Japan's honor guard often marches to greet the arrival of foreign dignitaries.
Japan Self-Defence Forces (Japanese: 自衛隊, Jieitai) is a military force in Japan that was established after the end of World War II. The force has been engaged in no real combat but has been engaged in some peacekeeping operations.
The Japanese military is severely limited by Article 9 of the Japanese constitution that renounces force as a means of settling international disputes and prohibits the creation of an army, navy, and air force. The exact limits of Article 9 is a controversial issue in Japan, but it has been interpreted as allowing for self-defense forces. Thus the JSDF has a very limited oversea capability, lacks long range offensive capabilities like long range anti ground missiles, air-refueling (as of 2004), Marines or amphibious units, special forces, large cache of ammunitions, or ROE (Rules of Engagement). Japan's USD $42.6 billion/year budget makes it the fourth largest military spender in the world, after the big three -- United States, Russia and the People's Republic of China. About 50% of that is spent on the personnel and rests are split on supplies, new weapons, upgrades, etc. (http://www.cdi.org/budget/2004/world-military-spending.cfm)
As a reflection of the forces' role, the Japanese term 軍 (pronounciation: gun), referring to a military force, and the English terms "military", "army", "navy", and "air force" are never used in official references to the JSDF.
The first overseas deployment of the Japanese military under UN since World War II occurred in 1992. The troops were sent to Cambodia to watch over the first free election. The first overseas deployment without an UN agreement occurred in 2004. The troops were sent to Iraq as peace keepers.
Self-Defense Forces numbered about 246,400 in 1992: Ground Self-Defense Force 156,000, Maritime Self-Defense Force 44,400, and Air Self-Defense Force 46,000. Reserves 48,400.
Military Units: Five armies, five maritime districts, and three air defense forces. Main bases in Hokkaido, eastern Honshu, central and western Honshu and Shikoku, and Kyushu.
Military branches: Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force)
Equipment: Ground Self-Defense Force: medium tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, armored personnel carriers, towed and self-propelled howitzers, mortars, single rocket and multiple rocket launchers, air defense guns, surface-to-surface missiles, antitank missiles, fixed-wing aircraft, attack helicopters, and transport helicopters. Maritime Self-Defense Force: diesel submarines, guided missile destroyers, frigates with helicopters, frigates, patrol and coastal combatants, mine warfare ships, amphibious ships, auxiliaries, ground based fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. Air Self-Defense Force: ground attack aircraft, fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, airborne early warning aircraft, transport aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, air-to-air missiles, and air-defense control and warning units.
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 30,259,247 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 26,139,516 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 771,452 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $42.9 billion (FY98/99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.9% (FY98/99) Japan keeps direct defense expenses at about 1 percent of GNP for political reasons.
Foreign Military Treaty: Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security with United States (1960); can be revoked on one-year's notice by either party and is updated by minutes periodically.
Police Forces: Independent municipal and local police forces, all under supervision of National Police Agency in 1993. National Rural Police at prefecture level.
List of notable JSDF figures
- JDA Cabinet Office (http://www.cao.go.jp/) (Japanese)
- Japanese Defense Agency (http://www.jda.go.jp/) (Japanese)
- Joint Staff Council (http://www.jda.go.jp/join/) (Japanese)
- Air Self-Defense Forces Website (http://www.jda.go.jp/jasdf/) (Japanese)
- kamouflage.net: online index of camouflage uniforms from around the world (http://www.kamouflage.net/) (English)
- kamouflage.net > Asia > Japan > JGSDF camouflage pattern (http://www.kamouflage.net/camouflage/en_00037.php) (English)