Sheila A. Smith is Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China. She is vice chair of the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange, a binational advisory panel of government officials and private-sector members. She also serves on the advisory committee for the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. Smith teaches at Georgetown University, is a regular contributor to the CFR blog Asia Unbound, and is a frequent media commentator in the United States and Asia.
Smith masterfully traces the interplay of Japan's military heritage, politics, national sentiment, threats, and alliance with the United States in the formation and development of the Self-Defense Force. Even experts will find new information and insights in her account. As she makes clear, the SDF is a work in progress, and this book provides a welcome guide to its possible future path.--Admiral Dennis Blair, U.S. Navy (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command At a time when the East Asian security environment is becoming ever more dangerous and unpredictable, Sheila Smith offers a timely guide to the choices facing Japan. This is an insightful and indispensable look at the evolution of Japan's approach to national security and the consequential decisions it will face in the future.--James Steinberg, Syracuse University After fighting a series of aggressive wars in the early twentieth century, Japan retreated from power politics and has remained reluctant to develop a military capability that matches its economic power. Will this change? The paradoxical transition from militarist aggression to pacifism and isolationism has been discussed before, but never with the clarity Sheila Smith displays in this important book. She shows that Japan will have some critical choices to make to maintain its security in the challenging geopolitics of the twenty-first century.--Kiichi Fujiwara, University of Tokyo With keen insight and scholarly precision, Smith tells us why the Japanese public's evolving attitude toward the use of military force is important to American security and the peace of northeast Asia. A must-read for U.S. policymakers responsible for Asia.--J. Thomas Schieffer, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan