Japan's Self-Defense Forces: What Dangers to Northeast Asia?

  • May 01, 1994
  • Dr Thomas L Wilborn

Dr. Thomas Wilborn examines Japan's defense policy and the capabilities of its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to determine if the fears of a remilitarized Japan have any basis in fact. He concludes that Japanese defense policy places rigid restraints on the SDF, and that currently there is no support for anything but a thoroughly defensive military posture. Moreover, the SDF lack the force projection ability to attack any of Japan's neighbors, and could not develop the ability in less than a decade--even if there were a political decision to do so. Finally, the preponderance of evidence suggests that future generations of leaders are no more likely to pursue a military role in the region than the generation which has governed since the end of American occupation, in 1952.