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Why can’t Japan have an army?

1. Introduction

The question of why Japan cannot have an army is one that has been debated for decades. Despite the fact that Japan is a major economic power, its military capabilities are limited by its constitution and the presence of foreign forces. In this article, we will explore the history of Japan’s post-WWII military presence, the role of the United States in Japan’s security policy, and the future of Japan’s military presence.

2. Japan’s Post-WWII History

After World War II, Japan was occupied by Allied forces from 1945 to 1952. During this time, the Allied Powers imposed a new constitution on Japan that abolished its ability to have an army or navy, and instead established a new Self-Defense Forces (SDF) composed of ground, air, and maritime units. This was done in order to ensure that Japan would never again become a threat to world peace and security.

Japanese Snack Box

3. The Allied Occupation of Japan

The Allied occupation of Japan was intended to bring about sweeping changes in Japanese society and government policies in order to prevent any future militarization or aggression against other countries. As part of this process, a new constitution was drafted which included Article 9, which officially abolished war as a means of settling international disputes and renounced any right for the state to maintain land, sea or air forces for war purposes.

4. The Japanese Constitution and the Self-Defense Forces

Article 9 has since become known as “the pacifist clause” and is seen as one of the defining features of modern Japanese politics and society. To replace its former armed forces, Japan created the SDF in 1954 with limited capabilities designed solely for self-defense purposes such as responding to natural disasters or providing humanitarian aid abroad. The SDF has since grown into a formidable force with over 250,000 personnel but it remains strictly limited by Article 9 which prohibits offensive operations outside Japanese territory or any action toward changing international borders through force.

5. The Role of the United States in Japan’s Security Policy

The United States has played an important role in shaping Japanese security policy since WWII due to its close alliance with Tokyo since 1951 when it signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between both countries which allowed U.S troops to remain stationed on Japanese soil for defense purposes only (not offensive). Since then Washington has provided Tokyo with both diplomatic support and military protection while encouraging it to take on more responsibility for regional security issues such as North Korea’s nuclear program or China’s increasing assertiveness in East Asia waters – all without violating Article 9’s restrictions on having an army or navy outside self-defense needs..

6. Japan’s Economic Power and Political Influence

Despite not having an army or navy capable of projecting power abroad like other major powers do – such as China or Russia -Japan remains a major player on the global stage thanks largely due to its economic might which is second only to China among Asian nations; It also wields considerable political influence due its strong alliances with countries like South Korea (which it provides financial aid),Australia (which it provides defense technology),India (which it helps develop infrastructure projects),etc., all without having an offensive military capability beyond what is allowed by Article 9.

7. The Future of Japan’s Military Presence

In recent years there have been calls from some conservative politicians for amending Article 9 so that Tokyo can have more freedom when it comes to using its SDF abroad but these efforts have been met with strong opposition from many within both ruling parties who argue that doing so could lead down a slippery slope towards militarization – something they believe would be detrimental both domestically & internationally given how sensitive issues such as WWII atrocities remain today.Therefore despite some degree of public support for greater military influence overseas,there appears little chance that Article 9 will be amended anytime soon meaning Tokyo will continue relying heavily on Washington & other allies when it comes maintaining regional stability & responding effectively when needed.

8 Conclusion


In conclusion,while there are certainly arguments made by some conservative politicians & members within ruling parties calling for greater freedom when it comes using SDF abroad ; ultimately most agree that amending Article 9 would not only be detrimental domestically given how sensitive issues such as WWII atrocities remain today but also internationally given how much relies on maintaining regional stability.Therefore despite some degree public support for greater military influence overseas,there appears little chance that Article 9 will be amended anytime soon meaning Tokyo will continue relying heavily on Washington & other allies when it comes maintaining regional stability & responding effectively when needed.

9 References

TokyoInsiders Staff :”Why Can’t Japan Have An Army?” TokyoInsiders https://tokyoinsidersguide/why-cant-japan-have-an-army/ Accessed April 3rd 2021
Kawasaki Takahiro: “Japan’s Self Defense Forces: A Brief History” National Institute For Defense Studies https://wwwndsdjp/en/lib/history/ Accessed April 3rd 2021
BBC News: “Japan: How Powerful Is It?” BBC News https://bbccouk/news/worldasia_pacific12495268 Accessed April 3rd 2021

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