Narushige Michishita is vice president and professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in
Tokyo. He is the director of the GRIPS Security and International Studies Program, Maritime Safety and Security
Policy Program, and Strategic Studies Program. He is a member of the National Security Secretariat Advisory
Board of the Government of Japan and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in
Washington DC. He has served as senior research fellow at Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS),
Ministry of Defense, and as assistant counsellor at the Cabinet Secretariat for Security and Crisis Management of
the Government of Japan. He acquired his Ph.D. from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns
Hopkins University. A specialist in Japanese security and foreign policy as well as security issues on the Korean
Peninsula, he is the author of North Korea’s Military- Diplomatic Campaigns, 1966- 2008 (Routledge, 2009) and
Lessons of the Cold War in the Pacific: U.S. Maritime Strategy, Crisis Prevention, and Japan’s Role (Woodrow
Wilson Center, 2016) (co- authored with Peter M. Swartz and David F. Winkler).
The purpose of this project is to (a) assess effectiveness of North Korea's brinkmanship diplomacy as well as policy responses of the concerned countries, namely the United States, China, Japan, and South Korea, and (b) find out determinants of the effectiveness . The project will achieve these goals by analyzing changes and continuities in the objectives, characteristics , and performance of North Korea ' s brinkmanship diplomacy between 1966 and 2007, and investigating the diplomatic and military responses of the countries concerned. The study has two comparative dimensions: one across different time periods and the other across the countries involved. This approach makes sense because in recent years North Korea is repeating, with some modifications, the actions it has taken in the past. For instance, the withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) announced in January 2003 mirrored its behavior in pulling out of the treaty in March 1993, while the harassment of the U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in March 2003 was reminiscent of the 1968 USS Pueblo incident and the shooting-down of an EC-121 U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in 1969. The naval clash between North and South Korea in June 1999 was a consequence of North Korea' s repeated violation of the Northern Limit Line (a quasi-maritime border between the two Koreas) on the Yellow Sea, similar in nature to the actions taken from October 1973 to June 1976. Launches of seven missiles including the Scud, No Dong and Taepo Dong in July 2006 were a combined repeat of North Korea's missile launches in 1993 (three Scuds and one No Dong) and 1998 (one Taepo Dong). The outcome of the project will, therefore, greatly enhance the ability of policymakers, scholars, journalists, and general public in not only the United States and Japan but also China and South Korea to better understand North Korean brinkmanship diplomacy and formulate policies to cope with it. I have already examined the subject matter covering the 1966-2000 period in my doctoral dissertation submitted to the Johns Hopkins University in 2003. However, two major developments since then have made this project imperative. First, the growing availability of declassified information especially in the United States and South Korea has made it possible to substantially improve the accuracy of the assessment of the cases that took place in the 1966-2000 period . I plan to undertake extensive archival research at the National Security Archive and the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States, and the Diplomatic History Museum in South Korea. The Woodrow Wilson International Center's Cold War International History Project is another important source of information. Second, North Korea embarked on yet another round of brinkmanship diplomacy in 2002 by acknowledging the existence of its covert uranium-based nuclear program. This round of brinkmanship diplomacy is still going on as of August 2006. By examining North Korea' s brinkmanship diplomacy in the past as well as the policy responses of the countries involved and systematically comparing it with the current situation, we will be able to learn lessons useful for policy-making in the future.