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The Japanese Self-Defense Force: Its Role and 
Mission in The Post-Cold War Period
CSC 1995
SUBJECT AREA - Foreign Policy
Title: The Japanese Self-Defense Force: Its Role and 
Mission in The Post-Cold War Period 
Author: Captain Kaneepol Songjaroen, Royal Thai Marine Corps 
Thesis: Is the Japanese Self-Defense Force's buildup plan 
and increasing participation in United Nations peacekeeping 
activities in consonance with Japan's peace constitution, 
U.S.-Japan security agreements, and international 
Background: Through an investigation of historical 
background, political and economic considerations, and the 
influence of such things as the collapse of the former 
Soviet Union, this paper discusses the reasons for increased 
Japanese interest in UN peacekeeping operations and the 
concomitant increase in the size and scope of the Japanese 
Self-Defense Force (SDF). Pacific Rim security issues are 
of vital concern as the region embarks upon an unprecedented 
rate of economic and demographic development. Thailand, as 
well as other Asian nations, foresee future problems if this 
issue is not presently addressed. As the economic power of 
Asia, Japan has rights and responsibilities that can no 
longer be ignored or placed totally on the shoulders of 
other nations. The hurdles for Japan to overcome are 
significant; their peace constitutional limitations, the 
internal political struggle over the issue, and the 
surviving generation whose vivid memories of Imperial Japan 
invoke fear and distrust. 
Recommendation: The regional stability surrounding Japan 
and the attendant military situation remains quite 
complicated. There remain diverse problems, including the 
divided Korean Peninsula, the disputed sovereignty of the 
Spratly Islands and Japan's Northern Territories. 
Therefore, the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangement remains an 
important element in maintaining security in East Asia. 
	Currently, U.S.-Japan treaties and its constitution 
have limited Japan to a minimal operational capability; 
therefore, Japan must revise its constitution in order to 
substantially participate in the enforcement of global legal 
statutes. It is not only helping to maintain world peace 
but also stabilizing their own national defense that 
justifies strengthening the military and modernizing 
	With the passage of time and the steady decline of 
victims and veterans of World War IT, Japan's military may 
be able to escape the specter of its past. In turn, Japan 
must proceed slowly, informing the world at every step of 
its peaceful intentions. 
INTRODUCTION                                          l 
Chapter 								Page 
The Post-Cold War Era, lO 
Economic Considerations, 14 
Political Considerations, l6 
People, l6 
Government Attitudes, l9 
Treaties, 22 
Political Philosophies, 26 
Mainstream, 26 
Nationalist, 27 
Pacifist, 28
Threats, Risks and Influence on Japan's 
Defense Posture, 33 
Changing Geo-Political Threats to Japan, 34 
Japan's Basic Security Needs, 4O 
Defense Policy of Japan, 42 
Current Force Structure and Buildup 
Program, 43 
Future Forces, 46 
Past Involvement, 49 
Constraints, 5O 
Future Involvement, 5l
5. CONCLUSIONS							54 
Endnotes 								57 
Bibliography 							6O 
A. Japan's Public Opinion Regarding the SDF		A-1 
B. Changes in Japan's Buildup Programs			B-1 
C. Changes in Composition of Defense Expenditures 	C-1 
D. Military Postures in and around Japan			D-l 
Appendixes, continued 
E. Military Postures in Southeast Asia			E-l 
F. Comparison of Defense Expenditure in Major 
Countries								F-1
G. Major Systems and Equipment of Japan on which 
Development Completed						G-l 
H. Major Systems and Equipment of Japan Currently 
under Development							H-1
I. Contents of Assignments SDF Members Conduct for 
International Peace Cooperation Assignments		I-1
J. Expenses for Major Equipment Items in FYl994		J-l 
K. Japan's Major Equipment to be Acquisitioned 
or Procured in FYl994						K-1 
The memory of Imperial Japan's assault on its Asian 
neighbor during World War II is still painfully clear. The 
atrocities committed by those dedicated to establishing the 
"East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" created a long standing and 
deep-seated distrust of Japan which encompasses a whole 
generation. Japan's relentless pursuit of resources from 
its neighbors during the war is one memory that stirs 
powerful emotions when coupled with the incredible economic 
development of Japan since World War II. Japan seems to be 
caught on the horns of a dilemma - that is, if it gets in- 
volved in world affairs even in such operations as peace 
keeping, they will have to contend with the negative image 
that a new Imperial Japan is rising. Conversely, as a world 
economic power, remaining uninvolved creates yet another 
unfavorable image of selfishness and isolation from the 
community of nations. 
Through an investigation of historical background, 
political and economic considerations, and the influence of 
such things as the collapse of the former Soviet Union, this 
paper will highlight the reasons for the increased Japanese 
interest in U.N. peacekeeping operations and the concomitant 
increase in the size and scope of the Japanese Self-Defense 
Force (SDF). 
How Japan handles this increased military presence and 
development is critical to not only stability in Asia, but 
to the world economic community as well. A misstep creating 
the impression of a new imperialistic Japan could easily 
lead to economic sanctions due to Japan's closed domestic 
market, or worse yet, economic warfare. Some critics say 
that this economic warfare has already begun -- that Japan 
is now economically imperialistic vice militarily. 
To the student of military studies, this issue brings 
in many of the works of such notables as Clausewitz and 
Paul Kennedy. Likewise, the issue is not only of keen 
interest to the Asian reader, but also the American due to 
the meshing of the United States and Japan via security 
First of all, Japan must solve the dilemma internally 
first with regard to its Constitution, laws and public 
opinion. In order to understand whatever action they may 
take, it is important for us to understand what is behind 
This thesis will discuss the current build-up plan of 
the JSDF and its participation in U.N. peacekeeping activi- 
ties. Of primary concern is whether or not these actions 
are in consonance with the Japanese Constitution and the 
U.S./Japan Mutual Security Agreement. If the Japanese 
deploy in support of the U.N., what will be the internation- 
al reaction to the increased range and depth of their 
Pacific Rim security issues are of vital concern as the 
region embarks upon an unprecedented rate of economic and 
demographic development. Thailand, as well as other Asian 
nations, foresee future problems if this issue is not ad 
dressed in the present. As the economic power of Asia, 
Japan has rights and responsibilities that can no longer be 
ignored or placed upon the shoulders of others. The road to 
defense self-reliance for Japan is a long and torturous one, 
but one which must be traveled -- even if it is one slow 
step at a time. 
The past, it seemed, did not die ..... but lived on 
beside the present, and sometimes perhaps, become the 
	John Galsworthy, A Modern Comedy
While Japan has a long historical and societal 
evolution, this chapter will focus on some interesting 
developments from immediately following World War II to the 
current Japanese involvement in the United Nations Peace 
keeping Forces. This historical treatment will provide a 
contextual framework to analyze attitudes and actions that 
have brought Japan to its current world status. 
At noon, l5 August l945, activity all over Japan came 
to a halt. The national anthem was played and for the first 
time in its history, the Emperor spoke to the people of 
The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel 
bomb. Should we continue to fight, it would not only 
result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the 
Japanese nation, but also would lead to the total 
extinction of human civilization. This is the reason 
why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of 
the Joint Declaration of the Powers. 
Let the entire nation continue as one family from 
generation to generation. Unite your total strength to 
be devoted to the construction of the future. Culti- 
vate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spir- 
it, and work with resolution that you may enhance the 
innate glory of the Imperial State and keep peace 
with the progress of the world."1
Many obvious facts about the episode lend credence to 
the bilateral rendition of Occupation history. Japan, no 
longer a sovereign nation after surrender, was not permitted 
representation in foreign capitals or membership in 
international organizations. All foreign relations -- 
governmental, business, and individual were conducted 
through the intermediary of Supreme Command of the Allied 
Powers (SCAP). Surveys of the Occupation generally 
emphasized the policy to seal off Japan from foreign contact 
and stress the minimal input of the Allied Powers in an 
almost exclusively American operation. Indeed the 
Occupation's positive achievements are commonly attributed 
to the audacity of a unitary command which neither sought 
nor tolerated international interference. The technical 
misnomer "American Occupation" raises few eyebrows and 
chronicles write blithely of Japan's "American interlude." 
Japan virtually became a surrogate colony of the United 
States, which gave it most of the advantages of colonial 
status, without the disadvantages. Just as the United 
States was once a colony of Great Britain, but is now the 
stronger of the two, Japan became a "colony" of the United 
States it may very well became the stronger of the two 
nations. Japan was given American defense protection, 
technology and markets, for which it paid little or nothing. 
Japanese leaders determined to rebuild from the ashes 
of defeat by concentrating exclusively on economic 
development, left Japan's defense to the American victor, to 
save money and to avoid rekindling fears among prospective 
customers about a resurgent military threat. 
Meanwhile, the international community took prompt 
action after the end of World War II and the United Nations 
began to reconstruct a security framework because of the 
failure of the League of Nations. 
A period of demilitarization and democratization 
followed in Japan (l945-47). Under the direction of General 
Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied 
Powers (SCAP), Japan's Army and Navy Ministries were 
abolished, munitions and military equipment were destroyed, 
and war industries were converted to civilian uses. State 
Shinto was disestablished, and on l January l94E, Emperor 
Hirohito repudiated his divinity. MacArthur pushed the 
government to amend the l889 Meiji Constitution, and on 3 
May l947, the New Japanese constitution (MacArthur 
Constitution) came into force.  Constitution is the 
reintroduction of Western-style liberalism, the emergence of 
a stable parliamentary system under the dominance of the 
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). This Constitution includes 
the following distinctive features: the purely symbolic 
role of the emperor, the prominence of guarantees of civil 
and human rights, and the renunciation of war. 
The Article 9 of the Constitution, the "No War Clause", 
contains two paragraphs. The first states that the Japanese 
people "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the 
nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling 
international disputes". The second is that "land, sea, and 
air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be 
maintained".4  Article 9 has had broad implications for 
foreign policy, the institution of judicial review as 
exercised by the Supreme Court, the status of the Self- 
Defense forces, and the nature and tactics of opposition 
politics. This Article has remained an important brake on 
the growth of Japan's military capabilities. 
The Post-World War II period can be summarized as 
- Serious efforts were made between the United States 
and Japan to formulate a security framework. The postwar 
period has seen the United States and Japan sign three major 
defense treaties, in l95l, l954 and l96O. These have all 
tied Japan closer to the Western camp, committed the United 
States to the defense of Japan and allowed the Japanese to 
minimize defense spending. Additionally, it allowed for the 
basing of American troops on Japanese soil and for the rent 
to be paid to the Japanese government. The pact determined 
that American land, sea and air forces could be stationed 
"in and about Japan" to safeguard "international peace and 
security in the Far East", help protect Japan "against armed 
attack from without" and help, "at the express request of 
the Japanese Government", to put down "large-scale internal 
riots and disturbances in Japan, caused through instigation 
or intervention by an outside power or powers". 
- Japan was hit by severe economic crises accompanied 
by relentless inflation. With militarization in the l93Os 
Japan had become a controlled economy. As the war 
progressed, disastrously, the regulatory system was 
tightened. By its end the Japanese government minutely 
controlled all economic activities through a comprehensive 
system of material and fuel allocation, product and food 
rationing, production quotas, supplies contracts, financial 
directives, price controls, wage controls, and labor 
conscription. At the end of war, the Japanese economy 
suffered virtually total breakdown: Industrial output 
dropped sharply, inflation accelerated, unemployment 
remained low, but only because the unemployed received no 
relief from their plight. Everyone eked out a living in 
whatever way they could, or lived off whatever real or 
financial assets they retained. The unemployed returned to 
the countryside, and others actively participated in the 
black market, trading in whatever they could. 
- National boundaries were redrawn, giving birth of a 
number of new and independent states such as India, declared 
independent from the Great Britain in l947, Indonesia 
declared independent from the Dutch on l7 August l945, 
Vietnam proclaimed its independence from France in l954, and 
East and West Germany divided into a communist eastern half 
and a capitalist western half in l95O, etc.. 
The seeds for the next era were sown, germinated, and 
took root in the immediate postwar period. The quality of 
the "seeds" depended in both cases on how the vanquished 
were treated, and how the newly rising powers were 
accommodated. The salient difference between post-World War 
I and post-World War II periods was the hostile relationship 
between China and the Soviet Union that developed soon after 
the war and the way they the principal alliances among the 
Western states stayed in force. 
The beginning of the Cold War is traced to the Truman 
Doctrine declared in March l947. In fact, the actual 
process by which the Cold War developed was punctuated by 
such events as the sealing of Berlin by the Soviets (l94B), 
the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
(NATO), and finally, the outbreak of the Korean War in June 
l95O, which decisively defined the structure of the Cold 
War. Both Germany and Japan became economic superpowers and 
reliable principal allies of the Western camp in this 
period. The l952 ratification of the Japan-United States 
Mutual Security Assistance Pact also ensured a strong 
defense for Japan and a large postwar role for the U.S. in 
Asia; however, the world community failed to find a way to 
accommodate the Soviet Union. 
In l954, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces were estab-
lished. Japan's biggest postwar political crisis took place 
in l96O. As the new treaty of Mutual Cooperation and 
Security was concluded, which renewed the United States role 
as military protector of Japan, massive street protests and 
political upheaval occurred, and the Cabinet resigned a 
month after the Diet's ratification of the treaty.5 
After World War II, the people of the Japan devoted 
themselves to the reconstruction of the national economy. 
The role and view of the military changed from imperialistic 
to that of peacekeeper. These efforts, as well as the 
assistance from the international community, enabled Japan 
to become an economic power. In accordance with its 
economic growth, Japan has made substantial contributions to 
the international community, primarily in the field of 
financial cooperation efforts such as development 
The Post-Cold War Era 
The Persian Gulf Crisis, triggered by Iraq's invasion 
of Kuwait in August l99O, posed a challenge to the 
international community. It responded by adopting a United 
Nations Security Council Resolution, forming multinational 
forces, providing international support for the costs of 
operations and taking other unprecedented measures of 
cooperation under the authority of the United Nations. 
Although Japan contributed a total of $l3 billion to these 
collective operations by the international community, it was 
criticized because its cooperation did not include personnel 
This criticism is the embodiment of the Japanese Self- 
Defense Forces dilemma -- if they build up, they are fearful 
of the imperialistic perception, if they don't participate, 
they are fearful of being viewed as self-centered. 
Through these experiences, Japan became keenly aware of 
the need not merely to implement financial and material 
cooperation, but also to conduct effective manpower support 
in times of crisis.
Against this background, Japan enacted the 
International Peace Cooperation Law in June l992, following 
a long domestic debate, with discussions centered in the 
Diet, over how to assume its international responsibility 
through personnel contributions. While Japan had a already 
participated in United Nations Peacekeeping activities 
through the dispatch of election supervisors to the United 
Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, the 
enactment of the International Peace Cooperation Law enabled 
Japan to establish a domestic framework to provide manpower 
contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations and 
humanitarian international relief operations on a full 
fledged scale. 
In summary, Japan's recent history is an important 
factor in not only its constitution, but the structure and
missions of the SDF as well. This historical influence, 
coupled with political and economic aspects, will directly 
affect any decisions regarding U.N peacekeeping 
participation or SDF restructuring efforts. 
The economy of a country is the foundation of its 
military power and the military is the foundation of 
economic power, a mutually supporting relationship. 
The classical theorists such as Adam Smith and the 
senior statesman of nineteenth-century mercantilism, 
Friedrich List, had believed that the economic foundation of 
military power, strong armies and national survival depended 
on national wealth: 
War or the very possibility of war makes the 
establishment of a manufacturing power an indispensable 
requirement for a nation of the first rank. Power is 
more important than wealth...because the reverse of 
power-namely feebleness-leads to the relinquishment of 
all that we possess, not of acquired wealth alone, but 
of our powers of production, of our civilization, of 
our freedom, nay, even of our national independence, 
into the hands of those who surpass us in might.6 
War in the late twentieth century has become as much 
financial as technological. The military is expensive to 
maintain, and only rich and productive nations can defend 
themselves in modern times. Japanese practices make clear 
that collective benefits and national security can be 
derived from the economy as well as from the development of 
This chapter will discuss the various political and 
economic considerations which influence the future use of 
the SDF in other than traditional UN support roles and the 
associated SDF structure with which to accomplish those 
Economic Considerations 
Japan was the first Asian industrialized country since 
Tokugawa-Meiji transition, in the mid-nineteenth century. 
Since Japan first opened the country to Western commerce and 
influence until now, it has exposed the Japanese to Western 
ideas and influence, experienced revolutionary social, 
political, and economic changes, and become a world power 
with carefully developed spheres of influence. 
In the l99Os, Japan had the world's second largest 
gross national product. During the l98Os, Japan became a 
financial center, the world's largest stock exchange and a 
world leader in technological research and production. 
Imports and exports totalled the equivalent of US$ 4S2 
billion in l988. 
The Japanese government encouraged economic change by 
fostering a national revolution by planning and advising in 
every aspect of society such as: initiating new industries, 
cushioning the effects of economic depression, creating a 
sound economic infrastructure, and protecting the living 
standards of each citizen. The Japanese attitude towards 
government was that the nation, as a family, allowed 
government to influence business, and businesses worked hard 
not only for their own profits, but also for national well 
being. Thus, the relationship between government and 
business was as collaborators rather than as mutually 
suspicious adversaries. The national goal each time was to 
make Japan so powerful and wealthy that its independence 
would never again be threatened. Japan became the world's 
largest creditor, while the United States was becoming a 
debtor nation. Japan's financial institutions rapidly 
expanded their international activities since the l97Os, and 
they were major international players by the end of the 
l98Os. Japan's financial and banking industries grew at 
unprecedented rates. In l988, the nine largest banks in the 
world, measured by total assets, were Japanese banks. These 
banks became engaged in new activities, such as underwriting 
Euro-Yen bond issues. The investment houses also increased 
overseas activities, especially participating in the United 
States Treasury Bond market (25-3O percent of each new issue 
was purchased by Japanese investors in the late l98Os) 
Besides these private institutions, there were a number of 
government-owned financial institutions; the Japan 
International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Overseas 
Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), and the Japan Export 
Import Bank (Exim Bank). Of these, the Exim Bank was the 
only one with an international focus. The Exim Bank 
provides financing for trade between Japan and developing 
countries. These made Japan a more important international 
financial power. 
Japan is a member of the United Nations (UN), 
International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic 
Cooperation and Development (OECD), and General Agreement on 
Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As Japan became a greater 
international financial power, its roles in financing these 
trade and development institutions grew. Previously, the 
government had been a very quiet participant in those 
organizations, but as its financial role increased, pressure 
to expand voting rights and play a more active policy role 
Political Considerations 
People Japanese national character is reflected in 
that individual Japanese males often describe themselves 
with such terms as egotistic, emotional, introspective, 
illogical, hypochondriac, stoical, preserving, disciplined, 
conformist, diligent, respectful, loyal, honest, polite and 
unbelievably rigid about the requirements of various kinds 
of duties, but as less interested in the letter of written 
agreement than its emotional connotation and context, very 
anxious to avoid stark confrontations and uncertainty in 
almost all situations, and finally as having a realistic 
ability to learn, always being interested in self- or 
People are the most important resource. The Japanese 
government has foreseen this and inculcated nationalism in 
its people. By l99l, all eight approved Japanese elementary 
school social studies textbooks contained references to 
Admiral Togo, the first mention of him in post war texts.8 
Among the troubling developments of recent years are 
the rebirth of popular veneration for the emperor, seen 
during the ascension of Emperor Akihito, and an increase in 
authoritarianism. For example, on l July l99l, the Japanese 
government officially reestablished the Hinomaru -- symbol 
of the red sun on the white background -- as its national 
flag and approved the imperial hymn  Ga Yo'  its 
national anthem, both had been banned since World War II. 
Additionally, there is the rise of State Shinto -- the 
erosion of the post war legal principle of the separation of 
state and religion -- in worship by Cabinet ministers at 
Yasukuni Shrine. The public funding of Shinto rituals in 
Akihito's accession ceremonies cannot be ignored, and now 
the Japanese politicians are trying to find a way to 
coordinate the defense policies and strategies with these 
civilian developments. 
These nationalistic movements and events have fueled 
the fears of those who remember Imperial Japan. The return 
of the  nationalistic songs, flag and pride in their 
past military history are considerably unnerving to the many 
veterans, both Japanese and Allied, of World War II. While 
the world does not expect Japan to ignore its history or not 
foster national pride, a return to the image- and emotion- 
laden symbols of Imperial Japan does little to create a 
sense of confidence among those who remember the war. 
The national defense can only be carried out 
effectively with the understanding and cooperation of the 
nation's citizens. Japan has a constant interest in 
public's awareness of defense-related matters and is making 
efforts to ensure that Japan's national defense posture 
stands on a wide and firm base of public support. A public 
survey has been conducted every three years since l972. The 
results of the last survey can be summarized as following:9 
Interest in the SDF and Defense Issues : Over half of 
the respondents indicated "some level of interest" in such 
issues for the past lO years, despite the fact that Japan 
shares no common land border with other countries and the 
Japanese have enjoyed steady peace and prosperity since the 
end of World War II. 
Impression of SDF : Most of respondents, 76 percent, 
are neutral or have a favorable impression. These results 
are likely due to the broad awareness and appreciation of 
the public regarding the SDF. 
Role of the SDF : Nearly one-half of all respondents 
indicated the opinion that the primary purpose for the 
existence of the SDF is "ensuring the national security". 
National Defense Structure : 7O percent of respondents 
acknowledged the current structure, and 60 percent indicated 
satisfaction with the current size of defense forces. This 
means that Japan's basic national defense policies, 
including the structure that combined the SDF and the Japan- 
U.S. security arrangements, along with the current defense 
efforts, are generally understood and supported by the 
In response to the International Contribution Question, 
most of respondents indicated that they "approve" of 
overseas dispatch of the SDF for disaster relief activities 
and United Nations peacekeeping operations. 
Government Attitudes 
Since l94Os, there has been a clear perception in the 
Japanese government that; 
- the building of a viable and then a competitive 
industrial economy and a stable, effective political system 
have been the primary objectives of national policy. 
- the achievement of these goals is very heavily 
contingent on foreign policy -- meaning avoiding war or 
relying on the U.S. "shield." 
- the security and economic dimensions of foreign 
policy are inextricably linked since Japan's economic power 
provides a large proportion of its security. 
It has been clear since early in the modernization 
process that the success of Japan's industrialization would 
depend on access to overseas raw materials and markets. The 
particular lesson of World War II is that Japan cannot 
achieve this necessary access to the world economy by the 
use of military force. The Japanese concluded that they 
must avoid as much as possible any military role in 
international politics, and they must rely on peaceful, non 
military means to build their economy and to make a decent 
life for themselves.10 
By the late 1940s and early 1950s, Japan's conservative
government concluded that the best foreign policy (the 
Yoshida policy) for Japan was to become an ally of the 
United States, and to base Japan's economic future on the 
relatively free, open international economic system that the 
United States was constructing. Cooperative economic 
relations with the United States itself would be a large 
source of raw materials and a major market for Japanese 
manufactured products. This policy had been rooted in the 
belief that the alliance with the United States would 
protect Japan against the Communist (Soviet) threat to its 
military security and political stability. In the l95Os, 
Japan was able to reconstruct its economy and become a 
highly efficient industrial country. Thus, this means of 
"economic foreign policy" was very successful. 
By the end of l98Os, the world environment changed, as 
Japan had become the world largest creditor and the second 
largest donor of foreign aid. The Yoshida policy was being 
called into question by, first, the diminishing of Soviet 
threat, and, second, Japan's success in building 
a competitive, industrial economy. Its economy was 
generating potentially dangerous levels of resentment, fear 
and antagonism toward Japan in the United States. The 
United States government began moving toward protectionist 
economic policies directed against Japan. Significantly, at 
the same time Japan took on a larger role in the 
international community to a level commensurate with its 
economic power. 
By l99O, Japan's foreign policy still supported close 
ties with the United States. However, Japanese leaders were 
well aware of strong American frustrations with Japanese 
economic practices and Japan's strong economic power 
relative to the United States in the world markets. Although 
the United States was working with the Japanese to find the 
new concept framework for Japan-United States relations, the 
view is far from clear. Some optimistically predicted that 
the United States and Japan would work together as truly 
equal partners in dealing with global problems. Some 
pessimists predicted that negative feeling generated by the 
realignment in United States and Japanese economic power and 
persistent trade frictions would prompt Japan to strike out 
more on its own, without guidance of the United States. 
Given the growing economic dominance of Japan in Asia, Japan 
was seen as most likely to strike out independently and 
translate its economic power into political and, perhaps, 
military influence. 
The security framework for the defense of a recently 
disarmed Japan was developed over the post-war period of 
l945-l95l, culminating with the signing of a formal security 
treaty with the United States on 8 September l95l in San 
Francisco.11 On the coming into force of that Treaty, 
Japan did not have the effective means to exercise its 
inherent right of self-defense because it had been disarmed. 
There was danger to Japan in this situation because 
irresponsible militarism has not yet been driven from the 
world. Therefore, Japan desired that a security treaty with 
the United States of America to come into force 
simultaneously with the Treaty of Peace between the United 
States of America and Japan. This treaty attached weight to 
the U.S. military's right to be stationed in Japan. Japan 
was now essentially a dependent ally of the United States, 
which continued to maintain bases and military on Japanese 
Second came the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security 
between the United States and Japan, signed at Washington,
D.C. on l9 January l96O. This treaty was to strengthen the 
bonds of peace and friendship existing between the two 
nations. It also upheld the principles of democracy of the 
government, individual liberty and the rule of law. Japan 
needed to reaffirm its faith in the purposes and principles 
of the Charter of the United Nations, and Japan's desire to 
live in peace with all peoples and all governments. 
Furthermore, the Treaty underlined the U.S. and Japanese 
common concern in the maintenance of international peace and 
security in the Far-East, having resolved to conclude a 
treaty of mutual cooperation and security. 
Twenty five years after the atomic bombs at Hiroshima 
and Nagasaki, the Government of Japan became convinced that 
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty would serve 
as a first step toward nuclear disarmament and hopes that as 
many states as possible will adhere to this treaty to make 
it effective. Therefore, on 3 February l97O, the Government 
of Japan signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of 
Nuclear Weapons.l2 
While Japan's policy of against the acquisition of 
nuclear weapons enjoyed the support of most political 
parties, there seems to be some action to the contrary. For 
example, Japan's Foreign Ministry seems to now favor nuclear 
weapons. Last June, the ministry prepared a document for 
the then-coalition government to send to the World Court 
stating that the use of nuclear weapons in war was not 
necessarily illegal.13 It seems as if the tragic events of 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are no longer enough. Other evidence 
indicating a possible attitude shift in the Japanese 
regarding nuclear weapons is the abnormally high quantity of 
stockpiled plutonium, which they extract from spent civilian 
power fuel. The approximately ll million metric tons 
accumulated by the end of l993 greatly exceeded Japan's 
capacity to use them as reactor fuel in the near future. 
Some consider these attitude shifts and suspicious actions 
as justification for requiring Japan to restate its policy 
towards nuclear weapons. 
In international society today, Japan needs to make an 
effort in many ways to pursue the establishment of a more 
stable world order. It is also very important to establish 
foundations for national security by stabilizing domestic 
affairs, implementing appropriate domestic policies, 
encouraging people to defend their own country, and 
preventing the development of a domestic situation that 
allows the country to be subjected to aggression. In 
accordance with the MacArthur Japanese Constitution and 
Mutual Cooperation and Security Agreement, the JSDF has 
limited operational capabilities. 
Opinions regarding the security treaty with the United 
States fall into "pro-continuity" or "pro-change" camps. 
The pro-continuity group argues that the treaty is still 
important in the post-Cold War era, precisely because nobody 
is sure of the threats posed in the near- to mid-term 
future. The latter group argues that the treaty served its 
purpose of protecting Japan, while at the same time making 
it unnecessary for Japan to acquire a large military 
arsenal. In their view, it is unnecessary for Japan to 
acquire a large military arsenal or develop nuclear weapons; 
the treaty is no longer needed because Russia is not the 
threat that the former Soviet Union was. However, the 
common concern shared by both camps is that Japan lacks a 
comprehensive new national security strategy to deal with 
the post-Cold War environment, and that, US security 
alliance or not, Japan must build such a strategy. 
Fifty years later, the Japanese government still 
heavily relies on the United States government to defend 
their country. Currently, the Japanese are ranked number 
two in the world for their economy and they are ready to 
share greater responsibility of world peace and national 
security but are unable to assume the roles and missions 
because of the US Treaties and Japanese Constitution. The 
United States is not wealthy enough, nor has the desire, to 
act as global ring master and policeman. Regional 
institutions as we have seen in Europe, the America, Africa, 
are weak and not sufficiently well developed to assume major 
responsibility.14 The only way to regulate the new policy, 
is that the Japanese government must convince all political 
parties, business communities, and government bureaucracy 
(Mainstreamers, Nationalists and Pacifists) to have the same 
approach and that the Japanese can defend their nation while 
supporting the United Nation's mission to make our world a 
better place. 
Political Philosophies 
The difference of Japanese politics can be viewed from 
several angles: as debates among the government bureaucracy, 
political parties, the big-business community, and the 
relatively voiceless masses, and as debates among those 
whose political philosophies could be called "mainstream," 
"nationalist," and "pacifist".l5 
Mainstream - Within the government, mainstream thought 
characterizes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the 
Defense Agency (DA), the SDF, and the ruling Liberal 
Democratic Party. It supports the maintenance of the U.S.- 
Japan Security Agreement, and, to keep U.S. forces in Japan, 
this group is willing for Japan to carry more of the 
financial burden of the alliances. The other side of the 
coin is that it does not favor expanding Japan's defense 
forces in the near term. 
The mainstreamers value the alliance with the U.S. not 
necessarily out of admiration or respect for the United 
States, but out of political calculation of what is best for 
Japan. They see that Japan must need the U.S. security 
"umbrella" for the indefinite future for at least two 
reasons; first, because other nations' historic perception 
of Japan as a potential aggressor in Asia restricts Japan's 
rearmament options and, second, because without American 
support the nationalists might seize the opportunity to 
remilitarize Japan. A Liberal Democratic Party study group, 
chaired after the Gulf War in February l992, suggested that 
Japan's peace constitution be reinterpreted as advocating 
and "active" form of pacifism that would be consistent with 
Japan's use of force in international peacekeeping 
operations. However, the report also concludes that Japan 
should only assume this active role in the international 
community because other countries have asked it do so. 
Nationalist - Although the nationalists are not 
affiliated with any significant institutional foundations or 
political parties, they are scattered as influential 
individuals throughout Japanese society. Nationalists see 
the post-Cold War era as a non-polar world in which Japan 
must be ready to defend itself without relying on the United 
States, and the first task for doing so should be to revise 
the Constitution, which prohibits Japan from using force 
against other nations. Their reaction to the Gulf War 
differ from those of the mainstreamers: they objected to 
Japan's effort to gain international respect through 
financial contributions to the war. They felt the monetary 
option was foolish and, instead, military troops should have 
gone into combat with UN forces. The blind submission to 
pay $l3 billion for the Gulf War only served to demonstrate 
that Japan is an uncritical follower of misguided "American 
The nationalists' autonomous defense and foreign policy 
orientation implies that Japan either withdraw from the 
U.S.-Japan security alliance or insist on equal partnership. 
However, they do not clearly spell out what Japan's defense 
posture should be, especially in regard to nuclear weapons. 
 Pacifist - The views of Japan's pacifists on rearmament 
have prevailed since the end of World War II; they have been 
groomed largely within the academic community and the 
Socialist Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ). Japanese 
academics, especially economists, are predominantly 
socialists, the Marxist tradition having taken root in the 
early part of this century. Although Japanese government 
and business leaders claim that university professors do not 
have a strong popular influence, Japan's academics -- far 
more than their American counterparts -- enjoy the respect 
of the public in accordance with the Confucian tradition of 
"revering the literati and despising the military." 
Pacifists have traditionally asserted that Japan make 
its contribution to world peace in an age of collective UN 
leadership by terminating its security agreement with the 
United States, supporting the United Nations as a global, 
nonmilitary force for peace, maintaining the Japanese peace 
constitution, and reducing Japan's military capabilities. 
Of particular note is that many of the less radical pacifist 
views are widely held by the electorate, especially by 
women.15 Instead of sending troops into combat, the 
pacifists believe that Japan has to remain a peaceful power 
and convince its neighbors that it is not a future military 
threat. Since the l96O's, when the pacifists were most 
active, public sympathy for their more extreme views was 
dwindling. The SDPJ was been unsuccessful in rejuvenating 
the l96O's anti-security treaty sentiment, and in a February 
l993 interview with Mainichi Shimbun, SDPJ Chairman Sadao 
Yamahana admitted that in order to get more votes, the SDPJ 
must get more realistic and less idealistic.16 This would 
happen very soon. 
Developments in l993-94, have seen a dramatic change in 
political Japan. Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 
"mover-and-shaker" Ichiro Ozawa, catalyzed change by 
engineering events that brought Morihiro Hosokawa to power, 
ending the LDP's 38-year-old iron grip on government. 
However, last June, when Hosokawa's successor Tsutomu Hatta 
was forced to resign after only 59 days in office, the LDP 
regained power by forming a coalition with their traditional 
opponents, the SDPJ, led by Tomiichi Murayama.17 
The dramatic changes continued even within the SDPJ, as 
it attempted to make itself more relevant. For example, as 
Prime Minister, Murayama jettisoned pacifist policies by 
accepting the constitutionality of the SDF, the legitimacy 
of the l96O U.S.-Japan Treaty of Cooperation and Security, 
and even endorsed "Kimi Ga Yo" as the national anthem! 
Basically, the SDPJ still clings to some of its pacifist 
ideology such as Article 9 of the constitution, but has 
given its support to fullest possible involvement in non- 
combat peacekeeping roles under U.N. auspices.18 
In summary of the economic and political considerations 
regarding Japan's increased involvement in international 
peacekeeping missions and the concomitant structural changes 
in the SDF, it can be safely said that the economic might of 
Japan will continue to invite pressure from the world 
community to "do more" in support of stability for many 
years to come. The three dominant political philosophies -- 
mainstream, nationalist and pacifist -- will be engaged in a 
three-way tug-of-war for control over the size and 
composition of the SDF. While the "mainstreamers" have been 
in control for some time, the nationalist movement is 
gaining some momentum. The pacifist movement, as mentioned 
above, has essentially adapted its philosophy to be more 
relevant. Perhaps all three will adapt to the point of 
becoming a homogeneous political philosophy. In the 
meantime, what will keep all three political camps in check 
is the presence of the World War II generation of Japanese 
that vividly remember the pain and international castigation 
from the war. Over the course of the next twenty years, as 
this generation dies off, the well-spring of nationalism may 
spring forth unchecked by those who remember. A number of 
factors can lead to a resurgence in nationalism within 
Japan: the fading of memories both inside and external to 
Japan regarding World War II; the children of today continue 
to be influenced by their history and recent nationalistic 
initiatives like the Hinomaru; and if the Japanese continue 
to view the United States commitment to their security with 
skepticism. These factors will contribute to a swaying of 
the peace constitution revision pendulum towards a greater 
Japanese role and a restructured SDF to support it; however, 
because of the continued presence of the World War II 
generation, this expansion in the SDF role will most likely 
not be achieved until 2OlO or longer. 
We must consult our means rather than our wishes, and 
not endeavor to better our affairs by attempting things 
which, for want of success, may make them worse. 
- George Washington to Lafayette, l78O, 
The end of the Cold War has raised questions over the 
future of the security relationship between the United 
States and Japan and the direction of Japan's defense 
buildup. With the second-largest economy in the world and 
steady technological advances, Japan possesses the financial 
and technological ability to transform itself into a 
military power. This chapter will discuss some of the 
threats which compel Japan to maintain a strong defense 
program, its current status, and plans for the future. 
Various local confrontations due to religious or ethnic 
discord in many parts of the world, which had been contained 
under the East-West confrontation, have come to the surface 
or intensified, heightening the likelihood that regional 
conflicts (for example the Spratly Islands, Korea, etc.) may 
occur or expand. In addition, transfer or proliferation of 
weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms, are 
feared in the international community as they can aggravate 
regional conflicts. The military situation thus remains 
unstable and uncertain and under such circumstances, the 
United Nations is expected to perform its function more than 
before in keeping peace and security in the world.19 
Threats, Risks and Influence on Japan's Defense Posture 
The Japanese military establishment, as well as Japan's 
public-opinion leaders and policy makers, have accepted that 
the Cold War is over. While many of the implications of 
this change are still emerging, the chief priority of the 
new peacetime environment is for Japan to re-evaluate its 
security requirements in the absence of an apparent threat 
from the former Soviet Union. 
International security threats comprise a combination 
of aggressive intentions and military capabilities. Viewed 
from a long-term perspective, as most security policies are, 
the additional factor of predictability, especially 
predictability of intentions, becomes a third important 
variable to enter into the threat equation. The Japanese 
are perhaps more concerned about the unpredictability of 
their security environment than about the present intentions 
or military capabilities of their neighbors. 
Japan's l992 Defense White Paper identified the 
following problem areas in East Asia: the confrontation 
between North and South Korea, the multinational dispute 
over the Spratly Islands, and the unresolved conflict in 
Cambodia. On the other hand, the White Paper noted positive 
signs in the region; a continuing dialogue between North and 
South Korea, both of whom joined the United Nations; South 
Korea's announcement that it is free of nuclear weapons; 
North Korea's signing (but lack of fidelity to) of the Non 
Proliferation Treaty, and acceptance of nuclear inspections 
by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 
Additionally, China established relations with South Korea 
and Vietnam, and strengthened relations with Russia. North 
Korea was talking about opening up to the outside world, 
Vietnam had opened up, and a Cambodian peace agreement was 
It is not clear how the former Soviet Union's massive 
military forces in the Far East will develop in the process 
of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Significant 
movements toward arms proliferation have been seen in the 
Far East, constituting an unstable factor for the security 
of this region. 
Changing Geo-Political Threats to Japan 
The Russian Threat- Like most other Western nations, 
Japan is experiencing difficulty in adjusting to the changed 
security environment vis-a-vis the former Soviet Union. 
Russian analysts argue that Japan has "belittled the changes 
that Perestroika and the new thinking have brought to Soviet 
foreign policy". Japanese defense analysts point to the 
lack of force reductions in Russia's Far East Forces. The 
Japanese are also concerned about the sale by former Soviet 
republics of modern weapons to other nations, especially 
China, as well as the possibility of weapons-technology 
(especially nuclear technology) transfer, all in the new 
Russian spirit of free-wheeling capitalism. 
Ironically, it is not criticism of Russia's vast 
military establishment that has preoccupied the Japanese, 
but rather a relatively insignificant dispute involving the 
ownership of four small islands, the Kuriles, (which Japan 
designates as the Northern Territories), the closest of 
which is located only a few miles north of Hokkaido. The 
archipelago provides an eastern barrier to the entrance of 
the Sea of Okhotsk, from which Russian ships and submarines 
operate. The islands also have economic value in terms of 
fishing rights and mineral deposits. Russia is believed to 
have a brigade of troops supported by helicopters and MiG-23 
fighters stationed on the larger two islands of Kunashiri 
and Etorofu. 
The Soviet Union took the entire chain at the end of 
World War II. Japan has never recognized the legality of 
Russia's possession of the four southern islands, claiming 
they are not part of the Kurile group that Japan officially 
ceded to the Soviet Union in the l952 San Francisco Peace 
In the past (l956, l988, and l99O) the Soviet Union has 
offered to give Japan the islands (Shikotan and the Habomai 
group) in return for a peace treaty, but Japan has continued 
to insist on the return of all four islands. Various deals 
have been floated from both Tokyo and Moscow, involving the 
Japanese "purchase" of the islands for a large sum of money, 
or even some agreement whereby the islands might be occupied 
by Russia but owned by Japan. Russia is sensitive about 
setting a precedent of ceding territory to Japan, China, or 
another CIS republic. The island issue has thus stalemated 
Japanese-Russian relations. 
The Chinese Threat- With the exception of Russia, 
China is the strongest military capability in Asia. While 
China has kept military expenditures at a constant 
percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) since l99O, the 
robust growth of the Chinese economy has produced three 
consecutive years of higher military expenditures. For 
example, Japan estimates that the spending in l992 was l3 
percent over l99l. Among the recent additions to China's 
arsenal are Russian SU-27 fighters. The Chinese were even 
reported to be considering the purchase of a Ukrainian
aircraft carrier, although the deal does not seem to be 
going through. In July l994, the Shidian magazine reported 
that a number of Naval-Air force pilots with tens of 
thousands of hours flying experience were being trained in 
the Guangzhon Naval Vessel Institute. But without an 
aircraft carrier battle group, Chinese cannot effectively 
protect the so-called "Spratly National Marine Territory". 
Japan's relations with China have been relatively 
smooth. The Japanese continue to advocate the importance of 
opening up China economically, and this advocacy has most 
certainly been appreciated by Beijing. Except for the 
passage in l992 of China's Territorial Waters Act, by which 
China has laid claim not only to the Spratly Islands but 
also to Japan's Senkaku Island, China's present intentions 
toward Japan seem positive. 
In the future, it is plausible that China could come 
into conflict with other regional powers such as India or 
Japan. Both India and China consider themselves "great 
powers" and have expanded their ballistic missile arsenals 
and nuclear capabilities. The Chinese naval capability is 
beginning to protrude into the Bay of Bengal, and both 
countries are suspicious of the other. Essentially, China 
and India are too big, too close and too ambitious not to 
conflict with each other in the future.20 
The future intentions of China in regard to Hong Kong 
and Taiwan are unclear to Japan. Whether Hong Kong will be 
allowed to keep its democratic-capitalist system after l997 
has been questioned by Beijing. 
Like China, Taiwan's strong economy enables it to 
improve its defense capabilities. For example, it has 
purchased advanced fighter planes from the United States 
(l5O F-l6s) and France.21 The minority Democratic 
Progressive Party, which received a third of the votes in 
the December l992 election, has called for Taiwan's 
independence from mainland China, that is, a renunciation of 
its claim to be the legitimate government of China. Such a 
break is unlikely to come in the near future. If it did, it 
could conceivably trigger an armed conflict with the 
mainland. Such conflict at Japan's doorstep could easily 
have repercussions for Japan's security, especially if the 
United States should extend assistance to Taiwan, perhaps 
even from American bases in Japan. In fact, a number of 
Chinese strategists and security analysts identify the 
United States as the primary enemy in the post-Cold War era. 
For the United States, China today is an important 
actor in both international and regional environments. 
While it is in no sense a superpower, it has significant 
global capabilities with which it can influence the success 
of U.S. policies, and it has the potential to wield even 
greater influence in the future. It is a member of the UN 
Security Council with a veto, and can therefore frustrate 
or, at least strongly influence, any U.S. policy which 
requires a Security Council decision. 
As a self-proclaimed "Third World" state, increasingly 
successful in an economic and military sense, it has the 
ability to influence other Third World governments, either 
in support of, or in opposition to, U.S. global interests. 
Because it is one of the five acknowledged nuclear powers, 
China is central to restraining the spread of nuclear 
weapons and weapons technology.22 The verdict on China's 
performance in this area is not in - - especially regarding 
North Korea's mysterious "nuclear program". 
Lastly, China is an important exporter of arms which 
sells relatively sophisticated missiles to customers that 
the United States considers dangerous, including Iran, 
Syria, and Libya.23 
The Korean Peninsula Threat- Although both North and 
South Koreans have bitter memories of Japan's colonial 
aggression, the South Koreans have developed strong economic 
ties with the Japanese and have learned to work with them. 
Curiously, North Korea also has strong ties with Japan; 
an estimated 2OO,OOO North Koreans have lived in Japan since 
World War II. The Kim IL Sung regime had been courting 
Tokyo in pursuit of diplomatic recognition and a large 
wartime compensation package. Although the Japanese 
government is also eager to normalize relations in order to 
provide greater stability to the region, the normalization 
talks have made little progress over the failure of the 
North Koreans to agree to permit mutual North-South Korean 
nuclear inspections. 
Most worrisome to the Japanese is the possibility that 
North Korea could develop a nuclear weapon capable of being 
delivered to western Japan by its new Scud-C missile 
(NODONG). What purpose such an attack would serve is not 
obvious; however, given the somewhat reckless nature of 
North Korean military policy in the past-from launching the 
Korean War to attempting to assassinate the South Korean 
President-the possibility of such an attack is one reason 
why Japan is eager both for mutual North-South Korean 
inspections and for the establishment of normalization with 
the North Koreans. 
Southeast Asian "Threat" - Japan's relations with the 
Southeast Asian nations have improved greatly in the recent 
years, and Japanese investment has been pouring into the 
region. None of the nations in this region pose a security 
threat to Japan in the foreseeable future. 
In summary, while not all of the aforementioned geo- 
political threats pose imminent danger to Japan, they do 
present an enormous potential threat to regional stability 
and to Japan. The Japanese feel, rightfully so, that with 
two major nuclear powers in close proximity, total reliance 
on the U.S. security umbrella may be too little or too late. 
Japan's Basic Security Needs 
In view of the threats mentioned above, the grand 
strategy of Japan should aim at developing and effectively 
utilizing political, military, economic, and psychological 
forces for the purpose of attaining Japan's long term 
national goal of achieving regional stability. Japan's 
basic security strategy, rooted in mainstream philosophy, 
can be summarized into ten points:24 
l. Maintenance of the US-Japan Security Alliance and 
establishment of a regional multilateral collective 
security framework. In essence, including other 
friendly nations in the region into the U.S.-Japan 
security cooperative. Japan has to protect and 
stabilize its raw material sources and export markets. 
The important regions are the connecting Sea Lines of 
Communication (SLOC); the Indian Ocean, the Straits of 
Malacca, the South China Sea, and the East China Sea. 
By nature, this implies a large SDF. 
2. Contribution to strengthened international economic 
cooperation and economic policy coordination because 
Japan cannot survive if the international economy 
3. Implementation of assistance programs targeted at 
Russia and China. Russia still remains a mighty 
military power, while China is the newly rising power 
from the Cold War. The idea is to prevent problems and 
by encouraging stability. 
4. Participation in international activities aimed at 
the ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons and 
preparedness for nuclear accidents. 
5. Participation in international cooperation to 
prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass 
destruction, especially nuclear weapons. 
6. Positive participation in United Nations 
Peacekeeping Operations and the strengthening of UN 
functions. Especially, participation in UN-sponsored 
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in all areas for 
resolving regional conflicts. 
7. Participation in other international activities 
aimed at resolving non-military problems of global 
8. Focusing on the need to resolve the Korean North- 
South problem. 
9. Institutional preparation to become a major 
information power. Japan's economic and national 
security can be firmly built upon the foundation of a 
stable international interdependence. Japan can use 
its technology and economic power to carve a niche in 
the information market and create an "informational 
lO. Preparation of a self-defense capability with 
well-defined limits on equipment systems, operational 
ranges, and force structure. For example, by not 
acquiring offensive weapons. 
Defense Policy of Japan 
The Defense Policy Japan has pursued under the 
constitution is based on the "Basic Policy for National 
Defense", adopted by the National Defense Council and approved 
by the Cabinet in l957.25 Its main basic policy is as 
follows: making a contribution to world peace through the 
United Nations, consolidating of the foundations for national 
security through comprehensive policies, and gradually 
acquiring a moderate but effective capacity to defend Japan. 
In the same year, Japan's 1st Defense Buildup Plan (l958-l96l) 
was also introduced. 
The "National Defense Program Outline", adopted in l976, 
included Mid-term Defense Programs and was based on the 
following assumptions: 
l) major military clashes between East and West could be 
deterred by a balance of powers, including the nuclear powers, 
2) there could be limited armed conflict in vicinity of 
Japan, and 
3) any major military attack on Japan is unlikely so 
long as the Japan-U.S. security arrangement remains 
In the first part of the Defense Buildup plan, emphasis 
was laid on the defense of Japan in conjunction with U.S. 
force against external threats, particularly from the Soviet 
Union. That orientation explained the priority given to the 
defense of the main island and the Kuriles. However, 
because of their strong anti-nuclear policy at the time, 
Japan was insisted that U.S. forces on Japan or Okinawa be 
The internal security mission was played down until the 
massive demonstration and riots instigated by the Left to 
overthrow the government in its opposition to the l96O 
Security Treaty with U.S.. Since that time, internal 
security has been a high priority of the armed forces, 
especially the JSDFI and has been tackled with great 
The recent Mid-term Defense Program (l99l-l995) was 
adopted in l99O and has achieved the force structure level 
specified in the original Outline Program; however, there 
are still on-going efforts to rationalize and modernize the 
JSDF. 27
Current Force Structure and Buildup Program 
Japan's armed forces, as in "Article 9" of their 
constitution, preclude existence of offensive military 
forces. Japan's armed forces, totalling some 234,OOO 
personnel, are composed of:28 
- Five Armies 
- Five Maritime Districts 
- Three Air Defense Forces 
Main bases are in Hokkaido, eastern Honshu, central and 
western Honshu and Shikoku, and Kyushu. 
A revision of the Japanese Force structure which has 
been listed in the outline program is shown in Appendix 
A.29 The new force structure will probably mean a 
reduction in the numbers of personnel and equipment. This 
is the strong political requirement. Japan has no option 
but to reduce the size of its forces; to maintain quality, 
the JSDF must undergo restructuring to become efficient and 
capable. The restructured forces will have increased access 
to military technology, including the latest high-tech 
weapons and equipment. The restructured JSDF will also have 
improved intelligence, transport, and deployment 
Although there is a lot of political pressure in the 
West and Japan to realize a peace dividend from the end of 
the Cold War, there remains much uncertainty over security 
in Northeast Asia. It is unlikely that there will be a 
large-scale reduction in Japan's defense force because it 
has not yet reached a level comparable to that of the 
defense forces of other advanced industrial nations in the 
West. Japan's defense expenditures, in term of dollars, are 
very high (l.O percent of GNP), but more than 4O percent of 
this is attributable to personnel and provision expenses.30 
According to the latest edition of "Military Balance", 
issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies 
in the U.K., Japan, as of FY l994, ranked 7th in the world 
in annual defense expenditures after the United States, 
Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. 
Defense budget requests for l994 total 4,683.5 billion Yen, 
up O.9 percent from the previous fiscal year. The Defense 
budget for l993 is 4,64O.6 billion Yen, up l.95 percent.31 
In the future, defense budgets will be frozen at 
approximately this present level, although the budgets will 
be allocated so that some equipment can be modernized. 
The "Mid-Term Defense Program (FY l99l-l995)", MTDP, 
was adopted in December l99O and was revised in order to 
reflect changes in the domestic and international situation 
in l992. Under the revised MTDP, the Fiscal l994 defense 
expenditure has been restrained in consideration of the 
extremely serious fiscal situation and some other factors. 
The Japanese government reached the conclusion that there 
was a need to reflect such changes in defense buildup as 
soon as possible, and it revised the MTDP as follows:32 
(l) put off the implementation of some projects 
envisaged in the Program, and 
(2) strive to replace and modernize old equipment and 
to improve deficient capability. 
The results are that the growth rate in defense 
expenditure in l994 has been held around l percent. The FY 
l994 Defense Budget is basically designed to replace or 
modernize old equipment and improve deficient capabilities. 
Regarding logistic support, the budget focuses on various 
measures, including the upgrading of living-related 
facilities, such as barracks, and the promotion of the SDF 
base countermeasures. 
Future Forces 
Japan's future modernization of its defense capability 
covers a broad range of matters, including the organization, 
function and deployment of the SDF, by paying due heed to 
the aforementioned changes in the international situation, 
diverse domestic factors, increased restrictions on 
availability of personnel resources in future, and the 
latest technological trends, among others. In February 
l994, Japan's Prime Minister Hosokawa decided to hold the 
"Advisory Group on Defense Issues", a private advisory group 
to the Prime Minister, to hear from knowledgeable people 
about a new frame of reference as a substitute for the 
present Outline. In June l993, a private advisory group to 
the Director General of the Bureau of Defense Policy , the 
"Panel on Japan's Defense in the New Era", was set up. The 
perspectives which would be the basis for the study of 
Japan's defense modernization included: 
l. the international situation surrounding Japan 
2. Japan's national security 
3. Japan's international contribution 
4. the SDF's relations with the people and society 
While the formation of these study groups is a step 
toward a rational, measured approach to force modernization, 
the path to a restructured SDF remains obstructed by the 
limits of the constitution, political and economic 
considerations, and the strong influence of Japan's Imperial 
history. In summary, Japan must make significant changes to 
the national security framework before it can embark on a 
meaningful revision of its force structure. 
As of April l994, U.N. peacekeeping operations being 
conducted throughout the world encompassed about 7O,OOO 
people from 66 countries.33 Traditionally,  U.N. 
peacekeeping operations are roughly divided into three 
l) peacekeeping forces 
2) crease-fire observer missions 
3) election monitoring and others 
After the Cold-War, there is a tendency toward making 
arms control and disarmament agreements such as those 
regarding U.S. and Russian nuclear arms or conventional 
weapons of which development was premised on confrontation 
in Europe. 
On the other hand, diverse rivalries resulting from 
religious or racial problems in various parts of the world, 
which were contained under the East-West confrontation in 
the past, have surfaced, increasing the danger of developing 
into disputes. The military balance at the regional level 
would undergo change in a short period of time due to the 
transfer or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or 
high-performance weapons. 
Compared with the Cold War era in which the East-West 
confrontation was wholly reflected in the Security Council, 
members of the United Nations have become more cooperative, 
and expectations are growing upon the function of the United 
Nations in the arena of security. However, the U.N. 
function is not of such a nature as to provide deterrence to 
conflicts in advance, while the reality is that U.N. 
peacekeeping activities cannot be expected to produce 
sufficient results unless certain conditions are ensured. 
Past Involvement 
During the Persian Gulf War, April l99l, the SDF, for 
the first time, participated in the minesweeping activities. 
This was the SDF's first international contribution in terms 
of human resources. More significant than the actual number 
of mines cleared -- only 34 in a six-month period -- is the 
further expansion in constitutional interpretation, and the 
precedent set for Japanese vessels, reportedly under U.S. 
naval command, that far away from the Japanese archipelago. 
The government's next attempt to widen the scope of 
SDF activities was made in June l992, when the " Law 
Concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peacekeeping 
Operations and Other Operations" and the "Law to Amend Part 
of the Law Concerning the Dispatch of Japan Disaster Relief 
Teams" were enacted, thereby providing a statutory framework 
for Japan to positively address the task of pursuing 
activities for national contribution in terms of human 
Based on these laws, the SDF has prepared for the 
International disaster relief activities, while dispatching 
contingents and personnel to engage in U.N. peacekeeping 
operations in Cambodia from September l992 through October 
l993. Currently, the SDF continues to dispatch forces to 
Mozambique, where their involvement began in May l993. 
As previously mentioned, Japan's international peace 
operation assignments have been conducted on the basis of 
the "Law Concerning Cooperation for the United Nations 
Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations". 
The International Peace Cooperation Law was legislated 
in line with the basic guidelines for Japan's Participation 
in Peacekeeping Forces on the five principles shown 
l) Agreement on a cease-fire shall have been reached 
among the parties to the conflicts. 
2) The parties to the conflicts, including the 
territorial state(s), shall have given their consent to 
deployment of peacekeeping forces and Japan's participation 
in the force. 
3) The peacekeeping force shall strictly maintain 
impartiality, not favoring any party to the conflict. 
4) Should any of the above guideline requirements 
cease to be satisfied, the Government of Japan may withdraw 
its contingent. 
5) Use of weapons shall be limited to the minimum 
necessary to protect the personnel's lives, etc. 
The SDF's participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations 
is conducted under the Law, therefore, will never entail the 
possibility of the "use of force" or the "dispatch of armed 
forces to foreign countries for purpose of using force" as 
prohibited under Article 9 of the Constitution. 
Future Involvement 
Peacekeeping has changed dramatically and has also 
expanded very rapidly in recent years. Seventeen peace 
operations are now in place throughout the world, and most 
of these have been set up during the past four years. We 
have moved away from the old-style peacekeeping which for 
the most part involved military observers, or an 
interposition of United Nations forces to oversee a cease- 
fire. Such forces were lightly armed and could count on the 
full cooperation and consent of the parties involved. Some 
have recently described these functions as no more than 
"cooking and looking," since military action in such cases 
is practically non-existent. New style missions, however, 
require peacekeepers to do much.36
The Japanese now realize that they have to take a more 
active position in the United Nations, whose role in the 
post-Cold War era is likely to increase in importance. They 
have begun to lobby quietly for a Security Council Seat. 
Yet it is difficult for them to play a more prominent role 
because they do not have a permanent seat on the Security 
Council and because Japan's peace constitution has been 
interpreted as forbidding the dispatch of Japanese soldiers 
When it comes to the creation of a separate 
organization, there are views to the effect that it is 
considered appropriate to make the best use of the SDF's 
capabilities in order to make Japan's cooperation feasible 
and that there is no need to institute a new organization 
separate from the SDF due to a host of problems that 
l. for peacekeeping forces or cease-fire observation 
teams, dispatches of members who belong to each 
participating country's military organization are asked for; 
2. for U.N. peacekeeping operations that are conducted 
in harsh environments immediately after the end of an armed 
conflict, participation of an organization with self- 
sufficient capabilities is asked for; 
3. in order for dispatched units to fully display their 
capabilities, organizational logistics support, such as 
supplies and transportation, is needed, and only 
establishment of a separate dispatch unit is insufficient; 
4. given the capabilities and achievements the SDF 
demonstrated in Cambodia and Mozambique, any moves to 
neglect such would affect the pride and morale of the SDF 
Regarding the creation of an expert organization within 
the SDF, it is believed to be a matter that should be 
discussed deliberately by studying the most appropriate form 
of the SDF's participation in such assignments, including 
the aspect of organization. 
In summary, Japan has shown a willingness to participate 
in UN peacekeeping operations and has performed admirably. 
Once again, as one of the world economic powers, Japan is 
expected by the community of nations to "do her part". In 
fact, the Japanese desire to participate rather than be a 
spectator on the sidelines. With most members of the Diet 
supporting a push for permanent membership on the UN 
Security Council, they want Japan to be more involved in the 
UN affairs. This should be considered only natural for a 
nation that has such intense pride. Conversely, the 
Japanese continue to worry about how their participation 
will be viewed by Western powers as a breach of their "peace 
constitution." The dilemma of this defense-dependent 
economic power continues. 
The regional stability surrounding Japan and the 
attendant military situation remains quite complicated. 
There remain diverse problems, including the divided Korean 
Peninsula, the disputed sovereignty of the Spratly Islands 
and Japan's Northern Territories. Therefore, the Japan-U.S. 
Security Arrangement remains an important element in 
maintaining security in East Asia. The fact that Japan and 
the United States, which share the common value of freedom 
and democracy and are playing an important role -- political 
and economic -- in the international community, are closely 
linked which each other is deemed conducive to the stability 
and prosperity not only in East Asia but also in the world 
as a whole. 
A new era has begun and the world must maintain peace in 
a highly unstable environment. The United Nations has taken 
responsibility for world peace and Japan desires to increase 
its role and mission in order to help maintain world order. 
Currently, U.S.-Japan treaties and its constitution have 
limited Japan to a minimal operational capability; 
therefore, Japan must revise its constitution in order to 
substantially participate in the enforcement of global legal 
statutes. These issues must also be conveyed to the public 
so that the government can gain popular support. It is not 
only helping to maintain world peace but also stabilizing 
their own national defense that justifies strengthening the 
military and modernizing equipment. 
We can expect Japan to participate increasingly in UN 
peacekeeping operations. This can be regarded as essential 
in Japan's quest to gain a permanent seat on the United 
Nations Security Council. Therefore, it is seeking to gain 
a permanent seat to become more fully engaged in the world 
around them. At the same time, this involvement in UN 
operations can be seen as a means to counterbalance Japan's 
security dependence on the United States. Japan ranks 
number two in the world economically and with its financial 
strength can broaden its assistance in supporting the 
mission of United Nations, if it gets some voice in the 
matters (i.e. Security Council seat). If Japan is accepted 
as a permanent member, it will no doubt play an even greater 
role, with a concomitant need for new weapon procurement, 
especially transport aircraft and ships. This increased 
involvement not only gives a new lease on life for weapons 
procurement, but also gives the politicians a tool to 
enhance Japan's international status. However, this may be 
difficult since many countries are still afraid of a 
reemergence of the power of Japan and fears of starting 
another war. The Japanese do not aspire to become a 
military power, but to change the world opinion with the new 
generation. They feel that the only way to be respected in 
the world is to participate fully along with other nations. 
Japan can be expected to expand gradually its presence 
in the Asia-Pacific region. In the context of a decreasing 
U.S. presence, as seen in the U.S. withdrawal from the 
Philippines, and an increasing acceptance of regional 
governments of a larger military role for Japan, the 
Maritime SDF will probably expand to an area of sea line 
defense beyond lOOO nautical miles. In a visit to South 
Korea, Prime Minister Hosokawa not only apologized for the 
war, but also called for Japan and South Korea to play a 
role in the building of a new, peaceful order in the post- 
Cold War world. In this we can perhaps see the seeds for a 
new military relationship developing in the nation. 
With the passage of time and the steady decline of 
victims and veterans of World War II, Japan's military may 
be able to escape the specter of its past. In turn, Japan 
must proceed slowly, informing the world at every step of 
its peaceful intentions. 
In summary, Japan must make the constitutional/treaty 
changes needed to increase UN participation, be patient with 
the generation that remembers World War II, and carefully 
proceed down the path towards greater defense self-reliance 
with an active role in shaping a new world order, especially 
in the Pacific Rim. 
l. Brian Reading, Japan: The Comming Collapse, (New York : 
Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., l992), 45-45.
2. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, (New 
York Random House Inc., l9B7), 45l-452. 
3. Ronald E. Dolan and Robert L. Worden, Japan: A Country 
Study, 5th ed., Federal Research Division, Liberty of 
Congress, DA Pam. No. 55O-3O (Washington D.C.: Goverment 
Printing office, l992), 6O.
4. Dolan and Worden, 3l2.
5. Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between Japan 
and U.S. (Excerpts): 23 June l96O Treaty No.6 and Agreement 
under Article 6 of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and 
Security between Japan and the United States of America, 
regarding facilities and areas and the status of United 
States Armed Forces in Japan (Excerpts): Treaty No. 7 
effective on 23 June l96O. 
6. Richard J. Samuels, Rich Nation Strong Army, National 
Security and The Technological Transformation of Japan, 
(U.S.A.: Cornell University Press, l994), l-32.
7. Hermann Kahn, The Emerging Japanese Superstate: Challenge 
and Response, (New Jersey: Prentice, Inc., l97l), 25. 
8. Saburo Ienaga, "The Glorification of War in Japanese 
Education". International Security, Vol.l8, no.3 (Winter 
l993/l994), l29. 
9. Government of Japan White Paper, Defense of Japan l994, 
(Japan: The Defense Agency, l994), l9O-l94. 
lO. Martin E. Weinstein, " Japan's Foreign Policy Options: 
Implications for the United States," Japan's Foreign Policy, 
ed. Gerald L. Curtis (New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., l993), 
ll. Donald C. Hellmann, Japan and East Asia: The New 
International Order, (New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc., 
l972), l95-l96. 
l2. Hellmann, l97-2OO.
l3. Arjun Makhijani, "What Non-Nuclear Japan Is Not Telling 
The World and How Tokyo Keeps Its Options Open", The 
Washington Post, 2 April l995, Sec. Al. 
l4. Alexander Borg Olivier, "The United Nations in a 
Changing World Order: Expectations and Realities," 
Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Coalition Warfare: The Future 
Role of the United Nations, ed. Fariborz L. Mokhtari 
(Washington D.C.: NDU Press, l994), 22. 
l5. Francis Fukuyama and Kongdan Oh, The U.S.-Japan Security 
Relationship After the Cold-War, National Research Institute 
(CA: RAND l993), 24.
15. In a poll taken by Nihon Keizai Shimbun in late January 
l99l, 57 percent of Japanese men but only 25 percent of 
Japanese women supported the use of force by the U.S.-led 
coalition in the Gulf. Similarly, the Asahi Shixnbun poll on 
attitudes toward PKO participation in Cambodia showed 63 
percent of Japanese men in favor and 3O percent opposed; but 
only 42 percent of women in favor and the same percentage 
opposed. See Asahi Shiznbun, September 2B, l992, Morning 
Edition, page l. 
l6. Mainichi Shimbun, February 4, l993, Morning Edition, 
Page 2. 
l7. Peter Polomka, "Out of the Shadows Towards Greater Self- 
Reliance," Asia-Pacific Defense Review (A-PDR) l995 Annual 
Reference Edition, page 35. 
l8. Polomka, page 35. 
l9. Joseph P. Keddell, Jr., The Politics of Defense in 
Japan: Managing Internal and External Pressures, (New York: 
M. E. Sharpe, Inc., l993), 3. 
2O. Philip L. Ritcheson, "China's Impact on Southeast Asian 
Security", Military Review, May l99l, 44-57. 
2l. Thomas L. Wilborn, Security Cooperation with China: 
Analysis and A Proposal, (Strategic Studies Institute, U. S. 
Army War College, November, l994), l6. 
22. Wilborn, l2-l6. 
23. Compared to the United States, Russia, and Western 
European countries, the volume of China's arms trade is 
modest, however, see R. Bates Gill, The Challenge of 
Chinese Arms Proliferation: U.S. Policy for the l99Os, 
(Carlisle Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. 
Army War College, August 3l, l993), l-l2. 
24. Toshiyuki Shikata, Japan's Grand Strategy in the 
Succeeding Era," Asia in the 2lst Century: Evolving 
Strategic Priorities, ed. Michael D. Bellows, (Washington, 
DC; National Defense University Press,l994), 63-67. 
25. Government of Japan White Paper, G3. 
26. Peter G. Tsouras, Changing Orders: The Evolution of the 
World's Armies l945 to the Present, (New York: Facts On 
File, Inc., l994), l4O. 
27. Defense Agency, Japan, The Defense of Japan, (Tokyo, 
Japan: The Japan Times, Ltd., l994), 96. 
28. Dolan and Worden, xxiii. 
29. Government of Japan White Paper 63. 
3O. Satoshi Morimoto, "The Japanese Self-Defense Force: Its 
Role and Missions in the Post-Cold War Period," Asia in the 
2lst Century: Evolving Strategic Priorities, ed. Michael 
D.Bellows, (Washington D.C.: National Defense University 
Press, l994), l82-l83. 
3l. Government of Japan White Paper, 9l. 
32. Government of Japan White Paper, 9O. 
33. Government of Japan White Paper, ll7-ll8. 
34. This law aimed at the consolidating a domestic setup so 
that Japan can contribute to U.N. peacekeeping operations 
and humanitarian international relief operations 
appropriately and swiftly, and thereby contribute more 
positively than before to the international community, 
particularly in terms of human resources. Moreover, it is 
stipulated that the law is to be reviewed three years after 
coming into force. 
35. Government of Japan White Paper, ll8. 
36. Olivier, 22. 
37. Fukuyama, 18. 
38. Government of Japan White Paper, l35. 
Brian Reading, Japan: The Coming Collapse, New York : Harper 
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Chinworth, Michael W. Inside Japan's Defense. Washington 
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Study, 5th ed, Federal Research Division, Library of 
Congress. DA Pam. No. 55O-3O. Washington D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, l992 
Fukuyama, Francis, and Kongdan Oh, The U.S. -Japan Security 
Relationship After the Cold-War. National Research 
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Grant, Richard L. Strengthening the U.S.-Japan Partnership 
in the l99 Os. The Center for Strategic and 
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Hart, B.H. Liddell. History of the Second World War. 
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, l97O. 
Hellmann, Donald C. Japan and East Asia: The New 
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Ienaga, Saburo. "The Glorification of War in Japanese 
Education", International Security, Vol.l8, no.3 
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Ike, Nobutaka. Japan: The New Superstate. San Francisco: 
W. H. Freeman and Company, l974 
James, Alan. "Internal Peacekeeping." Peacekeeping and 
the Challenge of Civil Conflict Resolution. Ed. David 
A. Charters, 3-24. University of New Brunswick, l994. 
Kahn, Hermann. The Emerging Japanese Superstate: Challenge 
and Response. N.J.: Prentice Inc. l97l 
Kataoka, Tetsuya. Waiting for a "Pearl Harbor". 
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Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, New 
York: Random House Inc., l987 
Ritcheson, Philip L. "China's Impact on Southeast Asian 
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Samuels, Richard J. Rich Nation Strong Army, National 
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Shy, John and Thomas W. Collier. "Revolutionary War." 
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November, l994 
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