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Japanese Foreign Intelligence and Grand Strategy: From the Cold War to the Abe Era, Brad Williams

Reviewed by Richard J. Samuels

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Every country has its taboos—products of an unpleasant history that are largely avoided in public discourse and thereby may distort and constrain policymaking. But taboos also affect how scholars select research topics. Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in the study of Japan's intelligence community after the Asia-Pacific War. Volume after scholarly volume about Japanese national security and foreign policy have failed to engage with this topic in the depth it deserves. In Japanese Foreign Intelligence and Grand Strategy, Brad Williams is determined to make up for lost time. He insists—and his title suggests—that no understanding of Japanese grand strategy can be complete without an understanding of its foreign intelligence apparatus.

Williams brings a political scientist's toolkit and an historian's sensibility to this task. His toolkit comprises four “embedded norms”: (1) bilateralism—often a euphemism for Japan's subordination to the United States; (2) developmentalism—Chalmers Johnson's influential concept of state-led growth; (3) technonationalism—the connection of technology to national security; and (4) antimilitarism—perhaps the dominant Japanese national sentiment for decades after the war's end. Together, he argues, these ideational variables shaped postwar

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