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Why is Japan legally not allowed to have a military?

1. Introduction

Japan is a nation with a long and proud history of martial prowess and military strength. However, since the end of World War II, Japan has been legally prohibited from having a military force of its own. This article will explore why Japan is legally not allowed to have a military, including the war-renouncing constitution, the Allied occupation of Japan, the current status of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), international criticism of the JSDF, Japan’s military spending and defense capabilities, and Japan’s role in regional security and cooperation.

2. Japan’s War-Renouncing Constitution

The primary reason why Japan is legally not allowed to have a military is due to Article 9 of its post-war constitution, which was adopted in 1947 as part of the Allied occupation of Japan following World War II. This article states that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes” and that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained”. This essentially prohibits any type of military force from being maintained by the Japanese government.

Japanese Snack Box

3. The Allied Occupation of Japan

The Allied occupation was led by General Douglas MacArthur and lasted from 1945 until 1952 when sovereignty was returned to Japan. During this period, Japanese militarism was heavily suppressed by the Allies who sought to ensure that it would never again threaten world peace or stability. As such, they imposed various restrictions on Japanese defense capabilities including reducing their army to just 100 000 personnel while also prohibiting them from having any type of offensive weapons such as tanks or fighter jets.

4. The Current Status of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces

Despite being legally prohibited from having a military force under Article 9 of its constitution, Japan does maintain what are known as “Self-Defense Forces” (SDF). These forces are limited in size and scope with no more than 230 000 personnel at any one time while also being restricted from engaging in offensive operations outside their own borders or engaging in combat operations abroad unless they are attacked first or if there is an imminent threat against them or their allies such as those posed by North Korea or China.

5. International Criticism of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces

Despite their limited nature, some countries have criticized these forces for still being too militaristic in nature due to their ability to engage in defensive operations abroad if needed. China has been particularly vocal about this issue with some Chinese officials claiming that these forces could be used for aggressive purposes if given enough leeway by Tokyo which would violate Article 9’s prohibition on maintaining any type of offensive forces or weapons systems.

6. Japan’s Military Spending and Defense Capabilities

Despite these criticisms however, it should be noted that Japan spends considerably less on defense than most other developed countries with only 1% percent its GDP going towards defense compared to 3% for most European nations for example according to data compiled by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Furthermore it should also be noted that despite its small size compared to other militaries around world it still has considerable defensive capabilities thanks largely due its advanced technology which allows it make up for lack numbers with superior equipment such as modern fighter jets surveillance drones etc..

7. Japan’s Role in Regional Security and Cooperation

In addition despite not having an official military force under Article 9,Japan still plays an important role in regional security through various diplomatic means such participating United Nations peacekeeping missions providing humanitarian aid during natural disasters etc.. It also actively participates regional security dialogues through organizations like ASEAN (Association Southeast Asian Nations) where it works closely with other countries promote stability region.

8 Conclusion


In conclusion,Japan is legally not allowed maintain traditional military force due Article 9 its post-war constitution,which prohibits country from maintaining land,sea air forces well other war potential.However this does not mean country completely lacks defensive capabilities since maintains Self-Defense Forces capable defending itself well engaging limited operations abroad necessary.Furthermore,country still plays important role regional security through diplomatic means participation various international organizations.


1 ) “Article 9: Renunciation War” Constitution Japan 1947 : jlg / constitutional / article09_en.html 2 ) “Japanese Defense Spending” NATO 2019 : cps / en / natohq / topics_111867.htm 3 ) “Japan’s Role Regional Security” ASEAN 2017 : japans -role -regional -security /

Why Japan is not allowed to have a military?

Constitutional Restrictions Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits Japan from using military force or settling international disputes by force.

Can Japan have its own military?

Current political and economic issues are briefly outlined. In mid-December Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishidas cabinet approved Japans most ambitious and rapid military expansion since the creation of the Self-Defense Forces (STF).

When was Japan not allowed to have a military?

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution (Nihon koku kenpō dai kyu-jō) is a provision of the Japanese Constitution that prohibits war as a means of settling international disputes involving the state. The constitution came into effect after World War II.

Can Japan have an army again?

Japan may not have a legitimate army but Japan does. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution prohibits war as a means of settling international disputes and prohibits the maintenance of armed forces.

Is the US obligated to defend Japan?

If a country plans to attack Japan the attacker must be prepared to face not only the defensive capabilities of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) but also the overwhelming force of the US military because the US is obligated to defend Japan. Armed attack.

What country protects Japan?

The United States
The United States pledged to defend Japan, which adopted a pacifist constitution, in exchange for maintaining a large military presence in the country. There are more than eighty U.S. military facilities in Japan. More U.S. service members are permanently stationed in Japan than in any other foreign country.

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