Terrorism and counterterrorism in Japan
in Non-Western responses to terrorism
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Japan is unfortunately no stranger to terrorism. Indeed, since the mid-nineteenth century and the Meiji Restoration, the country has experienced political assassinations, kidnappings of innocent citizens and strikes by apocalyptic millenarian sects. Japanese citizens too have been involved in conducting terrorist attacks, notably in affiliation with Middle Eastern groups. Yet, terrorism and counterterrorism barely feature on academic syllabi within leading Japanese universities. Nor was the term ‘terrorism’ understood as a generic concept in Japan until recently. This chapter seeks to identify historical precedents that have shaped the Japanese perception of terrorism; responses to historical terrorist groups such as the Red Army and Aum Shinrikyo; the way the Japanese authorities identify the terrorist threat today, including that emanating from North Korea; the role of the police and the Japan Self-Defense Force in responding to terrorism; and Japan’s response to the ‘global war on terrorism’.

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