Nissan Seminar: Japan’s threat perception during the cold war: any lessons for today?

Convener(s): Dr Giulio Pugliese and Professor Hugh Whittaker

Speaker(s): Dr Eitan Oren



There is a misconception that during the Cold War the Japanese did not perceive security threats due to the American military protection, Japan’s geographical insularity, and domestic aversion to militarism. In his book (Japan’s Threat Perception during the Cold War: a Psychological Account, Routledge 2023), Oren dispels this, showing how security threats pervaded Japanese strategic thinking in this period. By dispelling this misconception, we gauge the degree to which Japan’s threat perception has evolved during and after the end of the Cold War and enhance our understanding of Tokyo’s position in contemporary international relations.


Eitan Oren is a scholar of International Relations, with a special interest in international security, language and the human mind. Over the past decade, he has examined when, why and how people, foreign policy elites, and state leaders, think about security threats and communicate them to others – mostly in an East Asian context.