Early-Career Scholar Forum

The Merits and Demerits of Ambiguous Objectives: Japanese Troops Withdrawal from Iraq and South Sudan

Friday, 11 March 2022 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Nagafumi Nakamura Project Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo
  • Rieko Kage Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo

Why do intervening states find it difficult to make the decision to withdraw from armed peace operations? According to previous studies that focus on the withdrawal of the operation leading country (e.g., U.S.), this is because ambiguous intervention objectives (e.g., preventing hotbeds of terrorism) are accompanied by complex criteria with which to evaluate whether those objectives have been achieved. Given this ambiguity, the operation leading country has to persuade those who emphasize the most demanding criteria for achievement of the objective (e.g., the elimination of all terrorists in the intervened states). On the other hand, this study insists that ambiguous objectives may justify the withdrawal of countries that contribute troops (e.g., Japan). Given this ambiguity, their operation participating countries can emphasize the least demanding criteria (e.g., protecting civilians until intervened states’ security forces are prepared to protect them). This study tests this hypothesis through the case studies of Japanese withdrawal from Iraq and South Sudan.


Nagafumi Nakamura is a Project Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo. His research focus is International Relations, specifically international security from the end of the cold war, humanitarian intervention, the war on terror, and peace operations. He has published 6 peer-reviewed articles including “Conditions of Exit from New Wars,” Nenpo Seijigaku (2021); “The Dilemma of Exit Strategy,” Heiwa Kenkyu vol. 48 (2018); and “Considering the Exit Strategy in Peace Operations from a Historical Perspective,” Kokuren Kenkyu vol. 19 (2018). He has also contributed to 6 specialized academic books and textbooks.