The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF, ja|陸上自衛隊, ''Rikujō Jieitai''), also referred to as the Japanese Army, is the land warfare branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces
. Created on July 1, 1954, it is the largest of the three service branches.
New military guidelines, announced in December 2010, direct the Japan Self-Defense Forces
away from their Cold War
focus on the Soviet Union
to a new focus on China
, especially in respect of the dispute
over the Senkaku Islands
The JGSDF operates under the command of the chief of the ground staff, based in the city of Ichigaya
. The present chief of staff is General . The JGSDF numbered around 150,000 soldiers in 2018.
[IISS Military Balance 2018, Routledge, London, 2018. p.271]
Soon after the end of
the Pacific War
in 1945 with Japan accepting the Potsdam Declaration
, the Imperial Japanese Army
and Imperial Japanese Navy
were dismantled by the orders of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
(SCAP). Both were replaced by the United States Armed Forces occupation force, which assumed responsibility for the external defense of Japan.
insisted that Japan have no military that could be used to settle international disputes or even for its own self defense. Accordingly, during the development of the Japan Constitution in 1946, Article 9 was added stating "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes."
"In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
It is believed that the Special Diet
Session leader Hitoshi Ashida
added the clause “In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph” in the middle of Article 9. The intent of this phrasing was to allow for the creation of military forces in Japan which would be for the defense of Japan, and not for settling international disputes.
Then Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida
accepted this wording and was able to convince the US to allow Japan to operate "self defense
Under the terms of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
, United States forces stationed in Japan were to deal with external aggression against Japan while Japanese forces, both ground and maritime, would deal with internal threats and natural disasters. Only after the outbreak of the Korean War
did MacArthur authorise Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida to establish a 75,000 strong National Police Reserve
. The next expansion came in 1952, when as a compromise in the face of U.S. calls to build up an army of 350,000, the National Police Reserve was re-titled the National Safety Force and expanded to 110,000.
In 1954, Prime Minister Yoshida impelled the Diet to accept the Defence Agency Establishment and the Self-Defence Force Laws, which explicitly authorised the forces to ‘defend Japan against direct and indirect aggression, and when necessary to maintain public order.’ On July 1, 1954, the National Security Board was reorganized as the Defense Agency, and the National Security Force was reorganized afterwards as the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army
), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force
), with General Keizō Hayashi
appointed as the first Chairman of Joint Staff Council—professional head of the three branches. The enabling legislation for this was the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Act ct No. 165 of 1954
That year the actual strength of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defence Forces reached 146,285, armed mainly with U.S. World War II vintage equipment. At least up until the 1970s, the Ground SDF was not built up to the point required to defeat an invasion attempt from the north – informed officials estimated that while ammunition provisions were officially said to be enough to last for two months, in actuality it would be used up in a week or less.
During the 1970s, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force possessed a dubious ability to hold off a Soviet invasion of Hokkaido
. Zbigniew Brzezinski
observed in 1972 that it seemed optimized to fight "a Soviet invasion conducted on American patterns of a quarter of a century ago." Three years later in 1975, Osamu Kaihara, the former secretary of the National Defence Council, was reported in U.S. News and World Report that the SDF would have been totally ineffective in any Soviet attack, as the Ground SDF could only fight as an army for three to four days. While the force is now an efficient army of around 150,000,
[IISS 2010, pp. 408–411]
its apparent importance had, until recently, seemingly declined with the end of the Cold War
, and attempts to reorient the forces as a whole to new post Cold War missions have been tangled in a series of internal political disputes.
On March 27, 2004, the Japan Defense Agency
activated the Special Operations Group
with the mandate under the JGSDF as its Counter-terrorist unit
In 2015, the Japanese Diet passed a law that allowed for the reinterpretation of Article 9 of the constitution. JSDF personnel train with the American forces in amphibious assault units designed to take outlying islands.
Japan activated its first marine unit since World War II on April 7, 2018. The marines of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade
are trained to counter invaders from occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea.
British troops of the Honourable Artillery Company
(HAC) exercised together for the first time with Japanese GSDF soldiers in Oyama
, Shizuoka prefecture on 2 October 2018. This also marked the first time in history that foreign soldiers other than Americans exercised on Japanese soil. The purpose was to improve their strategic partnership and security cooperation. Speaking about tensions regarding North Korea
, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders
said that Japan "won't have to fight alone."
and the Indian Army
conducted their first joint military exercise in the Indian state of Mizoram
from 27 October to 18 November 2018. It primarily consisted of anti-terror drills and improving bilateral cooperation with 60 Japanese and Indian officers.
In March 2019, the Ministry of Defense established its first regional cyber protection unit in the Western Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) to safeguard defense communications from cyber attacks, such as for personnel deployed on remote islands with no established secure lines.
The Japanese government approved the first ever JSDF dispatch to a peacekeeping operation that is not led by the United Nations
in 2019. JGSDF officers monitored the cease-fire between Israel and Egypt at the Multinational Force and Observers command in the Sinai peninsula
from 19 April until 30 November 2019.
JGSDF soldiers and U.S. soldiers participate in the Orient Shield 2017 opening ceremony at Camp Shin Yokotsuka, Sept. 11, 2017
In 1989, basic training for lower-secondary and upper-secondary academy graduates began in the training brigade and lasted approximately three months. Specialized enlisted and non-commissioned officer
(NCO) candidate courses were available in branch schools and qualified NCOs could enter an eight-to-twelve-week officer candidate program. Senior NCOs and graduates of an eighty-week NCO pilot course were eligible to enter officer candidate schools, as were graduates of the National Defense Academy
and graduates of all four-year universities. Advanced technical, flight, medical and command and staff officer courses were also run by the JGSDF. Like the maritime
and air forces
, the JGSDF ran a youth cadet
program offering technical training to lower-secondary school graduates below military age in return for a promise of enlistment.
Because of population density and urbanization on the Japanese islands, only limited areas are available for large-scale training, and, even in these areas, noise restrictions are extensive. The JGSDF has adapted to these conditions by conducting command post exercises, map manoeuvres, investing in simulators and other training programs, as well as conducting live fire exercises overseas at locations such as the Yakima Training Center
in the United States
The JGSDF has two reserve components: the rapid-reaction reserve component (即応予備自衛官制度) and the main reserve component (一般予備自衛官制度). Members of the rapid-reaction component train 30 days a year. Members of the main reserve train five days a year. As of December 2007, there were 8,425 members of the rapid-reaction reserve component and 22,404 members of the main reserve component.
Image:Type10MBT.jpg| Type 10 Main Battle Tank
File:Firing Type 90 tank.jpg|Type 90 Main Battle Tank
File:JGSDF Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle(26-6348) left front view at Camp Nihonbara October 1, 2017 02.jpg|Type 16 Maneuver Combat Vehicle
File:JGSDF_type_87_Self-Propelled_Anti-Aircraft_Gun_02.jpg|Type 87 Self-propelled Anti-aircraft Gun
File:JGSDF APC Type 96 at JGSDF Camp Shimoshizu 02.jpg|Type 96 Armored Personnel Carrier
File:Running JGSDF Type89 IFV at JGSDF Review of Troops.jpg|Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
File:Japanese - Type 87 Scout - 1.jpg|Type 87 Armoured Recon and Patrol Vehicle
File:AH-64D_%26_AH-1S.JPG|JGSDF AH-64D & AH-1S
File:99式自走155mmりゅう弾砲_(8464256105).jpg|Type 99 155 mm self-propelled howitzer
File:Type_12_Surface-to-Ship_Missile.jpg|Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile
* is headquartered in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture. It was reorganized from the Central Readiness Force on March 27, 2018. In wartime, it would take command of two to five armies.
* Northern Army, headquartered in Sapporo, Hokkaido
* North Eastern Army, headquartered in Sendai, Miyagi
* Eastern Army, headquartered in Nerima, Tokyo
* Central Army, headquartered in Itami, Hyōgo
* Western Army, headquartered at Kumamoto, Kumamoto
JGSDF currently has 9 active duty divisions (1 armored, 8 infantry)
* 1st Division, in Nerima.
* 2nd Division, in Asahikawa.
* 3rd Division, in Itami.
* 4th Division, in Kasuga.
* 6th Division, in Higashine.
* 7th Division (7th Armored division), in Chitose.
* 8th Division, in Kumamoto.
* 9th Division, in Aomori.
* 10th Division, in Nagoya.
the JGSDF currently has 8 combat brigades:
* 1st Airborne Brigade, at Camp Narashino in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture
* 5th Brigade, at Camp Obihiro in Obihiro, responsible for the defense of North Eastern Hokkaidō
* 11th Brigade, at Camp Makomanai in Sapporo, responsible for the defense of South Western Hokkaidō
* 12th Brigade (Air Assault), at Camp Soumagahara in Shintō, responsible for the defense of Gunma, Nagano, Niigata and Tochigi prefectures.
* 13th Brigade, in Kaita, responsible for the defense of the Chūgoku region.
* 14th Brigade, in Zentsūji, responsible for the defense of Shikoku.
* 15th Brigade, in Naha, responsible for the defense of Okinawa Prefecture
* Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki; amphibious force equipped to deploy from ships, where needed.
JGSDF divisions and brigades are combined arms units with infantry, armored, and artillery units, combat support units and logistical support units. They are regionally independent and permanent entities. The divisions strength varies from 6,000 to 9,000 personnel. The brigades are smaller with 3,000 to 4,000 personnel.
The JGSDF currently has 9 combat support brigades:
* 1st Artillery Brigade, at Camp Kita Chitose in Chitose, Hokkaido Prefecture
*1st Helicopter Brigade, at Camp Kisarazu in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture
* 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade, at Camp Higashi in Chitose, Hokkaido Prefecture
* 2nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade, at Camp Iizuka in Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture
* 1st Engineer Brigade, at Camp Koga in Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture
* 2nd Engineer Brigade, at Camp Funaoka in Shibata, Miyagi Prefecture
* 3rd Engineer Brigade, at Camp Eniwa in Eniwa, Hokkaidō Prefecture
* 4th Engineer Brigade, at Camp Okubo in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
* 5th Engineer Brigade, at Camp Ogōri in Ogōri, Fukuoka Prefecture
*Other Units and Organizations
**Material Control Command
**Ground Research & Development Command
**Military Intelligence Command
**Ground Staff College
**Ground Officer Candidate School
**Special Forces Group
JGSDF Central Army headquarters in Itami, Japan
Warrant Officer & Enlisted（准尉および曹士）
*Japan Self-Defense Forces
*Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group
*Military ranks and insignia of the Japan Self-Defense Forces
*Ministry of Defense (Japan)
*''Maritime Operational Transport'' concept (Japan)
*List of equipment of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Globalsecurity.org JGSDF section
*ttps://web.archive.org/web/20120820045955/http://www.mod.go.jp/gsdf/equipment/air/index.html Number of Major Aircraft and Performance Specificationsbr>Guided Missile Specifications