforcing a radical military trajectory

Convener(s): Dr Giulio Pugliese and Professor Hugh Whittaker

Speaker(s): Prof. Christopher W. Hughes



Japan’s government posits that its 2022 three national security documents are at the same time transformational and yet maintain overall continuity in military and security policy. This talk through investigating several pivotal aspects of the defence reforms weighs the arguments for essential continuity versus step change. It concludes that the three documents fundamentally change Japan’s exclusively defence-oriented policy and the US-Japan alliance division of labour, further accelerate Japan’s radical military trajectory, and pose important implications for regional security.


Christopher W. Hughes was formerly Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education); Chair of the Faculty of Social Sciences; Head of Department in Politics; and Assistant Director of the ESRC Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation. He has been Asahi Shimbun Visiting Chair of Mass Media and Politics, University of Tokyo, and Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies, Harvard University. His latest book is Japan as a Global Military Power: New Capabilities, Alliance Integration, Bilateralism-Plus (Cambridge University Press, 2022).