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The Diet and the SDF: Oversight in Japan in Comparative Perspective


Stephen Saideman
Paterson Chair in International Affairs, Carleton University / Abe Fellow (2015)


Keiro Kitagami
Member of the House of Representatives


Narushige Michishita Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) / Abe Fellow (2006)


Tuesday, January 17, 2017, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.


Research Meeting Room 4A (4th floor), GRIPS
7-22-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Access




Admission free. Booking required.
To sign up, please Email:, Fax: +81-(0)3-5369-6142
or phone +81-(0)3-5369-6085
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What role do legislatures play in overseeing the armed forces of democracies around the world? When we talk about democratic control of the military, in some countries that means both the executive and legislative branches, but in several, it really only means the executive. In the talk, Professor Saideman will explain why legislative oversight is important for civil-military relations, discuss the role of institutions, and look at the case of Japan. The seminar will draw on his current research as an Abe Fellow on “The Role of Parliamentarians Overseeing Armed Forces.” While he is still researching the issue, Saideman finds it strange that as Japan’s Self-Defense Forces become more important with increased regional threats, a less reliable United States under President-elect Trump, and new peace and security legislation, the Diet may become less relevant as Japan becomes increasingly similar to Canada. He will conclude with some questions and implications arising from his research.

Speaker Profile

Stephen Saideman holds the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written four books: The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict (2001); For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres, 2008); NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald, 2014); and now, Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada’s War in Afghanistan (2016), as well as articles and chapters on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, and civil-military relations. A fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations placed him on the US Joint Staff for a year. He is a 2015 Abe Fellow and is serving as a Visiting Fellow at the Air Staff College of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force. He taught previously at the University of Vermont, Texas Tech University, and at McGill University. He writes online at, Political Violence at a Glance, Duck of Minerva and his own site ( He also tweets at @smsaideman. He has won two awards for teaching, one for mentoring other faculty and one for public engagement.

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