The Japanese Military
This chapter discusses the background and evolution of Japan's defense policy and security strategy. It also examines the changing composition and structure of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and provides an overview of the major security issues relating to Japan's armed forces. In conclusion, the chapter suggests that while Tokyo seems willing to assume a greater military role in East Asia, a momentous change in defense policy appears unlikely during the short or medium term. Rather, it is likely that Japan's security will continue to rest on two pillars—a formidable conventional military, albeit with modest power projection capabilities, and a mutual security treaty with the United States.
Japan's defense policy passed through several distinct phases during the Cold War. Each played a role in shaping Tokyo's current approach to security.
In the first period—which extended from the imperial Japanese surrender in 1945 until the outbreak of the Korean conflict in 1950—Japan possessed no armed forces. Governed (and protected) by U. S. occupation forces, Japan appeared to renounce war as an instrument of national policy in its 1947 constitution. According to article 9 of the document drafted by U. S. occupation officials:
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling inter-