Japan’s Armed Forces: Yes, No, Maybe!

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister, wants to end questions about the legality (or otherwise) and appropriate use of Japan’s not-quite army, the Self-Defence Forces (SDF), by amending Article 9, the constitution’s iconic pacifist clause.

Japan’s, war-renouncing, constitution is on display at the National Archives in Tokyo, and was written by an occupying (US) army in 1946.

This clause prohibits Japan from maintaining land, sea or air forces, which sits a little awkwardly with
the SDF’s 250,000-odd servicemen, 1,600 aircraft and a fleet boasting four large helicopter-carriers.

It also leads to endless debates about whether it is legitimate for Japan to participate in international
peacekeeping missions, for example.



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