Cold War, Japan and US Covert Action

US Covert Action in Cold War Japan: The Politics of Cultivating Conservative Elites and its Consequences” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1652841) is authored by Brad Williams of the Department of Asian and International Studies, at the City University of Hong Kong.

This article is the first for a special issue for JCA’s 50th anniversary on the impacts of the Cold War in the region.

The abstract for the paper states:

This article examines the role of US covert action in establishing and perpetuating the political dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan during the Cold War. The study sheds light on the modalities of the US intelligence community’s involvement in the Japanese political process, evaluates the effectiveness and consequences of this intervention and seeks to place it in a broader comparative perspective. The timing of the most intense phase of US covert intervention in Japan’s political process is important, occurring during the tumultuous first decade after the US-led occupation when conservative dominance was uncertain. The article’s central argument is that, nevertheless, the US intelligence community’s contribution to establishing and stabilising LDP rule cannot be considered in isolation from other important endogenous factors, most notably Japanese political actors. It is therefore necessary to explore the role of conservative elites who actively and eagerly engaged with the US intelligence community in pursuit of their own political and economic interests. The relationship between the US intelligence community and Japanese conservatives helped reinforce Japan’s status as a one-party LDP-ruled, junior ally of Washington.

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