National Security Experiments in Japan: Nuclear Taboo, Power Transition, and Invisible Crises

National Security Experiments in Japan: Nuclear Taboo, Power Transition, and Invisible Crises

Atsushi Tago - Professor of International Relations, Waseda University

Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Room 203, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

How does Japanese general public react to the recent drastic changes in its national security environments? Our team has been working on variety of online survey experiments in Japan on its nuclear “possession” taboo, a possible military escalation over the territorial dispute with China — the rising superpower, and “invisible” crises in a distant, isolated open sea/air like one happened between South Korean naval vessel and Japanese Maritime SDF’s P-1 patrol aircraft in December 2018.  Our data provides valuable information on how the general public in the East Asian democracy would evaluate the changes in its national security environment and what kinds of policy reactions of the government would be preferred. We find that nuclear possession taboo is  still strong but could be manipulated, power transition perception significantly hardens attitudes toward the rising power and an invisible crisis may turn into a visible crisis due to the prisoner’s dilemma type of mechanism of denouncement message.


Atsushi Tago is a professor of International Relations at the School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University (Ph.D. in Advanced Social and International Studies, University of Tokyo, 2007). He publishes articles on American use of force (e.g. ”Determinants of multilateralism in US use of force: State of economy, election cycle, and divided government” Journal of Peace Research 42:5) and its coalition of the willing (e.g. “When Are Democratic Friends Unreliable? The Unilateral Withdrawal of Troops from the Coalition of the Willing’ ” Journal of Peace Research 46:2). Currently, he is a Principle Investigator of the project called CROP-IT (Collaborative Research on Political Information Transmission) funded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and conducts scientific research on Public Diplomacy. His recent study with co-authors appeared in Political Communication (“To Denounce, or Not To Denounce: Survey Experiments on Diplomatic Quarrels”), which also turned into a Washington Post Monkey Cage article in 2016 (“Why Putin and Obama use fighting words when they don’t want to fight”). He was appointed a PRIO Global Fellow from 2017.

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