Robert D. Eldridge

Senior Fellow (non-resident), The Japan Institute of International Affairs

Dr. Robert D. Eldridge is a Senior Fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs.

He earned his doctorate in Japanese Political and Diplomatic History from the Graduate School of Law, Kobe University, in 1999, having studied under Professor Iokibe Makoto. A native of the United States and resident of Japan since 1990, he was a tenured associate professor at the Graduate School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, from 2001-2009, in addition to being a visiting professor and researcher at numerous institutions such as the Suntory Foundation, Research Institute for Peace and Security, Hokkaido University, and the Japanese House of Councilors Okinawa Special Affairs Committee. He then joined the U.S. Department of Defense as the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Bases Japan, and served in that capacity until 2015, where he implemented alternative approaches to community relations, public diplomacy, and alliance management based on transparency, dialogue, and pro-active outreach. During his time with the Marine Corps, he also helped plan and lead Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, serving as the political advisor to the Forward Command Element in Sendai, and later launched the Disaster Cooperation Program to build cooperative relations between local communities and the U.S. Marine Corps in preparation for the next major disaster. He regularly speaks at international academic conferences and Track II meetings, as well as a guest commentator on television and radio, and has won several awards for his public service and writings, including the prestigious the Suntory Academic Award (2003), Mainichi Shimbun Asia-Pacific Award (2003), Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro Award (2012), and Ohira Masayoshi Award (2016). He is the author, contributor, editor, and translator of more than 100 books about U.S.-Japan relations, Japanese politics, security, and diplomacy, and disaster preparedness including many published by Routledge, such as The Origins of the Bilateral Okinawa Problem: Okinawa in U.S.-Japan Relations, 1945-1952 (2001), The Return of the Amami Islands: The Reversion Movement and U.S.-Japan Relations (2004), Secret Talks between Tokyo and Washington: The Memoirs of Miyazawa Kiichi, 1949-1954 (2007, trans.), Japanese Public Opinion and the War on Terrorism (2008, co-edited), The Diplomatic History of Postwar Japan (2010, trans.), and Iwo Jima and the Bonin Islands in U.S.-Japan Relations: American Strategy, Japanese Territory, and the Islanders In-between (2012), An Inoffensive Rearmament: An Inoffensive Rearmament: The Making of the Postwar Japanese Army (2013, co-edited), The Origins of U.S. Policy in the East China Sea Islands Dispute: Okinawa’s Reversion and the Senkaku Islands (2014), Megaquake: How Japan and the World Should Respond (2015, trans), The Prime Ministers of Postwar Japan, 1945-1995 (2016, trans.), Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force: Search for Legitimacy (2017, co-edited), Changing Security Policies in Postwar Japan (2017, trans.), The Japanese Self-Defense Forces Law: Translation, History, and Analysis (2019, co-edited), The Olympics and the Japanese Spirit (2020, trans), The Meiji Japanese Who Made Modern Taiwan (2022, trans.), among others. He is currently co-editing a book about Japanese politics and diplomacy in the 1960s to be published by Routledge in 2024. He has also published in Asian Survey, Pacific Historical Review, Journal of American-East Asian Relations, and Education about Asia, among other academic journals.