Japan’s Aging Peace: Pacifism and Militarism in the Twenty-First Century (Columbia University Press, June 2021)

This book broadly asks, what determines the content and direction of Japanese security policy? This book explains Japanese security with two main arguments. First, Japan operates within interrelated international and domestic environments that shape its security policies. The material and ideational conditions in these environments govern security policy debates and limit change. Second, antimilitarism institutions are reified through recurrent practices, and therefore, gain increased influence over time. This book refers to this context as the Japanese “antimilitarism ecosystem.” This ecosystem not only regulates security behavior but also generates new security policies. Since the early 1990s, the JSDF has been increasingly mobilized to participate in peacekeeping operations (PKOs) and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) missions. Hence, this book discusses change and stability, the relationship between ideas and the material world, and how society negotiates the use of force in international relations.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Negotiating in Good Faith: Overcoming Legitimacy Problems in the Japan-South Korea Reconciliation Process.” Journal of Asian Studies. 78, 3, 621-644.

The article examines Japanese, Korean, and English government speeches, government statements and agreements, newspaper editorials, and over a dozen large-N public opinion polls to answer the question “why have successful high-level negotiations between Japan and South Korea failed to convince the publics that historical matters have been addressed adequately”? I contend that although the 1965 Treaty of Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea prevented conflict escalation and laid the groundwork for economic cooperation, it did not resolve the “history question” because it is perceived to be illegitimate by South Koreans. Moreover, due to flaws in treaty texts and poor strategic planning in the negotiation process, previous agreements have failed to prevent backsliding by Japan and South Korea.

“Japan and the Revolution in Military Affairs.” Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs. 5, 2, 172-196.

In this article, I examine how the US-led Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) principles have influenced technology acquisition, force structure, and security doctrine in Japan. I find that although the Ministry of Defense (MOD) has enacted significant changes to the technology, operations, and organization of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF), institutional and normative obstacles have led to a uniquely Japanese version of the RMA, one that emphasizes defense and interconnectedness with the United States armed forces.

Book Chapters

“Northeast Asia.” In J. Sperling (Ed.), Handbook of Governance and Security (pp. 188-215). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. (with Robert Uriu)

In “Northeast Asia,” a book chapter co-authored with Robert Uriu, we examine the cases of island disputes and cyber security policy to ascertain the current state of East Asia regional governance. Our findings challenge the orthodox view that without a conventional security institution, high levels of enmity and an intense security dilemma will define East Asia relations. We contend that apart from North Korea, East Asian states have formed a functional equivalent to more formalized security institutions by way of overlapping and multi-layered webs of diplomatic and political interactions. These findings suggest that alternative governing mechanism are viable and contributes to the study of international organizations, cyber security, and East Asia regionalism.


Media coverage of Tiger Woods’s accident shows that Americans don’t see athletes as fully human,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage (March), with Gabrielle Herzig)

Biden must assist Japan and South Korea with their wartime history dispute,” Tokyo Review (February).

“How culture explains COVID,” Tokyo Review (November). Online: (with Heayoon Kim)

“75 years later, Japan and South Korea have yet to fully reconcile their wartime and colonial history,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage (August). Online: (with David Yu)

“Does Japan’s suspended missile system signal a retreating defense sector?,” Tokyo Review (June). Online.

“Making the North Korean economic project work,” Global North Korea, East Asia Institute (April). Online: (with Michelle Tunger)

“How coronavirus is fraying Asia’s patchwork governance,” Tokyo Review (February). Online: (with Michelle Tunger and Lucy Gold)

“Repeating past mistakes in Japan-Korea reconciliation,” Tokyo Review (January). Online: (with Daphne Yang)

“North Korea: Outcomes and implications,” Global North Korea, East Asia Institute (November). Online:

“China will dominate high-tech unless the United States takes off the gloves,” The National Interest (September). Online: (with Lucy Gold and Ryan Levy)

“South Korea and Japan must cooperate more, not less, on North Korea,” Nikkei Asian Review (August). Online:

“Why Japan-South Korea history keeps resurfacing,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage (July). Online:

“It’s not just Trump: Why North Korea won’t denuclearize,” International Policy Digest (July). Online: (with Lucy Gold and Ryan Levy)

“America’s new danger zone: Divisions with Japan could wreck negotiations with North Korea,” The National Interest (April). Online:

“The bogus backlash against ‘crazy rich Asians,’ International Policy Digest (August). Online:

“The fight for human rights in North Korea,” East Asia Forum (May). Online: (with Kent Boydston)

“Looking beyond 1 percent: Japan’s security expenditures,” The Diplomat (April). Online: (with Crystal Pryor)

“Kobe Bryant and the politics of sports,” International Politics Digest (February).

“What it means to be an ally: A Vietnamese-American’s view on the US in the Vietnam War,” The Diplomat (October). Online:

“Trump’s military first posture may cost the world its nuclearization dreams,” The National Interest (June). Online:

“Living with failure on the Korean peninsula,” East Asia Forum (May). Online:

“Reviving the ‘pivot to Asia’,” East Asia Forum (March). Online: (with Mieczysław P. Boduszyński)

“The price of Abe’s pragmatism,” Foreign Affairs (March). Online:

“Is America abandoning Japan,” The National Interest (February). Online: (with J. Berkshire Miller)

“Why Japan should get ready for Trump Shocks,” The Diplomat (January). Online: (with Paul Midford)

“Presidential debate should include nuclear weapons discussion,” The Hill (October). Online:

“In Hiroshima, Obama and Abe are pledging to stop nuclear proliferation. Their actions don’t match their words,” The Washington Post Monkey Cage (May). Online:

“How Trump is Already Damaging US Alliances,” The Diplomat (May). Online:

“Japan’s security bills: Overpromising and under-delivering,” The Diplomat (October). Online: Reprinted by The Japan Times. Online:

“Womenomics: Solution for Japan’s Decline,” PacNet #8 (January): Online: (with Tomoko Kiyota, Annette Bradford, Rachel Ianacone, Henry Lawton, Seongmin Lee, Naohito Miura, and Daichi Uchimura)

“Key Findings: United States,” Issues and Insights, vol. 15, 1 (November). Online: (with Kent Boydston, Lisa Collins, Daniel Foulkes, Zachary Hosford, James Platte, and Nate Walton)

“The consequences of shaming politics in East Asia,” The Diplomat (July). Online: