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Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community

Richard J. Samuels, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

September 2, 2020 · 4:30 pm EDT · via Zoom – Registration Required

Program in East Asian Studies

Intelligence communities are everywhere and always in motion. Japan’s has been no exception, often shifting in response to dramatic analytical and organizational failures, changes in the regional and global balance, and sudden technological developments. In the first half of the 20th century, Japan had a full spectrum intelligence apparatus. This came apart with defeat in WWII and subordination to the United States.

After the Cold War, shifts in the security environment and major intelligence failures stimulated rethinking by Tokyo. Following a period of incomplete reforms, the Japanese government began to enhance its collection and analysis capabilities, and to tackle in earnest the dysfunctional stovepipes and leak-prone practices hampering its intelligence system.

Where do matters stand today? Where are they headed? In this seminar, Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies at MIT, will present his recent book on the subject and discusses the evolution of Japan’s intelligence community as well as its future.

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