Intelligence communities are everywhere in discontinuous motion: Changes in the international system, technological shifts, and failure each stimulate reforms in five core areas: collection, analysis, communication, protection, and oversight. Japan is no exception. Like ICs elsewhere, Japan’s has shifted in response to dramatic analytical and organizational failures—in conjunction with changes in the regional and global balance and sudden technological developments—across the Pacific and Cold Wars. It has lurched from a HUMINT-intensive, but administratively divided, apparatus with considerable SIGNINT capacity during the Pacific War, to a dependent, downsized, and still organizationally handicapped SIGINT-intensive operation during the Cold War. Systemic shifts and major intelligence failures after the Cold War stimulated rethinking by Tokyo. After a period of half-hearted and incomplete reforms during which the regional and global balances of power continued to shift dramatically, the GOJ came to define the targets of its most recent, post-9/11 reform: broken stovepipes, flattened hierarchies, strengthened classification, and enhanced collection and intelligence capabilities.
The Evolution of Japan’s Intelligence Community