- 財団法人 日本国際政治学会
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- vol.2012, no.167, pp.167_57-71, 2012-01-30 (Released:2013-09-21)
The objective of this article is to examine the influence of cultural factors on systems of democratic control over the intelligence communities of different countries and the light this can shed on the road ahead as Japan develops its own oversight mechanisms.The intelligence communities of different countries are configured in different forms. In the US, the Director of National Intelligence serves as the head of the IC, while in the UK, the Joint Intelligence Committee which is a part of the Cabinet Office is responsible for directing the IC. This variation reflects not only the different presidential and parliamentary political systems but also the different organizational cultures of intelligence agencies in Britain and the US. For instance, the prevailing characteristics of organizational culture in the British IC are collegiality and collaboration. In the US, divisionism and bureaucracy are predominant. These cultural differences are rooted in the different political, historical and social environments unique to each country.Systems for democratic control of the ICs also vary in different countries. In the US, congressional committees specialized in intelligence matters in both chambers of Congress exercise oversight and have strong authority over the IC. Although in the UK the Intelligence and Security Committee which directly reports to the Prime Minister is responsible for oversight of the IC, it exercises comparatively moderate control over the IC. Such differences are a reflection of the cultural differences between each country. The US system of oversight by powerful congressional committees reflects the high levels of public distrust in the IC, the result of a litany of intelligence-related scandals. This system also reflects the history of serious power struggles between Congress and the executive. In the UK, however, public trust in the IC, and collaboration between the executive branch and Parliament, has historically been greater than in the US.Currently, Japan has no organization dedicated to democratic oversight of its intelligence organs. If Japan expands the scope of its intelligence activities, it will be necessary to develop new and enhance existing mechanisms for democratic control. In doing so it will be vital to ensure that they take account of the cultural factors at play in Japanese society rather than to transplant the systems of control in place in foreign countries which reflect their different cultural milieu.The Japanese cultural factors that systems of control in other countries do not take account of are, firstly, a strong public distrust of intelligence activities, and secondly strong public desire to maintain the political neutrality of intelligence organizations. These cultural characteristics can be attributed to Japan's historical experiences during the Second World War, and are very different from circumstances in other countries. The existing Independent Regulatory Commission system could be a possible foundation on which to build a uniquely Japanese system for democratic oversight of the nation's intelligence activities.