Does Japan Have an Army?


Quick Answer

Under the constitution established following World War II, Japan is not allowed to have an offensive army. However, it does have a large defensive military force called the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The JSDF had over 260,000 active members in 2014, and an additional 50,000 reserve members.

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Full Answer

The JSDF is divided into three branches: the Ground Self-Defence Force serves as the army; the Maritime Self-Defense Force as the navy; and, the Air Self-Defense Force as the air force. Members of all three branches are technically classed as civilians, but the chain of command resembles that of western military forces. The Prime Minister serves as the commander-in-chief, and Chiefs of Staff of the three branches answers to him.

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