The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) were created
after the U.S. occupation of the island nation at the end
of World War II. Following its defeat, occupied Japan
had to dissolve its military and adopt a constitution that
allowed the use of arms for defensive purposes only, such
as a attack on its territory.
Japanese armed forces consist of three branches: the Ground
Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), the Maritime
Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and the Air Self-Defense
Force (JASDF). For the last 60 years, the JSDF has
been confined to protecting Japanese territory and were not
permitted to be deployed abroad.
More recently, the JSDF has been used in international disaster
relief and peacekeeping missions. Despite being highly trained
and fully qualified to handle the missions assigned to them,
the JSDF is too small, understaffed and underequipped to perform
more extensive military operations.
The Ground Self-Defense Force is Japan's military land
The largest of the three branches, the JGSDF is responsible
for defending a certain region against enemy aggression. Regionally
independent, each ground force division is responsible for
detering small enemy invasions or providing a holding action
until they can be reinforced by American armed forces. By
themselves, the JGDSF has neither the equipment nor the military
personnel to provide more than a conventional defence.
Japan is heavily dependent on maritime trade for
many of its resources.
As a result, naval military operations are a very important
aspect of their defensive policy.
The Maritime Self-Defense Force is the naval branch of the
JSDF, tasked with the defense of Japanese sea lanes and territorial
waters. A large fleet consisting mostly of destroyers, the
JMSDF is known for its anti-submarine and minesweeping capabilities.
Unlike other naval forces, the JMSDF is strictly based on
defensive armament. Their lack of an aircraft carrier and
of adequate long-range surface-to-air missiles severely limits
their ability to provide ship-based air protection. Consequently,
they must rely on the Air Self-Defense Force to provide air
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force is the military's aviation
branch. It carries out air patrols while defending Japanese
airspace and other aerial operations. To support its air fleet,
the JASDF maintains an extensive, integrated network of radar
installations and early warning systems throughout the country.
Although fighter squadrons started being modernized in 1989
with new surface-to-air missiles, modern antiaircraft artillery,
JASDF pilots receive little flight training over oceans to
prepare for naval operations. Japan relies on the United States
forces to provide interceptor capability.
Japan is dotted with US military bases, including major installations
throughout the mainland and Okinawa. One of them is Camp Fuji,
a Marines Corps base located at the base of Mount Fuji.
What is unusual about this base is that all Marines have individual
rooms. They have standard barracks room which includes one
bunk bed, one desk, one refrigerator, two half dressers, two
chairs, and two military