Constitutional legal scholars are regarded as influential academic experts in the public debate on security policy in Japan. However, the majority of studies on expert cue fail to find evidence that messages from experts have a persuasive effect on public opinion. To empirically test the influence of constitutional scholars, this study conducted an online survey experiment on whether the criticism of constitutional scholars undermines Japanese public support for the hypothetical use of armed force. The results show that such criticism has no causal effect on public attitude even among respondents who are most liberal or have high confidence in constitutional scholars. On the contrary, adverse opinion from retired general officers declines the support for the dispatch among individuals who are conservative or have high confidence in the Japan Self-Defense Force. These findings imply that though the Japanese consciously sift through information from different sources, they reject it from constitutional scholars.
In the earlier version, figure 2 is mistakenly placed where there should be figure 3. We fixed the mistake.