Japan's Sea Lane Security

A Matter of Life and Death?

By Euan Graham

© 2005 – Routledge

324 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415649421
pub: 2012-09-13
US Dollars$48.95
Hardback: 9780415356404
pub: 2005-10-24
US Dollars$190.00

About the Book

This is the first major English-language study to explore the broad and longstanding connections between Japan’s national security and the safety of its sea lanes. Tracing issues from pre-and post-1945 eras, the book explores how Japan’s concerns with sea lane protection have developed across such diverse fields as military strategy, diplomacy, trade policy, energy security, and law enforcement.

Drawing upon case study material and primary research including interviews with officials and security analysts, the book presents a chronological analysis of Japan’s sea lane security. While Japan’s security policies have recently undergone relatively rapid change, a historical treatment of sea lane security issues reveals long-term continuity in security policymakers’ perceptions and responses regarding Japan's defence and foreign policy.

Revealing a neglected but important aspect of Japan’s military and economic security, the book investigates why officials and analysts continue to portray the defence of Japan’s sea lanes as ‘a matter of life and death’.


"This work analyzes sea lines of communication (SLOC) as security issue for Japan and places it in the broader historical context of its defense policy, alliance relations, and national strategy. Guided by overarching concern with Japan’s strategic geography and Japan’s overall security policy decision-making process, Graham sets out to explain how Japan’s vulnerability to the disruption of its sea lanes defined its perceived security imperatives and choices in defense and alliance policy since 1940 and how Japan’s vulnerability to SLOC disruption has been used instrumentally as a rationale to legitimize politically or constitutionally problematic military activities in a post war period governed by the so-called “Peace Constitution.” " --Reference & Research Book News

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Japan’s Maritime Trade and Trade Routes: An Empirical Analysis 2. Sea Lines in Strategy 3. Japan’s pre-1945 SLOC Security Introduction Maritime Economic Interests: Foreign Trade and the Merchant Marine before 1945 4. Japan’s Sea Lane Security in the Era of Defence Constraints, 1945-77 5. Sea Lane Defence and Alliance Cooperation: 1977-90 6. Japan’s Sea Lane Diplomacy in Southeast Asia Since the 1970s 7. Japan’s Post-Cold War SLOC Security: Piracy and Terrorism-at-Sea

About the Author

Euan Graham is a senior research officer for the North Asia and Pacific Research Group at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

About the Series

Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies

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