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Is Japan still not allowed to have an army?


Japan is a country that has been known for its pacifist constitution since the end of World War II. It is widely believed that Japan is still not allowed to have an army, but is this true? In this article, we will explore the history of Japan’s military and its current status as a self-defense force.

The History of Japan’s Military

Japan’s military history dates back to ancient times when it was ruled by samurais. In the late 19th century, Japan underwent a modernization process and established a modern military. During World War II, Japan’s military was infamous for its atrocities and aggression towards other countries.

Japanese Snack Box

The Constitution and Article 9

After World War II, Japan adopted a new constitution with Article 9, which renounces war and prohibits Japan from maintaining war potential. This meant that Japan could only maintain a self-defense force to protect its territory.

The Interpretation of Article 9

The interpretation of Article 9 has been a subject of controversy in Japan. Some argue that Japan should reinterpret the constitution to allow a more active role in international security, while others argue that any change would violate the spirit of the pacifist constitution.

The Emergence of Threats

In recent years, Japan has faced increasing threats from North Korea’s missile program and China’s territorial ambitions in the East China Sea. This has led some politicians to call for a stronger military presence in Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Stance

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for a reinterpretation of Article 9 to allow Japan to have a more proactive military role in international security. He argues that this is necessary to ensure Japan’s security in the changing global landscape.

The Security Legislation

In 2015, the Japanese government passed new security legislation that reinterpreted Article 9 to allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense. This means that Japan can now defend its allies if they are under attack, even if Japan itself is not under attack.

The Role of Self-Defense Force

Despite the reinterpretation of Article 9, the Self-Defense Force still operates under strict limitations. They can only use force in self-defense or to defend their allies if they are under attack. They cannot engage in offensive actions or participate in international conflicts.

Public Opinion on Military

Public opinion in Japan is divided on the issue of military expansion. Some believe that it is necessary for Japan’s security while others are concerned about the potential consequences of a stronger military presence.

The Role of the United States

The United States has played an important role in ensuring Japan’s security since World War II. The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty commits the U.S. to defend Japan if it is under attack.

The Future of Japan’s Military

The future of Japan’s military is uncertain. While there are those who advocate for a stronger military presence, there are also those who believe that maintaining a pacifist constitution is essential for peace and stability in the region.


In conclusion, while Japan is still not allowed to have an army in the traditional sense, it does maintain a well-equipped and well-trained Self-Defense Force. The interpretation of Article 9 continues to be a subject of debate and controversy in Japan, and the country’s future military role remains uncertain.

Does Japan still have military restrictions?

Currently, the Japanese government understands Article 9 as prohibiting possession of offensive military weapons, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, and bomber fleets.

Why is Germany allowed to have a military but not Japan?

For a period of time, there was no German army available for NATO defense until it became clear that one was needed. This was due to a measure written into the Japanese constitution by civilian bureaucrats after WWII to prevent the military from having too much power, as there had been conflicts between the military and civilian bureaucrats prior to the war.

Does Japan have a military US?

Mainland Japan has seven bases or posts, each representing a different branch of the military. The Air Force bases are Yokota and Misawa, the Army base is Camp Zama, the Marine Corps base is Iwakuni, and the Navy bases are Yokosuka, Atsugi, and Sasebo. The nearest base to Yokota is Camp Zama, which is located about 20 miles away.

Is self defense illegal in Japan?

In Japan, the rule is straightforward: don’t initiate physical contact. While you can defend yourself if necessary, initiating an attack will result in severe consequences.

Is Japan dependent on US for army?

Japan is a staunch ally of the United States in the Cold War against Communism, and depends on the US military for protection while maintaining its own defensive forces at a minimum. Additionally, Japan places a strong emphasis on economic diplomacy as part of its global strategy.

What country protects Japan?

In accordance with Article 5, the United States is obligated to protect Japan in the event of an attack by a third party. Additionally, Article 6 specifically allows the United States to station its military on Japanese land, as long as certain conditions outlined in an “Administrative Agreement” are met.

International Community’s Response

The international community has been closely monitoring Japan’s military developments. Some countries, such as the United States, have expressed support for Japan’s pursuit of a stronger military presence. However, other countries in the region, such as China and South Korea, have expressed concern over Japan’s militarization and its past history of aggression.

The Cost of Maintaining a Military

Another factor to consider in Japan’s pursuit of a stronger military is the cost. Maintaining a military is expensive, and it could strain Japan’s economy, which is already facing challenges due to an aging population and declining birth rate. This could lead to difficult decisions regarding funding for other important areas such as healthcare and education.

The Importance of Diplomacy

While having a strong military presence can be important for a country’s security, it is also essential to prioritize diplomacy and peaceful solutions to conflicts. Japan has been actively involved in diplomatic efforts in the region, such as facilitating talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Maintaining the Spirit of the Constitution

Regardless of Japan’s future military role, it is important to maintain the spirit of the pacifist constitution. This includes promoting peace and stability in the region, respecting human rights, and upholding democratic values. Any actions taken by Japan’s military should reflect these principles.

The Role of Civil Society

Civil society plays an important role in shaping public opinion and influencing government policy. In Japan, there are active movements advocating for peace and disarmament. These movements play an important role in ensuring that the government’s actions reflect the will of the people and promote peace in the region.


In conclusion, Japan’s military history and current status as a Self-Defense Force are complex issues with many factors to consider. While there are arguments for a stronger military presence, it is important to prioritize peace and stability in the region while maintaining the spirit of the pacifist constitution. Ultimately, any decisions regarding Japan’s military should reflect the will of the people and promote peace and security both domestically and internationally.

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