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This dissertation explores the role of Japan’s ballistic missile defense (BMD) program and its deterrent effect upon North Korean behavior. A mixed-methods approach is employed to analyze the topic. Empirical quantitative data included tabulated monthly cooperative-conflictual behavioral interaction between Japan and North Korea spanning a 22-year timeframe (1990-2011). In addition, a strategic profile developed from deterrence theory provided essential qualitative background to compliment the quantitative analysis. Japan’s BMD program was divided into four periods reflecting decision points or phases of program development. Results indicated varied BMD deterrence effectiveness, with two periods indicating Japan’s BMD program strengthened deterrence, one period indicating it undermined deterrence, and one period it had no effect.
Advisor: Ross Miller