The SDF Dispatches to the Middle East --- History and Significance
Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
This article will give an overview of the history of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) deployment to the Middle East and discuss through the examination of its background and lessons learned the significance for Japan's security policy of the SDF deployment in the region.
The SDF dispatch abroad began with its minesweeping operations in the Persian Gulf after the end of the Gulf War (1991.1-2). The mission was followed by activities sanctioned by the series of special measures laws, such as assistance for the reconstruction of Iraq and replenishment support activities in the Arabian Sea as part of anti-terrorism efforts. Even today, the SDF's overseas activities are evolving mainly in the Middle East, and Japan's structural dependence on this region for energy resources remains unchanged, while the character and capabilities of the SDF's overseas activities have changed significantly.
In the following, we will first review the history of the SDF dispatches to the Middle East, focusing on the outline of each mission and the main characteristics. Next, we will examine the impact of these accumulated experiences on Japan's foreign and security policies and specific changes they have made in relations with foreign militaries, thereby clarifying their significance. To obtain an overview of the SDF engagement, the areas this article covers are confined to the so-called MENAP1(the Middle East, North Africa plus the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan). Likewise, the sea area to be covered is the Western Indian Ocean including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Persian Gulf unless otherwise specified.
History of the SDF Dispatches to the Middle East
The SDF dispatches to the Middle East have so far numbered 14 in all, including the dispatch of the Japan Disaster Relief Team and short-term missions for humanitarian aid (Table 1).2 Of these, two have legal justification in the "Act for Establishment of the Ministry of Defense" and the "Self-Defense Forces Act";3 four in the "Act concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations and Other Operations" (of which two were humanitarian goods transportation support); one in the "Law on Punishment of and Measures against Acts of Piracy"; three in the acts on special measures, and another four in the "Japan Disaster Relief Law".
Table 1. The SDF Dispatches to the MENAP
The following summarizes the major and recent SDF dispatches to the Middle East.
MSDF Dispatch to the Persian Gulf (1991. 6-9)
In response to a strong request for personnel contributions from the United States and the international community, the Japanese government, under the Self-Defense Forces Act's Article 99 (currently Article 84-2) on "Elimination of Mines, etc.," dispatched, after the Gulf War ceasefire, a minesweeping squadron of the Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) to the Persian Gulf consisting of six ships: a minesweeper tender, a supply vessel, and minesweepers. The squadron carried out its minesweeping activities in the Persian Gulf for about four months. The usefulness of the MSDF's international cooperation was widely recognized by the Japanese policy-makers at that time, through the successful fulfillment of its overseas mission in the first military operation since the end of World War II. The mission provided the MSDF with an opportunity to verify its capability of deployment at distant seas,4 which laid the foundation of the subsequent missions in the Indian Ocean.
GSDF Dispatch to the Golan Heights (1996.2-2013.1)
The Japanese government dispatched the Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) established to maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria. The deployed GSDF units provided transportation support for other foreign troops responsible for ceasefire monitoring, and the command staff officers. This was the second SDF dispatch under the "Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations (the PKO Act)" that came into force in 1992, following that to the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC, 1992-93).5 Although the mission was forced to withdraw in January 2013 due to the intensifying civil war in Syria, its 17 years of contribution have made the record longest of the overseas SDF deployment, and, together with the experience in the subsequent dispatch to Iraq, shaped the character of the subsequent GSDF's overseas activities.6
MSDF Dispatch to the Indian Ocean (the former Act on Special Measures against Terrorism/the former Act on Special Measures concerning Implementation of Replenishment Support Activities towards the Anti-Terrorism Maritime Interdiction Operation) (2001.11-2007.11/2008.1-2010.2)
To implement fuel and water replenishment support activities for the vessels of coalition forces engaged in maritime interdiction operation as part of the US war on terror, the Japanese government dispatched the MSDF destroyers and replenishment oilers to the Indian Ocean for eight years based on the two acts on special measures. The MSDF engaged in operations in cooperation with the Navies of advanced economies in the West participating in the US war on terror and Pakistan that was the only Islamic country participating in the anti-terrorism war. Contributing to the stability of sea lanes, the MSDF developed the capability to conduct operations in the Indian Ocean.
SDF Dispatch to Iraq (2003.12-2009.2)
After the invasion of Iraq by the United States and other countries, the Japanese government dispatched the all three branches of the SDF to Iraq based on the "Act on Special Measures concerning Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq". The GSDF carried out humanitarian reconstruction support activities such as water supply, medical care, and facility repairs in southern Iraqi city of Samawah, and actively promoted cooperation with ODA activities undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Air Self Defense Forces (ASDF) transported supplies and personnel of the GSDF and other militaries, and evacuated Japanese press people to Kuwait, which became the first Rescue of Japanese Nationals Overseas (RJNO) operation. The activities in Iraq were conducted under the most unstable security conditions ever in the history of SDF overseas mission. Special efforts were made to promote close cooperation with the Dutch and Australian troops which provided protection and to win "hearts-and-minds" of the local residents through good will exchanges.
Counter-piracy Operations (2009.3-present)
Due to the frequent occurrence of piracy off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden in the latter half of the 2000s, the MSDF has been sending a destroyer (initially two) and two patrol aircraft to secure the safe passage of Japanese and related vessels. The deployment was initiated as maritime security operations, but since July 2009 has been implemented as activities based on the Law on Punishment of and Measures against Acts of Piracy. On the MSDF frigate, Japan Coast Guard officers are on board as legal official. The MSDF air unit is working with the GSDF unit to form a joint operation at the Djibouti installation which was established in July 2011. Since December 2013, the dispatched forces have been participating in the multinational naval task force CTF151 (Combined Task Force 151).
International Peace Cooperation Assignment in Sinai Peninsula (2019.4-present)
In the newly enacted "legislation for peace and security" (2016), a chapter on "International Peace Cooperation Assignments"7 was added to the PKO Act. The amendment acknowledges the SDP's participation in non-UN-controlled peacekeeping operations. Under this new provision, two GSDF officers have been working as command personnel in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai (MFO). The Japanese government continues providing financial contributions to the MFO that started in 1988.
Middle East Intelligence Gathering Activities (2020.1-present)
With increasing tensions between the United States and Iran in the background and in response to the request from the United States, Japan worked out its information-gathering activities based on Article 4 ("Investigation and Research") of the "Act for Establishment of the Ministry of Defense", instead of joining the Coalition of the Willing. To this end, the SDF has assigned a new mission to one of the two patrol aircraft stationed in Djibouti, currently engaged in counter-piracy operations, while dispatching another destroyer from Japan. The area of their activities is limited to the waters around the northern part of the Arabian Sea. SDF personnel are also advancing information sharing at the US Central Navy Command in Bahrain. In case attacks on Japanese-affiliated vessels happen, the necessary response will be taken under Article 82 of the Self-Defense Forces Act (maritime security operation).
Characteristics of the SDF Dispatches to the Middle East
Regarding SDF dispatches overseas, especially associated with international peace cooperation, the region of Africa may first come to mind, because many UN peacekeeping operations are underway there. In reality, however, SDF dispatches to Africa occurred just four times in all: Mozambique (1993), Congo (1994), South Sudan (2011), and Ghana (2014).8 Meanwhile, the Middle East is not only the destination of the first-ever SDF dispatch and the region where the SDF is currently conducting its various activities but also the region where the SDF has deployed more than anywhere else. All SDF dispatches based on acts on special measures were essentially made for the Middle East. They share the common characteristic of cooperation for US efforts to stabilize the region and therefore have political implications that cannot be found in other international peace cooperation.
Besides, the MENAP is the region where the SDP engaged in activities over a long period --- the Golan Heights mission (about 17 years), counter-piracy operations (about 11 years), and the Indian Ocean mission (a total of about 8 years).9 SDF's activities based on acts on special measures were large in scale and unique in nature. In Iraq, for example, a total of about 19,700 personnel of the three SDF branches were deployed over five years period, while about 13,800 and 2,400 respectively of mainly MSDF personnel were deployed under the former "Act on Special Measures against Terrorism" and the former "Act on Special Measures concerning Implementation of Replenishment Support Activities towards the Anti-Terrorism Maritime Interdiction Operation". On the other hand, Japan's largest dispatch to UN peacekeeping operations consisted of a total of about 4,000 GSDF personnel to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for about five years. The difference is apparent.
Another characteristic of the SDF dispatches to the Middle East is their collaboration with troops of developed countries in the West. In Samawah in Iraq, the GSDF worked with the Dutch and Australian troops, and in the Indian Ocean, the MSDF engaged in fuel and water replenishment activities for naval vessels from France and other European countries. In recent UN peacekeeping operations, the main body of troops ordinarily comes from countries in South Asia and Africa; therefore, the SDF find little opportunity to conduct joint field operation with military forces of developed countries.
As is the case with the SDF's participation in CTF151 counter-piracy efforts, when Japan participates (or cooperates) in multinational military operations, the SDF does not come under the direct chain of command of foreign troops in order not to have its participation identified with the use of force. Although the SDF dispatches its personnel to the command, it adheres to the principle that their units follow their own chain of command. In this respect, the SDF dispatches to the Middle East are different from those to UN peacekeeping operations.10
Impact and Significance of the SDF Dispatches to the Middle East
[Law / Policy]
These SDF dispatches to the Middle East have had a wide range of impacts on Japan's foreign and security policies. In particular, the successful dispatch of the minesweeping squadron was the most significant in the sense that it led to the enactment in 1992 of the PKO Act. Earlier, the UN Peace Cooperation Bill was scrapped in 1990 in the midst of the Gulf War. Yet, the success of the four-month minesweeping mission in the Persian Gulf helped change Japanese public opinion that had been cautious about the SDF's international cooperation.11
Every dispatch of the PKO troops revealed the lack of adaptability of the PKO Act to the field reality. The debate on acts on special measures to address the post-9/11 war on terror and on assistance for the reconstruction of Iraq called for the necessity of legislation to deal with situations that do not fall within the parameters of the PKO Act. This move led to the later "legislation for peace and security." The former Act on Special Measures against Terrorism (1) enabled the SDF to provide logistics support for multinational forces, and (2) removed geographic restrictions on the area of SDF activity that was originally confined to the "areas surrounding Japan" as stipulated in the existing law12 and widened the range of SDF activities, and (3) extended the conditions for use of weapons, which was limited to the purpose of self-preservation under the PKO Act, to include the protection of "individuals who have come under their (SDF) control." Thus, further discussion was directed to legislation capable of addressing the needs of overseas missions.
Through the SDF dispatches abroad, cooperation between the Ministry of Defense (the former Defense Agency) and other government ministries and related agencies --- the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Japan Coast Guard, and JICA --- was promoted and the strategic versatility of the SDF was strengthened. On the occasion of the SDF dispatch to Iraq, Japan's ODA assistance was implemented in tandem with GSDF activities, and the collaboration became a model for so-called "All Japan" assistance pursued in the later deployment to UN peacekeeping operations. In counter-piracy operations, Japan Coast Guard personnel in the capacity of judicial officers boarded MSDF ships and worked with SDF personnel. Thus the two organizations that did not have common operational ground at home came to work together to deal with the situation.
SDF dispatches other than those for UN peacekeeping operations required integrated operations by the three SDF branches, and as a result the improvement of long-term overseas deployment capabilities have improved in terms of replenishment support, equipment, tactical formation, the rotation procedure, and the welfare of personnel.
As for the SDF dispatch to Iraq, in addition to replenishment support activities in the Indian Ocean, the first-ever overseas exchange of military supplies with the US military started in accordance with the "US-Japan Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA)".13 With this, SDF was provided with more opportunities for cooperation with foreign militaries in the area of logistics. These activities are different in nature from UN peacekeeping operations and the missions in the Middle East helped to improve the SDF's practical capability to operate overseas.
[Defense Exchanges and Cooperation with Other Countries]
Currently, the Ministry of Defense and the SDF are conducting joint exercises with countries other than the United States and have reached agreement on high-level cooperation frameworks as represented by ACSA with the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. It must be remembered that what created such opportunities for cooperation with these countries was the SDF's replenishment activities in the Indian Ocean and reconstruction assistance in Iraq. By working on-site with the troops of these countries, the SDF learned about the differences in procedures for the fulfillment of joint tasks as well as their uses of military equipment, and built a firm relationship with them while confirming inter-operability. This prompted a major change in the way of thinking of SDF personnel who had had few opportunities to interact with foreign troops other than US forces. These experiences provided the basis for the SDF's international defense cooperation in recent years.
To continue its overseas activities, the SDF needs to maintain good relationships with the countries that provide port/airport facilities for supply and replenishment. Traditionally, Japan's diplomatic policy toward the Middle Eastern countries was based principally on economic relations. But the second Abe administration, inaugurated at the end of 2012, successively encouraged high-level visits and exchanges with Gulf countries in particular. As a result, the areas of mutual interest have expanded to include the political and security realms. Irrespective of the administration's interest in economic cooperation with the Middle East,14 changes in the MENAP since 2009 when the MSDF initiated its counter-piracy operations --- the turmoil of the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war, the IS terrorist attacks, and China's full-scale advancement to the Indian Ocean --- claimed policy-makers' attention to and engagement in the region to which Japan always looked to for the stable supply of petroleum.15
In those days, Japan successively signed MOUs on defense exchanges with the Gulf and other Middle Eastern countries and built substantial security relationships with them (Table 2). However, few unit-based exchanges were made with these countries with which Japan signed MOUs. The Japanese government appears to have aimed chiefly at the collection of information through high-level exchanges and inter-ministerial consultations; the occasion to express the position and policies of the Japanese government, and securing the provision of convenience for the arriving SDF vessels/aircrafts. .
Table 2. Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, Unit-Based Exchanges (2012-19)
On top of collaboration with the military forces of developed countries and the strengthening of relationships with neighboring countries, its deployment in the Middle East provided the MSDF with opportunities to conduct bilateral and multilateral joint training and exercise during mission intervals. On way home, the MSDF vessels made goodwill port calls in the coastal countries of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea and encouraged exchanges with local stakeholders, thereby enhancing the enduring Japanese presence along the sea lanes connecting the Middle East and Japan. Since the launch of the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (Concept)," MSDF vessels have, with China's advance in mind, been performing strategic port calls and conveying the message that the uses of ports in coastal countries should be open to every country.
[The SDF's Gathering and Dispatch of Information]
The SDF dispatches to the Middle East improved Japan's intelligence capability abroad and effected the increase in the number of Japanese defense attachés. In the Middle East, where political conditions are unstable, not only conflicts but also terrorism and social disturbances could occur at any time. Preparedness is always required to monitor and analyze the regional situation, local security authorities, and their capacities.
At present, Japanese defense attachés are accredited to as many as 21 Middle Eastern countries. Since some attachés are accredited to more than one country, the number of countries where Japanese defense attachés are stationed is 14. Fig. 1 shows that Japanese defense attachés are stationed in almost all the countries in the region except those under unstable political situations such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Japanese defense attachés in the region has increased in number, because the SDF dispatches to the Middle East necessitated their service in specific countries, as was the case with Djibouti where the installation of the SDF base was followed by the establishment of a Japanese embassy and later a defense attaché was assigned to the embassy. The assignment of defense attachés to Japanese diplomatic missions abroad under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is regulated by the MOU between the MOFA and the Ministry of Defense. As SDF dispatches abroad increased in number, the former MOU was amended in 2003 to facilitate swift and reliable information sharing between the two ministries.16
Fig. 1. Japanese Defense Attachés Stationed in the MENAP
At the time of an SDF dispatch abroad, liaison officers and civilian personnel of the Ministry of Defense are also dispatched for information gathering and preparedness to receive SDF troops in the area of destination. Besides the above assignment of defense attachés, the SDF is currently stationing no more than 20 personnel at the US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain for coordination of CTF151 activities, and a liaison officer at the US Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Several SDF personnel are also deployed in the US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Although they are not so prominent as defense attachés, they undoubtedly are forming a valuable information network.
Continuing operations in the Middle East produced additional results --- the accumulation of knowledge and networks such as regular updates on the regional situation and the status of facilities (ports and airports), and various procedures related to MSDF's port calls and supply. These additional results have enabled efficient troop operations in the region. Furthermore, constant information sharing with other countries and the promotion of their understanding of missions/capabilities and restrictions assigned to SDF troops would help obtain support from other countries in the event of an unpredictable incident like a terrorist attack or the rescue of Japanese nationals.
The dispatching of MSDF troops toward international efforts such as counter-piracy operations enables access to information provided by foreign countries based on the so-called need-to-know principle. It also provides an opportunity for MSDF troops to regularly obtain information about sea areas outside their responsibility and the activities of other countries, and to dispatch information they have gathered. From this perspective, the installation of a semi-permanent base in Djibouti and the continuing deployment of two P-3C patrol aircraft over the high seas of the Gulf of Aden are extremely important to Japan's efforts in gathering information.17 MSDF vessels and aircrafts inform foreign navies of, for example, suspicious ships or provide them with information related to counter-piracy operations. Meanwhile, information on issues other than piracy that deployed unit can gather --- the movement of the China's newly built Djibouti base, the passage of foreign naval vessels, information obtained from the interception of communications and signals emitted from surrounding areas --- is considered to have particular values.
Noticeable progress was also made in the SDF's communications capability. In the participation in CTF151, the SDF provided a commander for multinational forces for the first time in its history. This post is a symbolic one with no substantial command authority, for each of the participating navies occupied it in turn once every few months. Nonetheless, the commander, representing the participating naval forces, plays the role of coordinating and managing multinational counter-piracy efforts. When the turn came for the SDF to take up the command post, a team of experts from the UK Department of Defense provided strategic communication (SC) training to MSDF personnel before their deployment. These must have greatly raised the awareness of the MSDF on the use of communication to influence, in synchronization with its activities, and improved its ability in crafting focused narratives to targeted audience to obtain desired responses.
Summary: Significance of Defense Involvement in the Middle East
The SDF dispatches to the Middle East have played an important role in Japan's more proactive defense engagement. Much credit is due to the enactment of the PKO Act and special measures laws which laid the ground to expand overseas mission mandates and authorized capabilities such as rules of engagement. The experiences gained from the past SDF deployment in the Middle East helped to improve defense policies and SDF operations on various occasions. The SDF has now become able to widely contribute to peace operations abroad, except for combat activities. Also, the experiences in collaborating with foreign troops other than the US military have enabled the SDF to advance its defense cooperation and exchanges and to realize more strategic and substantive alignment.
The maintenance of the base in the geographically distant Middle East and year-round MSDF deployment along sea lanes make it possible for the SDF to: conduct independent information gathering; demonstrate Japan's presence to China and neighboring countries, and undertake the dissemination of strategic information on the importance of the rule of law and the free and open maritime order. Since 2017 the MSDF has been conducting long-term operations in the Indo-Pacific (the Indo-Pacific Deployment), which feature an effective combination of the past experiences of activities such as goodwill port calls, capacity-building assistance, and information dispatch.
Now that the SDF troop contribution to UN peacekeeping operations has terminated with withdrawal from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the SDF dispatches to the Middle East for counter-piracy operations are all the more significant as Japan's contribution to global issues. At this point, it is unpredictable what changes the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will bring to the situation in the Middle East; same as the US and other like-minded countries, Japan is expected to face great financial difficulties. Nonetheless, the expectation will remain high for Japan to continue its engagement in the Middle East to sustain security environment.
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- June 2021, "China's Maritime Strategy and Responses of the United States and Japan" by Yoji Koda, Former Commander in Chief, Self Defense Fleet
- June 2021, "The South China Issues from the Perspective of the International Law Order",by Shigeki Sakamoto, Emeritus Professor, Kobe University
- May 2021, "Indonesian Views and Perceptions on National Security" by Nobuhiro Aizawa, Associate Professor, Kyushu University
- May, 2021, "The Philippine Foreign and Security Policy Perspective" written by Yusuke Takagi Associate Professor,National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
- May, 2021, "Vietnam's Security: Challenges and Responses" written by Tomotaka Shoji Head, Asia and Africa Division, Regional Studies Department, National Institute for Defense Studies
- March, 2021, "Can the Biden Administration Restore America as a Global Leader?" written by Matake Kamiya, Professor, the National Defense Academy of Japan.
- March, 2021, "The Biden Administration and Japan's Security Strategy" written by Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
- February,2021, "US Foreign and Security Policy Direction Viewed from the Biden Administration's Lineup" written by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- February,2021, "Trade Policies of the Biden Administration" written by Takaaki Asano, Senior Analyst, Sumitomo Corporation Global Research Co. Ltd.
- February,2021, "The Biden Administration's Policy toward Russia" written by Taisuke Abiru, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January,2021, "Will US Policy Toward China Change?" lectured by Ryo Sahashi, Associate Professor, the University of Tokyo
- January,2021, "How will China View the Biden Administration?" written by Bonji Ohara, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January,2021, "An Assessment of the 2020 US Presidential Election－American Democracy Now－" lectured by Fumiaki Kubo, Professor, the University of Tokyo
- January,2021, "Two Trumpian Mysteries－Why did Trump win over 70 million votes? Why is his outrageous behavior unchecked?－" lectured by Kazuhiro Maeshima, Professor, Sophia University
- September, 2020, "The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and Internationa Relationsl" by Matake Kamiya, Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan
- September, 2020, "The Policy Agenda for the Xi Jinping Administration- COVID-19 Countermeasures and China's International Relations -" by Shin Kawashima, Professor, The University of Tokyo
- "Control in the United States and International Relations" by Koji Murata, Professor, Doshisha University
- September, 2020, "The EU's Response to COVID-19 and International Relations" by Yuichi Hosoya, Professor, Keio University
- August, 2020, "The Corona Crisis Seen from a Macroeconomic Perspective" written by Motoshige Itoh, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
- August, 2020, "The Coronavirus Pandemic and Japan's Infectious Disease Control" written by Takashi Mihara, Senior Research Fellow, NLI Research Institute
- August, 2020, "Infectious Disease Crisis Control in Japan- Recommendations on an Exit Strategy -" written by Kazumasa Oguro, Professor, Hosei University
- August, 2020, "Security against Infectious Disease Threats --- Policy Responses Abroad" written by Takashi Sekiyama, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
- June 2020,"Transformation of the International Order in the Middle East--- Varying Degrees of "Stateness" and Three Directions of the New Order" written by Satoshi Ikeuchi, Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo
- June 2020,"Destabilization in the Middle East and its Impacts on Japan's Energy Security" written by Amane Kobayashi, Research Fellow, The Institute of Energy Economics
- May 2020: Urgent Recommendations "Toward a V-shaped Recovery after the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic "Coronavirus Testing for All" --- the First Step of the Next Phase"
- May 2020: "US Diplomacy toward Iran: Economic Sanctions as a Diplomatic Tool" Hiroki Sugita Columnist, Kyodo News
- "Russian Factors in the Middle East" Taisuke Abiru Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- "The SDF Dispatches to the Middle East --- History and Significance" Ippeita Nishida Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- March 2020, "Space and Security" Kazuto Suzuki Professor, Hokkaido University
- March 2020, "The US Security Space Policy --- With a Focus on the Establishment of Two Space Forces" Yasuhito Fukushima Chief Researcher, The National Institute for Defense Studies
- March 2020, "China's Recent Activities in Space and Cyberspace" Bonji Ohara Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- March 2020, "Environmental Security and Japan" Takashi Sekiyama Associate Professor, Kyoto University
- March 2020, "Changes in Global Environment and Security --- US Security Strategy" Hideshi Tokuchi Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
- February 2020, "Cyberspace Security" Motohiro Tsuchiya Professor, Keio University
- February 2020, "Japan's Space and Cyberspace Policy" Yukinari Hirose Former President of the National Institute for Defense Studies
- December 2019, "The US-China Confrontation --- Where Will Hegemony Reside Next?" Akio Takahara Professor, the University of Tokyo
- December 2019, "Challenges Facing the Chinese Economy" Osamu Tanaka Chief Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO
- December 2019, "US Strategic Perception on China: Implications for US Allied Partners" Tsuneo Watanabe Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- November 2019, "The Xi Jinping Administration's View of the International Order– China's emphasis on United Nations diplomacy and liberal economic policies−" Shin Kawashima, Professor, the University of Tokyo
- November 2019, "The Future of China's Security Strategy" Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- November 2019, "China --- Its Confidence and Anxiety" Bonji Ohara, Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- August 2019: Several Perspectives on the Korean Peninsula Issue--- The Deteriorating Japan-South Korea Relationship and the Uncertain Denuclearization of North Korea --- By Masahiro Akiyama Chairman, the SSDP
- July 2019, "An Outlook on the Denuclearization of North Korea--- What is the Stance of North Korea?---", Junya Nishino, Professor, Keio University
- July 2019, "An Outlook on the Denuclearization of North Korea --- How will the US move?", Narushige Michishita, Vice President, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2019, "Discussion on Denuclearization of North Korea", SSDP Discussion Meeting on May 8, 2019
- May 2019: "Current Status and Prospects of South Korea and Japan's Frictions over History: How to address the Judicial Problems", Masao Okonogi, Professor Emeritus, Keio University
- May 2019: "South Korea and Japan's Frictions over History" (Comments), Junya Nishino, Professor, Keio University
- May 2019: Japan and South Korea Relationships (Question & Answer)
- March 2019: "The Present State and Prospects of the Indian Economy and Economic Policies" written by Koji Kobayashi, Senior Economist Mizuho Research Institute Ltd.
- March 2019: "The "Modi diplomacy" in the History of Indian diplomacy--- Departure from or maintenance of the traditional diplomacy? ---" written by Toru Ito, The National Defense Academy of Japan
- February 2019: Dynamics of Indian Politics and the 2019 General Elections, written by Chiharu Takenaka, Professor of Rikkyo University
- February 2019: "Cooperative Strategy" to Realize "Competitive Strategy"--- The composite structure of Japan's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy (vision) ---, written by Matake Kamiya, Professor at The National Defense Academy of Japan
- January 2019:, A paper, "How will the US midterm elections results affect the Trump administration's foreign policy for 2019?" written by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2019:, A paper, "The Present and Future of the International Trade Order" , written by Akihiko Tamura, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- December 2018: The US-China Competition and Japan, written by Ryo Sahashi, Professor at Kanagawa University
- December 2018: An Outlook for the US-China Trade War―What makes the two economically interdependent superpowers confront each other?―, written by Takashi Sekiyama, Associate professor at Toyo University
- September 2018: Proposal, "The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Restoration of Peace in the Korean Peninsula― Correct Perceptions and Eight Proposals on Japan's North Korea Diplomacy－" edited by the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- September 2018: "The Taiwan Policy of the Xi Jinping Administration in its Second Term: An Outlook on Cross-Strait Relations in the New Era" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor of the Tokyo University
- July 2018: "The EU States and Russia on North Korea Issues- Expansion of Influence through Diplomacy: Attempts and Limitations -" lectured by Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of Keio University
- "An Assessment of the US-North Korea Summit and an Outlook for the Future of the Korean Peninsula" lectured by Junya Nishino, Professor of Keio University
- "Korean Peninsula Issue and Japan's Future Security Policy" written by Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2018: "US North Korea policy affected by personnel changes in the Trump administration" lectured by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
- "China-North Korea relationship under Xi Jinping" lectured by Shin Kawashima, Professor of the Tokyo University.
- "North Korean Denuclearization and Russia" lectured by Nobuo Shimotomai, Professor of the Hosei University.
- March 2018: "The Network Hegemony Theory for a Security Architecture in The Asia Pacific Region" lectured by Masahiro Akiyama, Chairman, the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- January 2018: "A Destabilized Middle East" lectured by Koichiro Tanaka, Professor, Keio University
- December 2017: "Problems in Sino-Japanese Relations, 1992-2042" lectured by Ezra F. Vogel, Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University
- November 2017: "The Future of the Asia-Pacific Region" written by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Fellow, the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, Former Minister Foreign Affairs
- October 2017: "A New Trend in India's Foreign Policy and Japan" Written by HIROSE,Takako, Professor, Senshu University
- August 2017: "The Shocks that shook the Transatlantic World and their Implication for Japan's Foreign Policy" written by HOSOYA, Yuichi, Professor, Keio University
- August 2017: "Does Economic Interdependence not Encourage Collaboration? ―Thinking Japan-China Relations from an Economic Perspective―" written by Takashi SEKIYAMA, Ph.D., Toyo University
- July 2017: Proposal article "The Trump Administration's Impact on the Cross-Strait Relations" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Ph.D.
- June 2017: Proposal article "The outlook for the relationship between two great powers and implications for Japanese diplomacy" written by Professor Shin Kawashima
- May 2017: (Emergency Proposal) Facing the Inconvenient Truth: Re-examining Policy for Peace and Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (Chief author, Masao Okonogi)
- March 2017: "Economic Influences of the Trump Administration" written by Professor Motoshige Ito
- February, 2017: Proposal article "Trump's Foreign and Security Policy - Unpredictable President, Realistic Secretaries - " written by Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe is posted on the website of SSDP.
- December, 2016: Proposal article "Reconsidering North Korea Policy: How to Deal with a Nuclear Armed Divided States" written by Professor Masao Okonogi is posted on the website of SSDP.
- Taiwan-Japan Round Table on August 24th, at Capital Tokyu Hotel
- Japan-Korea Political Leaders Dialogue was held on February 10th,2023 at International House of Japan
- March 2022, A remembrance seminar "Remembering Professor Ezra Vogel" held on January 17, 2022
- March 2021, Japan-ROK Parliamentary Dialogue -Japan-ROK Cooperation in the Era of US-China Competition- held on March 11, 2021
- December 2020: The report of the Japan-ROK Future Dialogue held on November 21 to discuss "Japan-ROK Cooperation in the Post-Covid-19 Era
- October 2020: "Responses to COVID-19 and Agendas for the Post-COVID-19 Era", A Brief Overview of the Japan-Korea Experts Dialogue held on July 29,30, 2020
- October 2020: "The China-Taiwan Confrontation over Corona Response and Taiwan's Security" written by Makoto Ogata, Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- May 2020: "Rivalries in the Middle East in New Security Dynamics", Written by Sayed Ghoneim, Major General (retired) of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Chairman, Institute for Global Security & Defence Affairs
- March 2020: The Japan-South Korea Relationship in a Cul-de-Sac--- Where is an Exit ? Masao Okonogi Professor Emeritus, Keio Universit
- December 2019: The Hong Kong Upheaval and the Future of Cross-Straits Relations－The 2019 Japan-Taiwan Strategic Dialogue Report OGATA, Makoto Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- August 2019: Report; 2019 FUTURE CONSENSUS DIALOGUE --Sustainable Prosperity and Future of Korea-U.S.-Japan Cooperation-- By Future Consensus Institute (Yeosijae)
- June 2019: Report on India – Japan Security Dialogue 2019 by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D Student, The University of Tokyo
June 2019: Four papers on Japan-India Cooperation submitted to India-Japan Security Dialogue 2019
Japan's Rationale for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision
Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
The Significance and Possibilities of India-Japan Cooperation in the Concept of the Indo-Pacific
Toru ITO Associate Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan
Japan-India Defense Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Context - Operationalizing the Security Aspect of the Indo-Pacific Vision –
Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
India-US-Japan Defense Cooperation: What's next?
Dr. Satoru Nagao, Hudson Institute
- Japan's Rationale for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision
- November 2018: "The Present State of the Japanese Economy and Policy Issues" lectured by Motoshige Itoh, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
- November 2018: "Expanding Social Security Expenses and Fiscal Reforms" lectured by Kazumasa Oguro, Professor at Hosei University.
- September 2018: "Taiwan Identity and Cross-Strait Relations and Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan-US Relations-Discussion at The Second Japan-Taiwan Strategic Dialogue (June 21, 2018, Taipei)-" written by OGATA, Makoto
- September 2018: "Japan-Taiwan Dialogue 2018 Minutes", 21st June 2018, Taipei, Taiwan.
- July 2018: Report on The Second Japan – Philippines Strategic Dialogue prepared by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Public Policy, Tokyo University.
- May 2018: "Civilian Control "at Crisis"? – Perhaps Not, for the Case of the Field Sit-reps from SDF's South Sudan Mission" reported by Ippeita Nishida, Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2018: "Fukushima, Genki？Project－Young Taiwanese volunteers introduce the facts on Fukushima's revival through documentary films－" reported by OGATA, Makoto, Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- December 2017: "Commemorating a Quarter Century of Dispatches of the JSDF's PKO Units: Challenges and Possibilities in the Post South Sudan" written by Takayuki Shoji, Lecturer, Nihon University
- November 2017: "19th CCP National Congress" written by Mr. Bonji Ohara, Senior Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Fondation
- October 2017: "What is Japan's Role in the Indo-China border conflict?" written by Dr. NGAO,Satoru, Research Fellow, Institute for Future Engineering
- July 2017: "Overview of the Current Situation in Taiwan-" the Naturally Independent Generation" will affect the Taiwan"s politics-" written by Makoto Ogata MGE.(Ret.)
- June 2017: "Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue" written by Mr.Takaaki Asano
- March 2017: "The Japan-Philippines Strategic Dialogue" written by Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi
- February, 2017: Current topic "The Importance of Japan's Security Role Under Trump" written by Dr. Satoru Nagao is posted on the SSDP website.
- December, 2016: Current topic "Widening Security Task: Will SDF do the Job?" written by Mr. Ippeita Nishida is posted on the SSDP website.
- September 2023, Research journal "Security Studies vol5 no3" (Hegemonic America: Where It's Headed) in English edition was published.
- June 2023,Research journal "Security Studies vol5 no2" (Nuclear Crisis Scenarios Facing Japan and the Outlook of Nuclear Deterrence and Arms Control and Disarmament) in English edition was published.
- March 2023,Research journal "Security Studies vol5 no1" (What Will Happen to European Security?―Facing the War in Ukraine) in English edition was published.
- January 2023, Research Jounal "Security Studies (vol 4 no 4)" - Defending Our Country – Defense Policy in a "New Cold War Era - was published.
- October 2022, Research Jounal "Security Studies (vol 4 no 3)" - Xi Jinping's China - Politics, Economy, Society and Diplomacy - was published.
- Jun 2022, Research Jounal "Security Studies (vol 4 no 2)" -The Russia-Ukraine War and Its Global Impact- was published.
- March 2022, Research Jounal "Security Studies (vol 4 no 1)"-What is Economic Security?- was published.
- December 2021, Research Jounal "Security Studies (vol 3 no 4)"-Korean Peninsula Situation- was published.
- September 2021, A research journal "Security Studies vol03 no03" -Asia's Security II- (English edition)
- June 2021, A research journal "Security Studies vol03 no02" -Asia's Security I- (English edition)
- March 2021: Research journal "Security Studies (vol3 no1) "- US Foreign Policy in the Biden Administration / The 2020 US Presidential Election and American Democracy -(English edition)
- December 2020: A research journal "Security Studies (vol2 no4) "- Normalize Japan-South Korea Relations trough Dialogues -(English edition)
- September 2020: A research journal "Security Studies (vol2 no3) "-The Novel Coronavirus and Security-(English edition)
- July 2020: A research journal "Security Studies (vol2 no2) - Middle East Situation and Japan's Security - " (English edition) was published
- May 2020: A research journal "Security Studies (vol2 no1) - Cyber, Space, Environment and Security - " March 2020 (English edition)
- February 2020, "A research journal "Security Studies (vol1 no4) " (English edition)"
- September 2019: A research journal "Security Studies (vol1 no3) " (English edition)
- August 2019: Korea-Japan Joint Seminar: FUTURE CONSENSUS DIALOGUE
- April 2019: "Security Studies (vol1 no2) April 2019"
- March 2019: A research journal "Security Studies vol1 no01" just published
- February 2019: The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Takeshima Issue
- December 2018: Former Vice Defense Minister Masahiro Akiyama's Memoirs (An Ad)
- November 2018: Participation in the Future Consensus Forum held in Beijing
- September 2018: "2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue" reported by Masahiro Akiyama
- 2017 December: "The Butterfly Project-A possibility of showing a solution to the North Korea problem-"
- October 2017: Campaign on the problems with North Korea
- August 2017: A New Containment Policy Strategy
- June 2017: Korean peninsla
- March 2017: President Duterte
- February, 2017: Kazakhstan
- November, 2016: Participated in Astana Club 2016 held in Kazakhstan on November 14- 16, 2016.