Special Forces Group (Japan)

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Special Forces Group
SOG flag.jpg
Official Japanese Special Operations Group Flag
ActiveMarch 27, 2004–present
Country Japan
Branch Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
TypeSpecial Forces
RoleSpecial operations
Direct Action
Airborne assault
Unconventional Warfare
Domestic and International Counter-Terrorism
SizeClassified, estimated 300
Part ofGround Self-Defense Force
Garrison/HQNarashino Garrison, Funabashi, Chiba
Nickname(s)SFGp/Special Forces Group
(New Name)
SOG/Special Operations Group (Old Name)
EngagementsIraqi occupation
Takanori Hirata (Colonel)
SFGp Pin Badge

The Special Forces Group (特殊作戦群, Tokushusakusengun) is the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's counter-terrorist unit established by the former Japanese Defense Agency to counter terrorist activities and deter guerrilla-style attacks on Japanese soil[1] and to conduct military operations, like the 1st Airborne Brigade, against guerrillas or enemy commandos.[2][3] The unit is based in Narashino, Chiba garrison[3] in Funabashi, Chiba with the 1st Airborne Brigade. The unit was formerly known as the Special Operations Group.[3]

The SFGp has been referred to as Japan's Delta Force,[4] due to their specialized role in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

U.S Delta Force personnel had been responsible for assisting the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in raising the SFGp's foundations prior to its establishment.[5]

The civilian counterpart of the SFGp is the Japan National Police Agency's Special Assault Team.


In 1998, the Japan Defense Agency had proposed the formation of a unit in the JGSDF that would handle tasks such as counter-terrorism with a selected group of JGSDF soldiers from the 1st Airborne Brigade sent to the United States to be trained by Delta Force operators.[5][6] At the same time, two platoons were created from the brigade as a means of creating the unit's foundations. These consist of the G Platoon (Formation Unit) and the S Platoon (Research Unit).[5]

The establishment of the unit's framework had been completed in 2003, after 3 years of training and organisation.[5] The unit's structure is based on that of the United States Army's Delta Force and Green Berets.[4]

On March 27, 2004, the Japan Defense Agency had activated the unit as the Special Operations Group with the mandate under the JGSDF as its Counter-terrorist unit.[5]

In 2005, the SFGp had deployed four of its operators to serve as bodyguards for the Japanese commander of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's contingent in Iraq under the Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group.[4]

On March 28, 2007, the SFGp merged with the 1st Airborne Brigade, the 1st Helicopter Brigade and the 101st NBC Protection Unit to create the Central Readiness Force.[7][8]

The unit changed its name on March 26, 2008 from SOG to SFGp or the Special Forces Group.[9]

The SFGp conducted one of their few exercises before the presence of the Australian and Japanese prime ministers on January 18, 2018.[10]


JGSDF SFGp commandos standing at attention during a 2007 ceremony.


Potential recruits to the SFGp are drawn from Ranger-qualified personnel of the 1st Airborne Brigade. As such, all SFGp soldiers are Airborne-qualified.[5]

For specialized training, the 1st Platoon have their freefall training under the 1st Airborne Brigade with the 2nd Platoon under the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.[5]

The SFGp has a training facility inside the JGSDF Narashino, Chiba camp to conduct training on various techniques, especially on CQB tactics.


Assault rifles[edit]

Battle Rifles[edit]

Submachine guns[edit]


Sniper rifles[edit]



The SFGp has access to equipment used by the JGSDF, such as the Komatsu LAVs and Toyota Koukidoushas for transport and reconnaissance use. They also work in conjunction with the 1st Helicopter Brigade to provide mobility support, though they can be also deployed via C-130 Hercules aircraft.[15]

Unit features[edit]

As part of regulating and protecting the identities of the various soldiers serving in the SFGp, their faces are hidden in balaclavas and cannot be revealed except with authorization from their commanding officers.[3][16] It is said that personnel cannot enter certain areas of their Narashino camp, such as the SFGp barracks, unless they have the proper identification with them.


  1. ^ "Japan Sets Up Its 1st Special Ground Operations Unit". Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. 2004-03-29. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  2. ^ "What is the CRF (Central Readiness Force)?". Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  3. ^ a b c d 特殊作戦群 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  4. ^ a b c "Japan launches counter-terrorism force". The China Post. 2007-04-07. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Archived December 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ https://medium.com/war-is-boring/japan-doesn-t-need-a-hostage-rescue-force-fe2f78649d68
  7. ^ Archived June 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ 일본 자위대 신속대응전력 대폭 증강 (PDF) (in Korean). Defense Media Agency. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  9. ^ "特殊作戦群 Special Forces Group (SFGp)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  10. ^ https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/special-operations/japan-highlights-sof-capabilities/
  11. ^ 全文掲載:飯柴大尉の声明文. Retrieved on January 12, 2009. (in Japanese)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g 陸上自衛隊唯一の特殊部隊 特殊作戦群の解説 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  13. ^ a b c 自衛隊の採用する銃 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  14. ^ a b c d 14hk093 (PDF) (in Japanese) Retrieved 2015-05-26
  15. ^ "Japan Primer". University of Texas. 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2007-10-06.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  16. ^ Nao Shimoyachi (2004-03-30). "GSDF inaugurates undercover antiterrorist squad". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
Miscellaneous notes
  1. ^ Companies of the Japanese Special Forces Group are under the command of a Major.
  2. ^ Company HQ and the platoons under it are also found within the 2nd and 3rd SOG companies.
  3. ^ Commanded by a Lieutenant.

External links[edit]