Is it true that Japan has no armies?

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Many end up hearing that in Japan there is no armed forces or army because it is prohibited. Is this really true? If so, to what extent? In this article, we will see what happened to the Japanese army.

Japan throughout its history lived in civil wars and participated in several wars with other countries. The country is known for its samurai, ninjas and also for the events of World War II that give reasons for today's article.

Is it true that Japan has no armies?
Is it true that Japan has no armies?

How did Japan run out of an army?

After World War II, the US beat Japan. and imposed changes to its Constitution. one of them was the ban on having Armed Forces. were banned due to Second World War and their atrocities.

American military bases were built in the territory in order to protect Japan after this peace and unity agreement. That, in a way, was an advantage. Because defense is expensive, and Japan saved on it and had a big financial revolution.

The purpose of this law imposed by the United Nations was to try to contain militarism in the country – since during the war, Japan was one of the most aggressive countries, invading territories of China, Korea, Russia and American bases in the Pacific.

Because of this ban imposed by the United States, people have an idea that Japan has no army. But, it is not correct to say that Japan has no army, as it is still among the 10 countries with the strongest military power.

Is it true that Japan has no armies?

If not Armed Forces? What does Japan have?

Despite officially having no armed forces (as per article 9 of the Constitution), Japan has an equivalent force called Japan Self-Defense Forces, which officially presents itself as an extension of the police.

Although it seems like an extension, it is a powerful military force spread across the territory of Japan, responsible for its defense, being able to leave the border of Japan if it goes to a United Nations peace mission.

In 2015, legislation around this issue was amended to allow Japan Self-Defense Forces can fight alongside the armed forces of countries allied with Japan, if they share a common enemy.

To better understand this story, we will talk a little about the japanese constitution, article 9, followed by the demilitarization of Japan, to finally talk about the Japan Self-Defense Forces [JAF].

Is it true that Japan has no armies?

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

Japan's constitution was created as the country's basic law from 1947 and was written during the Allied occupation after World War II. In Article 9 is the law that talks about the absence of an army in the country. See below:

Sincerely aspiring to world peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce the use of war as the sovereign right of the nation or the threat and use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

For the purpose of fulfilling the objective of the previous paragraph, the forces of the army, navy and air force, like any other potential force of war, will never be maintained. The State's right to belligerence will not be recognized. 

Is it true that Japan has no armies?

The Demilitarization of Japan

The demilitarization of Japan was a punishment for the various war crimes committed by Imperial Japan during World War II. When the Axis was defeated, the Allies imposed various restrictions on the surrendered countries.

In the case of Japan, it was demanded that the country be demilitarized and that the emperor no longer be recognized as a sacred being. In addition, the opening of the country's political democratization was imposed.

With public support and acceptance, Japan had a demobilization and the total disarmament, with the removal of all military leaders from public office and the constitutional ban on any type of rearmament.

Under the orders of General Douglas MacArthur of the United States Army, who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, the Allied occupation authorities were committed to demilitarizing and democratizing Japan.

All clubs, schools and societies associated with the military and martial arts were eliminated from Japan. The general staff was abolished, with the ministries of the army and navy. Industries that served the armed forces were also shut down.

Over time Japan gained the trust of the West, and currently FAJ it has a military formation of more than 250,000 men, with the support of 60,000 men from American military bases present in Japanese territory.

Is it true that Japan has no armies?

Japan Self-Defense Forces

Japan's Self-Defense Forces are called the Jieitai [自衛隊] and abbreviated as [FAJ]. It is the real armed force of Japan, created with the end of the occupation of the United States after the Second World War.

The Japan Defense Forces also have military branches of the army, navy and air force. With a total of five armies, five maritime districts and three air defense forces. Japanese military personnel are between 18 and 49 years old.

The FAJ is literally a military force, with tanks, air fighters, sea destroyers, submarines, mortars, launchers and others. Their attire, ranks and organization is similar to the American ones, from which they drew a lot of influence.

Of the 250,000 Japanese in the FAJ, about 150,000 belong to the land force, while the rest are divided into the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Air Self-Defense Force. About 1,500 are in the General Staff Office, and 60,000 are reserves.

Following the article of the Constitution of Japan, Japan stipulates the following policies for National Defense:

  1. Maintain an exclusively defense-oriented policy;
  2. Avoid becoming a military power that could pose a threat to the world;
  3. Prevent the development of nuclear weapons, and refuse to allow nuclear weapons to enter Japanese territory;
  4. Ensure civilian control of the armed forces;
  5. Maintain security agreements with the United States;
  6. Expand defensive capabilities in moderate limits;

Japan's military budget should be kept at a level of just 3% of the country's total budget. About 50% is spent on troops, and the rest is split between supplies, new weapons, upgrades, etc.

Is it true that Japan has no armies?

Which countries have no army?

Now that we know about the Japanese army, are there any countries where they don't have any military? Yes, countries like Andorra, Dominica, Grenada, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vatican do not have any military strength.

It doesn't mean that these small, unknown countries are insecure, some receive military support and protection from others. There are also countries with limited military strength, Japan is not on this list as it has a powerful force. Some of these countries are Costa Rica, Haiti, Iceland, Mauritius, Monaco, Panama and Vanuatu.

I hope this article has helped you to clear your doubts about the army in Japan. If you liked the article share it and leave your comments. Thank you very much and until next time! Keep reading our other articles…

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