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The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF; Japanese: 陸上自衛隊; Rikujō Jieitai ), is the main branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the de facto army of Japan.
The largest of the three services of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is tasked with maintaining internal security in Japan and operates under the command of the chief of the ground staff, based in the city of Ichigaya, Tokyo. The present chief of the ground staff is General Eiji Kimizuka (Japanese: 君塚 栄治). The JGSDF numbered around 150,000 soldiers as of 2008.
Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration in 1945, and, in compliance with Article 9, the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy were dismantled. Both were replaced by the United States Armed Forces occupation force, which assumed responsibility for the defense of Japan.
On the outbreak of the Korean War, many U.S. units were transferred to Korea, and Japan was perceived as lacking defenses. Encouraged by the American occupation authorities, in July 1950 the Japanese government authorized the establishment of a National Police Reserve, consisting of 75,000 men equipped with light infantry weapons. Under the terms of Japan's various peace treaties and the Mutual Security Assistance Pact (ratified in 1952), American forces stationed in Japan were responsible for confronting external aggression against Japan while Japanese forces, both ground and maritime, would deal with internal threats and natural disasters. Accordingly, in mid-1952 the National Police Reserve was expanded to 110,000 men and renamed the National Safety Forces.
Japan continued to improve its defensive capabilities. On July 1, 1954, the National Security Board was reorganized as the Defense Agency, and the National Security Force was reorganized afterwards as the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The enabling legislation for this was the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Act [Act No. 165 of 1954].
For a long period, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force possessed a dubious ability to hold off a Soviet invasion of Hokkaido. Zbigniew Brzezinski observed in 1972 that it seemed optimized to fight ‘a Soviet invasion conducted on American patterns of a quarter of a century ago.’ While the force is now an efficient army of 150,000, its apparent importance had, until recently, seemingly declined with the end of the Cold War, and attempts to reorient the forces as a whole to new post Cold War missions have been tangled in a series of internal political disputes.
The GSDF consists of the following tactical units:
JGSDF divisions and brigades are combined arms units with infantry, armored, and artillery units, combat support units and logistical support units. They are regionally independent and permanent entities. The divisions strength varies from 7,000 to 9,000 personnel. The brigades are smaller with 3,000 to 4,000 personnel.
Special Forces units consist of the following:
The JGSDF has two reserve components: the rapid-reaction reserve component (即応予備自衛官制度) and the main reserve component (一般予備自衛官制度). Members of the rapid-reaction component train 30 days a year. Members of the main reserve train five days a year. As of December 2007, there were 8,425 members of the rapid-reaction reserve component and 22,404 members of the main reserve component.
Ranks are listed with the lower rank at right.
In 1989, basic training for lower-secondary and upper-secondary academy graduates began in the training brigade and lasted approximately three months. Specialized enlisted and non-commissioned officer (NCO) candidate courses were available in branch schools and qualified NCOs could enter an eight-to-twelve-week officer candidate program. Senior NCOs and graduates of an eighty-week NCO pilot course were eligible to enter officer candidate schools, as were graduates of the National Defense Academy at Yokosuka and graduates of all four-year universities. Advanced technical, flight, medical and command and staff officer courses were also run by the JGSDF. Like the maritime and air forces, the JGSDF ran a youth cadet program offering technical training to lower-secondary school graduates below military age in return for a promise of enlistment.
Because of population density and urbanization on the Japanese islands, only limited areas are available for large-scale training, and, even in these areas, noise restrictions are extensive. The JGSDF has adapted to these conditions by conducting command post exercises, map maneuvers, investing in simulators and other training programs, as well as conducting live fire exercises overseas at locations such as the Yakima Training Center in the United States.
|Type 10||53||built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Type 90||Type 90 first mod（90式戦車 初期生産型） |
Type 90 mod kai (90式戦車 近代化改修型）
|341||built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Type 74||Type 74 mod E (74式戦車 E型) |
Type 74 mod F (74式戦車 F型)
Type 74 mod G/Kai (74式戦車 G型/近代化改修型)
|373－||built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle||69 Built 120 ordered|
|Type 99 155 mm self-propelled howitzer||105|
Tank Type 10
Tank Type 90
Tank Type 74
Infantry Fighting Vehicle Type 89
Armored Personnel Carrier Type 96
Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Type 87
Tank Destroyer Maneuver Combat Vehicle
The JGSDF operates 469 aircraft, including 458 helicopters.
|Bell UH-1||Utility helicopter||UH-1H |
|Built by Fuji|
|UH-60 Black Hawk||Transport helicopter||UH-60JA||39 +||Most built by Mitsubishi|
|Boeing CH-47 Chinook||Transport helicopter||CH-47J |
|Built by Kawasaki|
|Bell AH-1 Cobra||Attack helicopter||AH-1S||90||Built by Fuji|
|Boeing AH-64 Apache||Attack helicopter||AH-64DJP||11||Built by Fuji|
|Kawasaki OH-1||Scout/Attack helicopter||OH-1||38||Under delivery|
|MD Helicopters MD 500||Scout helicopter||OH-6D||193||Built by Kawasaki. Being slowly phased out|
|Enstrom 480||Trainer helicopter||TH-480B||20||30 planned, Under delivery|
|Eurocopter EC 225||VIP helicopter||EC 225LP||3||Replacing the AS332L|
|Fuji FFOS||Unmanned observation helicopter|| Flying Forward Observation System. Primarily used as a forward observation platform for medium-range field artillery.|
|Beechcraft Super King Air||Utility transport||LR-2||6|
|Fuji FFRS||Unmanned reconnaissance helicopter||Flying Forward Reconnaissance System. Upgraded version of FFOS, for use by forward units.|
|Boeing Insitu ScanEagle||Reconnaissance UAV||1||Delivered by Insitu Pacific|
|Yamaha RMAX||Unmanned observation helicopter|||
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