In the wake of the Second World War, Japan’s Self Defense Force started out as a National Police Reserve force (Keisatsu Yobitai). Over the 70 years since, however, it has focused on building up conventional capabilities with a view to strengthening deterrence against (potential) hostile state parties in East Asia. During the past decade, meanwhile, ‘grey-zone’ situations in the China Seas as a result of active Chinese maritime police and paramilitary activities have led to a heightened level of alert. There is a growing concern, moreover, about hybrid threats in the region, where an adversary might combine kinetic and non-kinetic methods overlapping multiple domains. This short lecture will review how the Japanese government perceives the potential for hybrid threats in the region and place such perceptions in the context of the achievements (and shortcomings) of Japanese defence in the past decade. It will present an argument that the main, if not the only scenario, that this region needs to collectively prepare for involves these hybrid threats, where hybrid actors’ propensity to camouflage their true intentions is of paramount concern and non-lethal/kinetic avenues of influence are likely to play a larger role than force itself.
About the Speaker
Chiyuki Aoi is Professor of International Security at the Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo. After completing her PhD at Columbia University, she served as Academic Programme Officer at the United Nations University and professor at Aoyama Gakuin University before assuming her current position. She was Visiting Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London in 2008-9 and 2019-20, respectively. In 2018, she served on the Shinzo Abe administration Council on Security and Defense Capabilities. Her current research interest includes strategic communications in contemporary security affairs, hybrid strategies, values-driven strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and UK-Japan and Europe-Japan security cooperation. She has published books and journal articles in both English and Japanese, including in Defence Strategic Communications, Pacific Review, RUSI Journal, Journal of International Peacekeeping, International Affairs (in Japanese) and Journal of Military History (in Japanese).