Professor Chiyuki Aoi’s chapter Senryakureki komyunikēshon to bōei gaikō (English title: Strategic Communications and Defence Diplomacy)was published as a part of the book Bōei gaiko to wa nani ka: heiji ni okeru gunjiryoku no yakuwari (English title: What Is Defence Diplomacy) by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in March 2021.

The chapter explores the close link between Strategic Communications and defence diplomacy (defence engagement in Western parlance), and how this connection relates to Japan’s defence doctrine. Beyond improving a state’s relations with partner countries, defence diplomacy sends the dual message of assurance and deterrence to allies and adversaries respectively. Simultaneously, it serves to connect like-minded nations and therefore shape the security environment in line with a state’s values and foreign policy interests. As such, defence diplomacy can be understood as comprising or part of Strategic Communications. The chapter further links this notion with Japan’s official defence concept. The Japanese government’s 2019 National Defence Program Guidelines (NDPG) states that Strategic Communications would be Japan’s defence task, linked with its defence purpose of ‘creation’ (or shaping) of the international security environment (commensurate with realization of its interests and values), and that the SDF will actively engage in ‘security cooperation’ – such as joint training and exercises and overseas port visits, activities now linked to its promotion of strategic communications. For Japan, further, the realization of the “Indo-Pacific Vision” is fundamental to shaping the security environment. Thus, employing defence diplomacy in promotion of Indo-Pacific security, is also implicitly linked to strategic communications, a necessary part of Japan’s effort to ensure its security for the present and future.

The chapter is part of the book What Is Defence Diplomacy, which examines the principles, objectives and approaches of defence diplomacy and how such diplomacy can be better employed in the future Japan. The print edition was published by Keiso Shobo in October 2021.