From management crisis to crisis management? Japan’s post-2012 institutional reforms and Sino-Japanese crisis (In)stability - by CWP Alumni Adam Liff & Andrew Erickson

Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017
by dsuchens

Since 2012, China’s assertion of its sovereignty claim to the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has significantly raised the risk of a potentially escalatory political-military crisis with Japan. As circumstances worsen, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed major institutional reforms aimed at centralizing Japanese security policy decision-making and vastly improving crisis management. This article assesses these reforms’ significance for ameliorating Japan’s long-standing internal crisis management weaknesses, and enhancing its ability to communicate with Beijing promptly under challenging conditions. While significant issues remain, recent developments – especially the establishment of Japan’s first-ever National Security Council – demonstrate significant progress. Bilaterally, however, important firebreaks remain conspicuously absent.



Adam P. Liff & Andrew S. Erickson

Pages 604-638 | Published online: 10 Mar 2017

Adam P. Liff

Adam P. Liff is assistant professor of East Asian International Relations at Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies (SGIS) and Associate-in-Research at Harvard University’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. His research website is

Andrew S. Erickson

Andrew S. Erickson is a professor of Strategy at the US Naval War College and associate-in-research at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. He maintains the research websites and