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 has lived through 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 to today's article.
How did Japan run out of army?
After the Second World War, the USA beat Japan. And imposed changes in its Constitution. One was the ban on having armed forces. They were banned because of Second World War and its 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 money and had a major 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 the 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.
If it is not Armed Forces? What does Japan have?
Despite officially having no armed forces (according to 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 looks like an extension, it is a powerful military force spread across the territory of Japan, responsible for its defense, and can leave the border of Japan if it goes to a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
In 2015, the legislation around this issue was changed to allow companies to 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, let's talk a little bit about the japanese constitution, article 9, followed by the demilitarization of Japan, so that we can finally talk about Japan's Self-Defense Forces [JAF].
Article 9 of the Japanese constitution
Japan's constitution was created as the country's basic law from 1947 and was written during the occupation of the allies 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 resolving international disputes.
In order to fulfill the objective of the previous paragraph, the forces of the army, navy and aeronautics, like any other potential war force, will never be maintained. The State's right to belligerence will not be recognized.
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 several restrictions on surrendered countries.
In the case of Japan, it was demanded that the country be demilitarized and that the emperor was no longer recognized as a sacred being. In addition, the opening of political democratization in the country was imposed.
With public support and acceptance, Japan had a demobilization and the total disarmament, along with the removal of all military leaders from public office and the constitutional ban on any type of rearmament.
Under orders from 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 armed forces and martial arts were eliminated from Japan. The staff was abolished, along with the ministries of the army and navy. The industries that served the armed forces were also disabled.
Over time Japan gained the trust of the West, and today FAJ it has a military formation with more than 250,000 men, together with the support of 60,000 men of the American military bases present in the Japanese territory.
Japan Self-Defense Forces
Japan's Self-Defense Forces are called 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 Japanese Defense Forces also have military branches in the army, navy and aeronautics. With a total of five armies, five maritime districts and three air defense forces. The Japanese military 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 dress, patents and organization is similar to that of the Americans, from which they took a lot of influence.
Of the 250,000 Japanese in the FAJ, about 150,000 belong to the ground 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:
- Maintain a policy exclusively oriented to defense;
- Avoid becoming a military power that could threaten the world;
- Avoid the development of nuclear weapons, and refuse to allow nuclear weapons to enter Japanese territory;
- Ensure civilian control of the armed forces;
- Maintain security agreements with the United States;
- Expand defense capabilities within moderate limits;
Japan's military budget should be kept at just 3% of the country's total budget. About 50% is spent on troops, and the rest is divided between supplies, new weapons, upgrades, etc.
Which countries have no army?
Now that we know about the Japanese army, are there any countries where it has no military force? 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 the Vatican have no military force.
It does not 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 that list, as it has a powerful force. Some of these countries are Costa Rica, Haiti, Iceland, Mauritius, Monaco, Panama and Vanuatu.
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