About our Institute

Target of research and perspectives of analysis

Our Research Institute aims at elucidating the essential structure of disarmament and arms control in the modern and contemporary world through comprehensive historical research including economic history, history of international affairs, imperial history, and military history. We mainly focus on the relationships between arms transfer and disarmament / arms control, on the relationships between the armament industry and the state, and on the effects of proliferation of weapons on the international community.

The actual condition of production and trade of arms is covered by a thick veil, and it is highly difficult to unravel the present situation of arms production and trade. The issues of modern and contemporary disarmament and arms control is extremely complicated, and despite its gravity, it is no easy matter to discern its essence. It seems that the issues of arms and military affairs is covered in darkness. The Research Institute strives to go back into history, clarify the essence and structure of issues covered up in the past, and disseminate the fruits of research widely to the world.

“Arms transfer” as an analytical concept

The issues of disarmament and arms control is not limited to the post-Cold War era. It is true that the arms trade rapidly expanded and became increasingly complicated after World War II, but the weapon market had already started to expand prior to World War I. In order to clarify this point, the Research Institute will analyze the history of a phenomenon known as arms transfer from a multi-faceted perspective.

Arms transfer is an analytical concept to grasp the strategy of governments, armed forces, armament industries, and other parties concerned in arms exporting and importing countries (sender and receiver), and the relationships among them in a comprehensive manner. This concept does not mean only the dealings or trade of arms but also includes a wide range of ideas from licensing and the sending and reception of engineers to the use and repair of arms and the international transfer of manufacturing capabilities.

The concept of arms transfer has frequently been used in the field of international politics which covered the Cold War era, but the Research Institute’s projects have applied it to the area of historical research by using it as an analytical concept to elucidate the essential structure of disarmament and arms control in the modern and contemporary world.

Combining historical research with contemporary policy discussions

The issues of disarmament and arms control today looks extremely complicated. This is the reason we believe that it is important to go back into history and thus reveal the essential structure of disarmament and arms control. How did the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and Japan take part in, and respond as arms producers to, the discussions about disarmament at the Washington Naval Conference, the Geneva Naval Conference, the London Naval Conference, and the Geneva Conference on Arms Reduction and Limitation? Why did disarmament agreements and arms export control between the two world wars fail, prompting these countries to shift to rearmament?

The Research Institute emphasizes an approach to research that combines historical research with discussions about today’s policy issues. Through initiatives based on its contemporary awareness of issues, it will promote efforts to make research in this area more interdisciplinary and international, a task that was not achieved by the previous closed research organizations.

Activities of the Research Institute

Activities of the Research Institute

Through the various activities listed below, the Research Institute is disseminating research achievements in Japan and abroad.

  • (1)Hosting a Forum on the History of the Armament Industry and Arms Transfer organized by the Political Economy & Economic History Society
  • (2)Holding biannual open symposium organized by the Research Institute
  • (3)Biannual Publication of The History of Global Arms Transfer, the Research Institute’s bulletin
  • (4)Hosting international seminars and workshops by inviting overseas researchers
  • (5)Publication of the Research Institute’s series of research books
  • (6)Offering courses for all undergraduate schools in omnibus style
  • (7)Multi-faceted public relations using the Research Institute’s website, the University’s public relations organ, press releases, etc.

All interrelated to one another, these activities are structured so that all members of the Research Institute can disseminate research achievements (including reports at academic societies) in various ways. Detailed event schedules and publication dates are all announced at the Research Institute’s website.



Katsuhiko Yokoi
Director