Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs


Dr John Swenson-Wright

Head, Asia Programme

Contact: Email Dr John Swenson-Wright
Telephone: +44 (0)7590 194 220


  • Northeast Asian Security, defence policy and nuclear weapons
  • North Korean foreign policy and domestic politics
  • South Korean foreign policy and domestic politics
  • Japanese politics, foreign policy and regional relations


  • Japan's emerging security realism and its implications for regional stability in Northeast Asia
  • Inter-Korean relations and the North Korean strategic threat
  • Cold War historiography and the US-Japan security relationship

Recent Publications

  • Chung-in Moon and John Swenson-Wright, eds. Crisis of Peace and New Leadership in Korea: Lessons from Kim Dae-jung’s Legacy, Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 2014
  • Ruediger Frank and John Swenson-Wright, eds. Security Issues for Northeast Asia: The Stony Road to Collective Security, Leiden: Brill, 2013
  • 'Inter-Korean relations and the challenge of North-east Asian regional security,' in Andrew T. H. Tan, ed. East and South-East Asia International Relations and Security Perspectives, London: Routledge, 2013
  • What Upper House Victory Means for Shinzo Abe, BBC News, July 2013
  • Is Japan Truly 'Back'? Prospects for a More Proactive Security Policy, Briefing Paper, June 2013
  • 'China Talks Tough Over North Korea', The Guardian, February 2013
  • 'New Faces, Old Tensions', The World Today, February 2013
  • 'Japan: Heavy History', The World Today, April 2011
  • Resurgent Trilateralism in Northeast Asia, Programme Paper, February 2011
  • 'The Limits of Normality: Japanese-Korean post-Cold War Interactions,' in David Welch, ed. Japan as a Normal Nation, Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2011
  • 'Korea: A Glimmer of Hope', The World Today, February 2011
  • 'East Asia: Searching for Consistency' in R Niblett (ed) America and a Changed World: A Question of Leadership, Wiley-Blackwell/Chatham House, 2010
  • 'Auditing Engagement: Human Security, Economic Contact and the DPRK - Past Initiatives and Future Opportunities,' Dealing with North Korean Instabilities and the Future of the Korean Peninsula, Seoul, Republic of Korea: Center for International Studies, Seoul National University, 2010
  • 'Sasakawa Ryouichi: Unravelling an Enigma,' in Ryoichi Sasakawa and Ken Hijino (trans), Sugamo Diary, London: Hurst/Columbia, 2010
  • 'Contending with Regional Uncertainty: Japan's Response to Contemporary East Asian Security Challenges,' in Patricia Nelson and Marie Sodeberg, eds, Perspectives on Change in Japanese Politics and Economics, London: Routledge, 2010
  • 'The Strategic Mind Set of the Obama Administration and US Policy toward Northeast Asia', The Obama Administration's Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula, Korea Association of International Studies, Seoul, April 2009
  • 'Human Security in East Asia', The 5th Jeju Peace Forum: Shaping New Regioinal Governance in East Asia, Jeju, South Korea, August 2009
  • 'Assassination, Abduction and Normalization: Historical Mythologies and Misreprentation in Post-war South Korea-Japan Relations', in Rudiger Frank, James Hoare, Patrick Kollner and Susan Pares, eds. Korea Yearbook 2008, Leiden: Brill, 2009
  • 'The Lucky Dragon Incident of 1954: a Failure of Crisis Management,' in Makoto Iokibe, Caroline Rose, Tomaru Junko, and John Weste, eds., Japanese Diplomacy in the 1950s, London: Routledge, 2008
  • Unequal Allies? United States Security and Alliance Policy Toward Japan, 1945-1960, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2005
  • The Best Course Available. A personal account of the secret US - Japan Okinawa negotiations Wakaizumi Kei, ed., Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002
  • 'Post-Cold War US-Japan Relations: Incremental Realism in a Maturing Security Partnership', International Center for Comparative Law and Politics, Anglo-Japanese Academy Proceedings, ICCLP Publications No. 7, Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo, 2002
  • 'US-Japan Diplomatic and Security Relations Post-1945: a Historical Perspective', Cornell University Occasional Paper, The United States and Asian Security, 2002


1997 - Present Fuji Bank University Senior Lecturer in Modern Japanese Studies, East Asia Institute, University of Cambridge
1997 - 1996 Lecturer in Modern Japanese Studies, East Asia Institute, University of Cambridge

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