Japan’s Intelligence Reform Inches Forward

When the Allies defeated Japan at the end of World War II, they dismantled the Japanese security apparatus and deliberately left the country dependent on outside powers. This entailed not only taking apart the military but also the extensive imperial intelligence apparatus that had facilitated Japanese expansion in Asia. As it reconstituted itself, postwar Japan opted for a decentralized intelligence system as an alternative to its prewar model. The result was more a fragment of an intelligence apparatus than a full system, with Tokyo outsourcing the missing components to its allies. This system worked through the Cold War, when Japan was more essential to U.S. anti-Soviet strategy. Since then, however, Japan has found itself unable to count on its allies to provide vital intelligence in a timely manner. The Islamic State hostage crisis in January, during which Japan depended on Jordanian and Turkish intelligence, reinforced this lesson.