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Saadia M. Pekkanen

Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Professor, University of Washington

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About Saadia

Pekkanen's research focuses on the intersection of International relations and international law, with a specialization in the economic, legal, and security policies shaping the space industry. Pekkanen also investigates geopolitical change through the lens of infrastructure investment. Pekkanen's regional expertise is in the foreign affairs of Japan and Asia. Pekkanen co-chairs the U.S.-Japan Space Forum.

In the News

Opinion: "Asia’s Ascendance in the New International Space Order," Saadia M. Pekkanen, East Asia Forum, May 22, 2024.
Opinion: "Repositioning the U.S.-Japan Alliance for Space," Saadia M. Pekkanen, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 22, 2023.
Guest on The Hague Diplomacy Podcast, June 7, 2023.
Opinion: "Zooming In on the Promise and Peril of Satellite Imagery," Saadia M. Pekkanen, The Seattle Times, August 26, 2022.
Opinion: "Challenges to Building Responsible Behaviour in Space," Saadia M. Pekkanen, Observer Research Foundation, October 18, 2021.
Opinion: "Japan’s Space Defence Policy Charts Its Own Course," Saadia M. Pekkanen, East Asia Forum, January 18, 2021.


The Oxford Handbook of Space Security (edited with P.J. Blount) (Oxford University Press, 2024).

Explores the interaction between space technology and international and national security processes. Theorizes the development and governance of space security, identifying current challenges and pressure points. Examines key states, regions, and specific capabilities, highlighting how new technologies and counterspace capabilities pursued by states are reshaping space security. Aims to explain the impact of these contemporary changes on future security in space.

"Developing State Practice for the Governance of Space Resources" in Governing the Global Commons: Challenges and Opportunities for US-Japan Cooperation, edited by Kristi M. Govella (The German Marshall Fund, 2022), 35-38.

Discusses the governance of space resources, at a time when the technologies for their exploitation remain unproven but rivalries over their control are imaginable. 

"Governing the New Space Race" American Journal of International Law Unbound 113 (2019): 92-97.

Provides an overview of the three key trends in the contemporary space race, namely democratization, commercialization, and militarization. Assesses prospects for states and legal governance through international and national frameworks.

Symposium on the New Space Race (American Journal of International Law, 2019).

Addresses law and policy of contemporary topics in the space race, i.e. new states, activities in Asia, liability, space resources, space traffic management, and national security space

"Limits to Maritime Power: The Politics of Controversy over Chinese Infrastructure Investment," (with Margaret Pearson), American Political Science Association, November 20, 2018.

Provides and overview of China's belt-and-road initiative through the lens of infrastructure investment in key maritime ports around the world, and the controversies that foreign Chinese investment may encounter.

Asian Designs: Governance in the Contemporary World Order (Cornell University Press, 2016).

Provides a comprehensive look at the way Asia's risen powers are shaping governance at the global and regional level, across economic, security, and human security cases; examines leadership exercised by China, Japan, and Korea.

The Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (edited with John Ravenhill and Rosemary Foot) (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Provides an overview of the international relations and foreign policy of the countries of contemporary Asia.

"In Defense of Japan: From the Market to the Military in Space Policy" (with Paul Kallender-Umezu) (Stanford University Press, 2010).

Provides a comprehensive overview of the changing nature of Japan's space policy over the postwar period, culminating in the national security space trajectories. Assesses the role of Japan's space and defense contractors in shaping space policy trajectories