Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
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 148,000 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.
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 148,000, its apparent importance has 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:
- one armored division (7th),
- eight infantry divisions, each with three or four battalion-sized infantry regiments,
- five infantry brigades (11th Brigade, 12th Brigade, 13th Brigade, 14th Brigade, and 15th Brigade)
- one airborne brigade (1st Airborne Brigade),
- four combined (training) brigades,
- one training brigade,
- one artillery brigade,
- two air defense brigades,
- four engineer brigades,
- one helicopter brigade with twenty-four squadrons and two anti-tank helicopter platoons.
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:
- CRF: Central Readiness Force (中央即応集団 Chūō Sokuō Shūdan): Nerima, Tokyo
- Western Army Infantry Regiment (西部方面普通科連隊 Seibu Hōmen Futsū-ka Rentai)
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.
- Northern Army, headquartered in Sapporo, Hokkaidō
- North Eastern Army, headquartered in Sendai, Miyagi
- Eastern Army, headquartered in Nerima, Tokyo
- Central Army, headquartered in Itami, Hyōgo
- Western Army, headquartered at Kumamoto, Kumamoto
- 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
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 75 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (140)
- M110 howitzer (90)
- M270 MLRS (99)
- Type 99 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (99)
- FH-70 (480)
- M2 107mm Mortar
- Type 64 81mm Mortar
- L16 81mm Mortar
- RT 120mm Mortar
- Type 96 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar
- Type 82 Command and Communication Vehicle (250)
- Type 87 Reconnaissance and Warning Vehicle (100)
- Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle
- Komatsu Light Armored Vehicle (More than 1,965 as 2011)
- Type 01 Light Anti-Tank Missile (1,073)
- Type 79 Anti-Landing craft and Anti-Tank Missile
- Type 87 Anti-Tank Missile
- Type 88 Surface-to-Ship Missile
- Type 96 Multi-Purpose Missile System
- Middle range Multi Purpose Missile System(Chū-MPMS) (46)
- FIM-92A Stinger (80)
- Type 81 Short-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (57)
- Type 91 Portable Surface-to-Air Missile (210)
- Type 93 Short-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (90)
- Type 03 Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile
- Hitachi Type 73
- Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck
- Toyota Type 73 Medium Truck
- Isuzu Type 73 Heavy Truck
- Toyota High Mobility Vehicle
- SCK/Minebea 9mm Pistol
- H&K USP(Only Japanese Special Forces Group.)
- Howa Type 89 (120,030)
- Howa Type 64 (230,000)
- Type 06 rifle grenade
- H&K MP7(Only Japanese Special Forces Group.)
- Minebea 9mm Machine Pistol
- Sumitomo MINIMI 5.56mm Machine Gun (4656)
- M24 Sniper Rifle
- Howa Type 64 Sniper Rifle
- NTK/Sumitomo Type 62 machine gun
- NTK/Sumitomo Type 74 In-vehicle machine gun
- Sumitomo M2 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun
- Howa Type 96 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher
- M4 carbine (Only Japanese Special Forces Group.)
- M203 grenade launcher (Only Japanese Special Forces Group.)
- Howa 84RR
- Nissan/IHI Aerospace 110mm LAM
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
- NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle - Successor to the Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle and the Biological Reconnaissance Vehicle.
- Light-weight Combat Vehicle (LCV) System
- Maneuver Combat Vehicle
- Kawasaki UH-X - Successor to the UH-1J Helicopter.
The JGSDF operates 469 aircraft, including 458 helicopters.
|Beechcraft Super King Air||Utility transport||LR-2||6|
|Bell UH-1||Utility helicopter||UH-1H
|133+130||Built by Fuji|
|Bell AH-1 Cobra||Attack helicopter||AH-1S||90||Built by Fuji|
|Boeing AH-64 Apache||Attack helicopter||AH-64DJP||11|
|Boeing CH-47 Chinook||Transport helicopter||CH-47J
|54||Built by Kawasaki|
|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|||
|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|
|UH-60 Black Hawk||Transport helicopter||UH-60JA||34||Most built by Mitsubishi|
|Boeing Insitu ScanEagle||Reconnaissance UAV||1||Delivered by Insitu Pacific|
|Yamaha RMAX||Unmanned observation helicopter|||
- M1 Garand semi automatic rifle 
- M1 Carbine only M2 has Selective fire
- M3 submachine gun 
- M1903 Springfield rifle
- M1919 Browning machine gun
- SCK New Nambu M66 submachine gun
- Colt M1911 Pistol
- M1 155 mm Howitzer
- M2A1 105 mm Howitzer
- M2 203 mm Howitzer
- M59 155 mm Cannon
- Type 74 105 mm Self-propelled howitzer
- Type 75 130 mm Multiple Surface-to-Surface Rocket
Anti-tank guided missiles
- M51 75 mm Anti-Aircraft Gun
- M42 40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun
- M-15 Self-propelled anti-aircraft machineguns (M15A1 CGMC)
- L-90 35mm Anti-Aircraft Twin Cannon
- Bofors 40 mm gun
Other armored fighting vehicles
- Type 60 Armored Personnel Carrier
- Type 60 Self-propelled 106 mm Recoilless Rifle
- Japan Self-Defense Forces
- Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group
- Military ranks and insignia of the Japan Self-Defense Forces
- IISS Military Balance 2008, Routledge, London, 2008, p.384
- 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
- [dead link]
- ARG. "Type 96 Armored Personnel Carrier". Military-Today.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "TRDI Department of Guided Weapon Systems Development". Mod.go.jp. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "New Multipurpose Helicopter UH-X Ordered". Kawasaki Heavy Industries. March 28, 2012.
- "資料17 主要航空機の保有数・性能諸元". Clearing.mod.go.jp. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Enstrom delivers first helicopter to JGSDF". Shephard Group. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- "Eurocopter Canada - News 04/07/06". Eurocopter.ca. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- EADS Press Release - Japan Defense Agency Received First EC225 In VIP Configuration For The Japanese Emperor’s Royal Flight Service[dead link]
- "Fuji FFOS (Japan), Unmanned helicopters - Rotary-wing - Military". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Insitu Pacific Delivers ScanEagle UAS for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force - Defense-Aerospace.com, May 14, 2013
- "Yamaha RMAX (Japan), Unmanned helicopters - Rotary-wing - Civil". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Licensed by Howa.
- Small number of M3s are held in reserve by various JGSDF special forces units.
- Globalsecurity.org JGSDF section
- Number of Tanks and Major Artillery and Performance Specifications
- Number of Major Aircraft and Performance Specifications
- Guided Missile Specifications
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Japan Ground Self-Defense Force|
- Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Japanese)