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An ‘A’ for Effort: Experimental Evidence on UN Security Council Engagement and Support for US Military Action in Japan

  • Atsushi Tago and Maki Ikeda

Existing research emphasizes how United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approval helps convey information to domestic audiences that military action is conducted with good intentions, for desirable consequences and in a legitimate manner. This information transmission mechanism can also increase support for UNSC-endorsed military action in countries unlikely to provide major contributions to military actions. There is some cross-national evidence supporting the information transmission mechanism in the United States. Examining the causal mechanisms underlying foreign public support for US military action through a survey experiment with approximately 2,000 respondents in Japan shows that foreign public support varies depending on whether the military action has UNSC approval. The process of presenting draft resolutions to the UNSC also affects public support.

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Graduate School of Law, Kobe University (email: and Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo, respectively. The authors wish to thank Erik Gartzke, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, Takeshi Iida, Yukiko Muramoto, Steve Pickering and participants of the Workshop on the Frontiers of Statistical Analysis and Formal Theory of Political Science 2013 (Gakushuin University) and the Kobe Sakura Meeting 2013 (Kobe University) for their comments and suggestions for this project. They are also grateful to the editor and reviewers of the Journal whose careful readings have greatly improved this article. This study is supported by the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number: 24683004, Nomura Foundation and Suntory Foundation. Data replication materials and online appendices are available at This study has been screened and approved by the institutional review board of the Department of Social Psychology, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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