Nobukatsu Kanehara is a Senior Advisor to The Asia Group, based in Japan. Mr. Kanehara draws on substantial experience serving at the highest levels in the Government of Japan, where he was recognized as a leading diplomat and strategic voice on international affairs. Mr. Kanehara offers nuanced insights into Japanese national security priorities, as well as domestic political and policy dynamics.
Most recently, Mr. Kanehara served as Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from 2012 to 2019. In 2013, Mr. Kanehara also became the inaugural Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Secretariat, a role which he held until his retirement from government service in 2019. He also served as Deputy Director of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office.
Mr. Kanehara’s role in the Cabinet built on a distinguished career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he served in a number of notable positions. These included the Director-General of Bureau of International Law, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Policy Bureau, Ambassador in charge of the United Nations and Human Rights, Deputy Director-General of European Affairs in charge of Russia and Eastern Europe, Director of the Ministry’s Policy Coordination Division, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Division. He served abroad as Deputy Chief of Mission in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Minister at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, the United States and Minister of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations.
Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Mr. Kanehara entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following his graduation from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law in 1981. Early during his career at the Ministry, he studied at the École Nationale d’Administration in France. He is the author of Senryaku Gaiko Genron: A Grand Strategy of Japan for the 21st Century (2011, Nihon-keizai-shinbumsha). He contributed an article titled “The power of Japan and its grand strategy” to Japan’s World Power edited by Professor Guibourg Delamotte (2019, Routledge). He currently teaches at Doshisha University’s Faculty of Law as professor and has previously taught at the Faculty of Law and the Graduate School of Law at Waseda University. He is proficient in French, as well as Japanese and English. He was decorated by the president of Republic of France with Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur.