The Role of the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS)

The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) is the Ministry of Defense’s core policy research arm, conducting research and studies with a policy orientation primarily on security and military history, while also serving as a strategic college-level educational institution for the training of high-level officers of the Self-Defense Forces. In addition, NIDS engages in such activities as the administration of military and naval documents, records and publications, and is considered to be the nation’s foremost military history research center.

The National Defense Program Guidelines for FY2005, approved by the Security Council and Cabinet in December 2004, stated that NIDS “will promote activities related to research and education on security issues.” In addition, the Mid-Term Defense Program (FY2005-2009) states that “The GOJ will improve the research and education function of the National Institute for Defense Studies regarding security policy.”

NIDS proactively engages in research, studies, education and training, and places a strong emphasis on international exchanges and information dissemination. NIDS’ work in each of these areas is widely recognized, establishing it as the pre-eminent institution dealing with security policy in Japan.


Aug. 1952Founded as the National Safety College
Jul. 1954Renamed the National Defense College
May 1956Office of War History transferred from the Ground Staff College to the National Defense College
Apr. 1973Research Department (consisting of six research offices), and Education Department established, to facilitate better performance for both research and education missions
May 1976Office of War History renamed as the Military History Department (consisting of two research offices)
Jul. 1984Research Department reorganized into the First and Second Research Departments in order to strengthen research in international relations
Apr. 1985Renamed the National Institute for Defense Studies in order to enhance its ability to conduct policy research
Oct. 1994Libraries of the Ground, Maritime, Air and Joint Staff Colleges incorporated into the NIDS Library (main building)
Mar. 2001The NIDS Library (reference room of military archives) designated as a historical archives by the Minister of Public Management
Apr. 2002The NIDS Military Archives officially established in the Library
Aug. 200250th anniversary of the National Institute for Defense Studies
Apr. 2004Executive Director established and the First and Second Research Departments are reorganized into the Research Department. Research and studies and frameworks for international exchange are reinforced and strengthened
Jan. 2007Renamed the National Institute for Defense Studies of the Ministry of Defense
Apr. 2009The Seventh Research Office established in the Research Department
Sep. 2011 The Research Department was reorganized into the Policy Research Department, Theoretical Study Department, and Regional Study Department, the Department of Military History Study and the Library (history archive room only) were reorganized into the Center for Military History and the Planning Department was created.
Aug. 2012 NIDS celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding
Apr. 2015 Executive Director, Director (International Exchange and Libraries), and Director(Policy Simulation) established. (added)
Apr. 2016 China Division established in the Regional Studies Department
Aug. 2016 Relocated to Ichigaya from Meguro


NIDS Organization

Planning and Administration Department
General affairs, human resources, accounting, planning and coordination of research and education/training
Policy Studies Department
Conducts research on defense policies, defense buildup and military operations of Japan and other countries, and global security affairs
Security Studies Department
Conducts research on government, legislations, society, defense economics and post-conflict development
Regional Studies Department
Conducts research on international relations and security challenges in regions of the world
Education Department
Provides education on national security affairs to senior officers of the SDF and equivalent civilian officials of the MOD and other government agencies
Center for Military History
Conducts research on military history, compiles military history and maintains military history archives
Director, International Exchange and Libraries
Supports research and educational activity being conducted at NIDS, the Joint Staff College the GSDF, MSDF and ASDF Staff Colleges by providing research and study and book regarding international research and educational exchanges
Director, Policy Simulation
Conducts research on management and operation of self defense force
Administration Division
The National Institute for Defense Studies :
5-1 ichigayahonmuracho, shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8808 Japan
Phone: +81-3-3260-3019
FAX: +81-3-3260-3039