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Can Japan have an army again?


Japan is a country that has been known for its peace-loving nature and non-militaristic policies since the end of World War II. However, in recent years, there has been a growing debate within the country about whether Japan should have an army again. Some argue that Japan needs to defend itself against an increasingly aggressive China, while others warn that this move could lead to renewed militarism and endanger regional stability.

History of Japan’s military

Japan had a powerful military force during World War II, but after their defeat in 1945, they were forced to disarm and renounce war forever in their constitution. Since then, Japan has only maintained a Self-Defense Force (SDF) which is not considered an army. The SDF can only be used for defensive purposes and cannot participate in offensive combat.

Japanese Snack Box

Current situation

The current situation in East Asia is tense due to territorial disputes between Japan and China. In addition, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have created further instability in the region. Under these circumstances, some Japanese politicians have called for Japan to have a full-fledged army again.

Constitutional barriers

The current constitution of Japan forbids the country from maintaining an army or using military force to solve international disputes. Any changes to the constitution requires two-thirds majority approval from both houses of parliament and a national referendum.

Public opinion

Public opinion polls show that the majority of Japanese people do not want their country to have an army again as they fear it would lead to another war, similar to World War II. However, some younger generations support the idea, particularly those who feel threatened by China’s increasing influence in the region.

Regional implications

Japan having an army again could lead to a renewed arms race in East Asia, particularly with China and South Korea. This could lead to further tensions and instability in the region.

US-Japan alliance

The United States is Japan’s key ally, and they have a mutual defense treaty. If Japan were to have an army again, it would change the dynamics of this alliance, and it could cause geopolitical tensions between the two countries.

Defense capabilities

Japan currently has a strong defense capability with its Self-Defense Force, which is equipped with modern weaponry and technology. However, the SDF is not sufficient to address all the security challenges that Japan faces.

Budget constraints

Japan is facing economic challenges, and there is a debate about whether the country can afford to spend more money on defense when other sectors such as healthcare and education need funding.

Diplomatic efforts

Japan has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to address regional security challenges through multilateral forums such as ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Shangri-La Dialogue. These efforts have been successful in improving relations with its neighbors and maintaining regional stability.


In conclusion, the question of whether Japan can have an army again is complicated. While some politicians argue that it’s necessary for Japan’s security, others warn that it could lead to renewed militarism and endanger regional stability. The current constitution of Japan forbids having an army, but it can be changed with a two-thirds majority approval from both houses of parliament and a national referendum. Ultimately, Japan needs to balance its defense needs with its commitment to peace and stability in the region.

Is Japan allowed to have a military again?

In July 2014, the Japanese government approved a new interpretation of Article 9, which allows for the exercise of “collective self-defense” in certain situations and the ability to take military action if one of its allies is attacked. This reinterpretation is a significant change to Japan’s previous stance on military involvement.

Is Japan expanding their military?

At the end of 2022, the government led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida authorized three policy documents: the National Security Strategy (NSS), the National Defense Strategy, and the Defense Buildup Program. These documents propose an extensive growth of Japan’s military potential and a substantial rise in military expenditures over a five-year period. As of February 2, 2023, this was announced.

What country protects Japan?

Article 5 of a treaty commits the United States to protect Japan in the event of an attack by a third party. Under Article 6, the United States has the explicit right to station their troops on Japanese soil, subject to a separate negotiation for a detailed “Administrative Agreement”.

Is Japan dependent on US for army?

There are three main factors in Japan’s international relations. Firstly, Japan is a strong ally of the US in the fight against communism during the Cold War. Secondly, Japan relies on the military strength of the US and keeps its own defense forces to a minimum. Finally, Japan prioritizes economic diplomacy in its global dealings.

Is US military allowed in Japan?

Under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security of 1960, American military personnel are based in Japan. The main headquarters for U.S. Forces Japan is located at Yokota Air Base.

Is Japan’s military stronger than China?

China currently holds an advantage over Japan both in terms of economic and military power. China possesses a larger arsenal of conventional weapons and more military personnel. However, Japan intends to balance out this imbalance through the deployment of advanced weaponry supplied by its ally, the United States.

Alternative solutions

Instead of creating a full-fledged army, Japan could invest more in its Self-Defense Force and improve cooperation with its allies, such as the United States. Japan could also increase its participation in international peacekeeping missions to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining global peace and security.

Additionally, Japan could continue to pursue diplomatic efforts to resolve regional disputes through dialogue and negotiations. Japan has a strong tradition of diplomacy and could use this to its advantage in addressing the current security challenges in East Asia.

The role of international community

The international community, particularly the United States, China, and South Korea, has an essential role to play in ensuring regional stability. These countries must work together to address the security challenges in the region through dialogue and cooperation.

Furthermore, the international community can support Japan’s efforts to maintain peace and stability through economic aid and technical assistance. This could help Japan address its economic challenges while also strengthening its defense capabilities.


In conclusion, Japan faces significant security challenges in the region, but it is important to consider all options carefully before deciding whether to have an army again. The country must balance its defense needs with its commitment to peace and stability in the region. Ultimately, a collaborative approach that involves diplomatic efforts, multilateral forums, and cooperation with allies is the best path forward for maintaining peace and security in East Asia.

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