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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.[1]

The JGSDF was created on July 1, 1954. Up until the end of the Cold War, its primary concern was maintaining internal security in Japan and countering a possible Soviet invasion of Hokkaido.

History[]

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.[citation needed] 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.’[2] While the force is now an efficient army of 150,000,[1] 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.

Organization[]

JGSDF Chief of Staff Eiji Kimizuka, speaks with a U.S. Marine officer aboard the USS Essex (LHD-2), in March 2011.

JGSDF Middle Army headquarters in Itami, Japan

Regionally the JGSDF is organised into five armies, the Northern Army, North Eastern Army, Eastern Army, Central Army, and Western Army.

Tactical organization[]

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[]

Special Forces units consist of the following:

Reserves[]

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.[3]

Operational Structure of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 2011

Grades[]

Ranks are listed with the lower rank at right.

Officer & Warrant Officer
(幹部・准尉)
Insignia General
(統合・陸上
幕僚長)
Lieutenant
General
(将)
Major
General
(将補)
Colonel
(1佐)
Lieutenant
Colonel
(2佐)
Major
(3佐)
Captain
(1尉)
First
Lieutenant
(2尉)
Second
Lieutenant
(3尉)
Warrant
Officer
(准尉)
Type A
(甲階級章)
JGSDF General insignia (a).svg JGSDF Lieutenant General insignia (a).svg JGSDF Major General insignia (a).svg JGSDF Colonel insignia (a).svg JGSDF Lieutenant Colonel insignia (a).svg JGSDF Major insignia (a).svg JGSDF Captain insignia (a).svg JGSDF First Lieutenant insignia (a).svg JGSDF Second Lieutenant insignia (a).svg JGSDF Warrant Officer insignia (a).svg
Type B
(乙階級章)
JGSDF General insignia (b).svg JGSDF Lieutenant General insignia (b).svg JGSDF Major General insignia (b).svg JGSDF Colonel insignia (b).svg JGSDF Lieutenant Colonel insignia (b).svg JGSDF Major insignia (b).svg JGSDF Captain insignia (b).svg JGSDF First Lieutenant insignia (b).svg JGSDF Second Lieutenant insignia (b).svg JGSDF Warrant Officer insignia (b).svg
Miniature
(略章)
JGSDF General insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Lieutenant General insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Major General insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Colonel insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Lieutenant Colonel insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Major insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Captain insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF First Lieutenant insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Second Lieutenant insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Warrant Officer insignia (miniature).svg
Enlisted
(曹・士)
Insignia Sergeant
Major
(曹長)
Master
Sergeant
(1曹)
Sergeant
First
Class
(2曹)
Sergeant
(3曹)
Corporal
(士長)
Private
First
Class
(1士)
Private
(2士)
Type A
(甲階級章)
JGSDF Sergeant Major insignia (a).svg JGSDF Master Sergeant insignia (a).svg JGSDF Sergeant First Class insignia (a).svg JGSDF Sergeant insignia (a).svg JGSDF Leading Private insignia (a).svg JGSDF Private First Class insignia (a).svg JGSDF Private insignia (a).svg
Type B
(乙階級章)
JGSDF Sergeant Major insignia (b).svg JGSDF Master Sergeant insignia (b).svg JGSDF Sergeant First Class insignia (b).svg JGSDF Sergeant insignia (b).svg JGSDF Leading Private insignia (b).svg JGSDF Private First Class insignia (b).svg JGSDF Private insignia (b).svg
Miniature
(略章)
JGSDF Sergeant Major insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Master Sergeant insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Sergeant First Class insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Sergeant insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Leading Private insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Private First Class insignia (miniature).svg JGSDF Private insignia (miniature).svg

Regional organization[]

Disposition of JGSDF combat units

Armies[]

Other Units[]

  • Other Units and Organizations
    • Material Control Command
    • Ground Research & Development Command
    • Signal Brigade
    • Military Police
    • Military Intelligence Command
    • Intelligence Security Command
    • Ground Staff College
    • Ground Officer Candidate School
    • Others

Training[]

JGSDF soldiers from the 22nd Infantry Regiment train with U.S. Army soldiers in a bilateral exercise at Fort Lewis' Leschi Town in October 2008.

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.

Current equipment[]

Tanks[]

Name Versions Quantity Notes Pictures
Type 10 53 built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Type10MBT.jpg
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 Japanese Type 90 Tank - 2.jpg
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 JGSDF Type74 tank 20120527-01.JPG

Infantry fighting vehicles[]

Name Versions Quantity Notes Pictures
Type 89 Infantry Fighting Vehicle 69 Built 120 ordered Type89 FV.jpg

Self-propelled artillery[]

Name Versions Quantity Notes Pictures
M110 howitzer 91 203mm Self-Propelled Howitzer M110A2.JPG
M270 MLRS 99 Multiple Launch Rocket System.jpg
Type 99 155 mm self-propelled howitzer 105 Yoka002.JPG

Towed artillery[]

Name Versions Quantity Notes Pictures
FH-70 492 Howitzer FH70 03.jpg

Mortars[]

Armored vehicles[]

  • Type 82 Command and Communication Vehicle[4] (250)
  • Type 87 Reconnaissance and Warning Vehicle[5] (100)
  • Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle
  • Komatsu Light Armored Vehicle (More than 1,965 as 2011)

Armored personnel carriers[]

Air defense vehicles[]

  • Type 87 Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (52)
  • Toyota Kōkidōsha (BXD10) Close-Range Surface-to-Air Guided Missile [CSAM] variant with Type 93 Closed Arrow SAM
  • Toyota Kōkidōsha field Air Defense radar vehicle equipped with Mitsubishi Electric JTPS-P18 Low Altitude/Early Warning radar
  • Mitsubishi Electric JTPS-P14 Early Warning Radar (high/medium altitude) - Mounted on Isuzu Type 73 Heavy Truck

ATGMs and ASMs[]

SAMs[]

Other vehicles[]

Small arms[]

Future equipment[]

  • NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle - Successor to the Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle and the Biological Reconnaissance Vehicle.[8]
  • Light-weight Combat Vehicle (LCV) System
  • Maneuver Combat Vehicle
  • Kawasaki UH-X - Successor to the UH-1J Helicopter.[9]
  • AAVP-7A1 (Requirement for 16 refurbished examples [from USMC stocks], 4 funded to date for test and training purposes. Currently scheduled for delivery by 2014.)

Aircraft inventory[]

The JGSDF operates 469 aircraft, including 458 helicopters.[10]

Name Type Versions Quantity Notes Pictures
Bell UH-1 Utility helicopter UH-1H
UH-1J
133
130
Built by Fuji JGSDF UH-1J 20120520-01.JPG
UH-60 Black Hawk Transport helicopter UH-60JA 39 + Most built by Mitsubishi JGSDF UH-60JA 20090822-02.JPG
Boeing CH-47 Chinook Transport helicopter CH-47J
CH-47JA
34
27+
Built by Kawasaki CH-47JA 20090822 Yokota AFB-02.JPG
Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopter AH-1S 90 Built by Fuji AH-1S Cobra.jpg
Boeing AH-64 Apache Attack helicopter AH-64DJP 110(+13) Built by Fuji JGSDF AH-64D 20120108-01.JPG
Kawasaki OH-1 Scout/Attack helicopter OH-1 38 Under delivery OH-1 JGSDF 20080518 4.jpg
MD Helicopters MD 500 Scout helicopter OH-6D 193 Built by Kawasaki. Being slowly phased out Hughes OH-6.jpg
Enstrom 480 Trainer helicopter TH-480B 20 30 planned, Under delivery[11] G-LADD-Enstrom480.jpg
Eurocopter EC 225 VIP helicopter EC 225LP 3 Replacing the AS332L[12][13] Eurocopter EC 225 JGSDF JG1021 20120108-2.JPG
Fuji FFOS Unmanned observation helicopter [14] Flying Forward Observation System. Primarily used as a forward observation platform for medium-range field artillery.[15] 遠隔操縦観測システム 無人機.jpg
Beechcraft Super King Air Utility transport LR-2 6 LR-2.JPG
Fuji FFRS Unmanned reconnaissance helicopter Flying Forward Reconnaissance System. Upgraded version of FFOS, for use by forward units. FFRS.JPG
Mitsubishi MU-2 Liaison LR-1 20 LR-1.JPG
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle Reconnaissance UAV 1 Delivered by Insitu Pacific[16]
Yamaha RMAX Unmanned observation helicopter [17]

Past equipment[]

Small arms[]

Tanks[]

Artillery[]

Anti-tank guided missiles[]

Anti-aircraft guns[]

Other armored fighting vehicles[]

  • Type 60 Armored Personnel Carrier[20]
  • Type 60 Self-propelled 106 mm Recoilless Rifle
  • M20 Armored Utility Car (A number of examples delivered to the NPR along with a few older M8s)
  • Type 67 Armored Engineering Vehicle (Prototype [known as SD] created from the conversion by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of a M4A3E8 in 1962, with production examples to be new build vehicles based on the Type 61 chassis. Planned procurement from 1967 onwards was precluded by financial constraints, however.)

Light and Utility Vehicles[]

  • Willys MB (Transferred from U.S. Army stocks at the time of the National Police Reserve.)
  • Mitsubishi Jeep J2 (Inherited from National Safety Forces.)
  • Toyota Jeep BJ (Developed to NPR requirement, first 298 examples delivered to National Safety Force in 1953 as it's 'official patrol car'. Further procurement for the NSF curtailed. Note: Jeep BJ direct ancestor of Toyota Land Cruiser)[21]
  • Toyota/Nissan 3/4 ton truck (In service from 1950s to 1970s.)
  • Toyota 2FQ-15 (FQ-10 ?) 4x4 truck (Inherited from NPR. Reportedly based on the Dodge M37.)[22]
  • Toyota FQ-15 (known to U.S. Army as HQ-15) 6X6 heavy duty truck[23]
  • Rikuo Type 97
  • Harley-Davidson WLA (From U.S. Army Stocks, likely in relatively limited numbers but not confirmed.)

Aircraft[]

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 IISS Military Balance 2008, Routledge, London, 2008, p.384
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Fragile Blossom (Harper, 1972) p.95, in James H. Buck, ‘The Japanese Military in the 1980s,’ in James H. Buck (ed.), The Modern Japanese Military System, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills/London, 1975, p.220
  3. [1][dead link]
  4. Category:JGSDF Type 82 (CCV) Wikimedia Commons
  5. http://www.military-today.com/apc/type_87.htm
  6. ARG. "Type 96 Armored Personnel Carrier". Military-Today.com. http://www.military-today.com/apc/type_96_apc.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  7. http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/12%E5%BC%8F%E5%9C%B0%E5%AF%BE%E8%89%A6%E8%AA%98%E5%B0%8E%E5%BC%BE Japanese Wikipedia entry on the Type 12 SSM, Accessed 9th July 2013.
  8. "TRDI Department of Guided Weapon Systems Development". Mod.go.jp. http://www.mod.go.jp/trdi/en/programs/ground/ground.html. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  9. "New Multipurpose Helicopter UH-X Ordered". Kawasaki Heavy Industries. March 28, 2012. http://www.khi.co.jp/english/pressrelease/detail/20120328_3.html. 
  10. "資料17 主要航空機の保有数・性能諸元". Clearing.mod.go.jp. http://www.clearing.mod.go.jp/hakusho_data/2009/2009/html/ls229000.html. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  11. "Enstrom delivers first helicopter to JGSDF". Shephard Group. http://www.shephard.co.uk/news/rotorhub/enstrom-delivers-first-helicopter-to-jgsdf/8562/. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  12. "Eurocopter Canada - News 04/07/06". Eurocopter.ca. http://www.eurocopter.ca/asp/cmNews060407-2.asp. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  13. EADS Press Release - Japan Defense Agency Received First EC225 In VIP Configuration For The Japanese Emperor’s Royal Flight Service[dead link]
  14. "Fuji FFOS (Japan), Unmanned helicopters - Rotary-wing - Military". Jane's Information Group. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Helicopter-Markets-and-Systems/Fuji-FFOS-Japan.html. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  15. GSDF Fuji School 57th Open Day 2011 [Part Two] Japan Security Watch, Aug 21, 2011
  16. Insitu Pacific Delivers ScanEagle UAS for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force - Defense-Aerospace.com, May 14, 2013
  17. "Yamaha RMAX (Japan), Unmanned helicopters - Rotary-wing - Civil". Jane's Information Group. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Helicopter-Markets-and-Systems/Yamaha-RMAX-Japan.html. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Licensed by Howa.
  19. Small number of M3s are held in reserve by various JGSDF special forces units.
  20. Type 60 Armored Personnel Carrier (Military-Today.com)
  21. The rise of the Land Cruiser (Go4x4.eu)
  22. 2FQ-15 The Old Land Cruiser Company website
  23. http://www.brian894x4.com/MilitaryFQ15.html Toyota FQ-10 / FQ-15 / HQ-15 (195?-196?), MILITARY TOYOTAS
  24. Fuji LM-1 Nikko kamov.net

References[]

External links[]

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