JDF Ministry of Defense Japan Defense Focus The Latest News on the Ministry of Defense and Self-Defense Forces
No.21 MARCH 2011

National Defense Program Guidelines

On 17 December 2010, the Government of Japan held a meeting of the Security Council and Cabinet to decide the new National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program. The new Guidelines indicate a new policy for the modality of Japan’s security and defense forces in the current security environment surrounding Japan. And they decided that Japan should no longer base on the traditional “Basic Defense Force Concept,” but aim to develop defense forces that emphasize readiness, mobility and other factors to a greater degree than ever before. Principally, the vision of defense forces in the Guidelines is for approximately the next decade, but the Guidelines will be reviewed and, if necessary, revised in case that there will be major changes in the circumstances. The following is an overview of the Guidelines.

Basic Principles of Japan’s Security

  1. Japan’ s security objectives are: 1) to prevent and eliminate external threat from reaching Japan, 2) to prevent threats from emerging, by improving international security environment and 3) to create global peace and stability and to secure human security.
  2. Japan will achieve these objectives by promoting “Japan’s own efforts,” “cooperation with its ally,” and “multi-layered security cooperation with the international community” in a consolidated manner.
  3. Japan will continue to uphold the basic principles of defence policy including the exclusively defence-oriented policy, not to become a military power that poses a threat to other countries, civilian control, and the three non-nuclear principles.
  4. Japan will participate more actively in international peace cooperation activities.
  5. To address the threat of nuclear weapons, Japan will play active role in international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, and will continue to maintain and improve the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence, with nuclear deterrent as a vital element, through close cooperation with the U.S. and will also appropriately implement its own effort, including ballistic missile defense.

Security Environment Surrounding Japan

  1. The number of so-called “gray zone” disputes (confrontations over territory, sovereignty, economic interest that do not to escalate into wars) is on the increase.
  2. A global shift in the balance of power has been brought about by the rise of emerging powers and the relative change of the U.S. influence.
  3. Issues such as risks related to space and cyberspace, in addition to international terrorism and piracy, have become global security challenges.
  4. It is important that countries that share common interests regularly cooperate with each other.
  5. Specific cooperative measures are being undertaken to resolve challenges particularly in the non-traditional security field in the Asia-Pacific region.
  6. North Korea’s military activities, including those related to nuclear and missile issues, are immediate and grave destabilizing factors to regional security.
  7. Military modernization by China and its expanding and intensifying maritime activities in surrounding waters are, together with insufficient transparency, concerns for the regional and global community.
  8. Russia’s military activities are increasingly robust.
  9. A full-scale invasion against Japan is unlikely to occur today, but the security challenges and destabilizing factors Japan faces are diverse, complex, and intertwined.

Basic Policies to Ensure Japan’s Security

1. Japan’s Own Efforts

  1. Japan will constantly utilize all means to ensure its security, and will seamlessly deal with various contingencies as it unfolds.
  2. Japan will improve its capability to collect and analyze information, while strengthening the information security system. Japan will promote the use and development of outer space development and strengthen its capability in dealing with cyber attacks.
  3. Japan will make coordinated and integrated response to contingencies by making rapid and appropriate decisions. In order to do this Government will implement regular simulations, trainings, and exercises.
  4. After examining the current organization, functions, and structure of the Cabinet related to security issues, Japan will establish a body in the Prime Minister ’s Office dedicated to national security policy coordination among relevant ministers and for providing advice to the Prime Minister.
  5. Japan will participate in international peace cooperation activities in a more efficient and effective manner. Taking into consideration the actual situations of UN peacekeeping operations, Japan will consider how it will participate in future peacekeeping operations, by examining current policies such as the five principles for participation in peacekeeping operations.
  6. Japan will build a “Dynamic Defense Force”that emphasizes carrying out the role of defense force through actual activities of the Self- Defense Forces without basing on the “Basic Defense Force Concept,” which is a concept that places priority on ensuring deterrence through the existence of defense forces perse.
  7. “Dynamic Defense Forces” is a defense force that improves credibility of deterrent through improving when and how forces are used. “Dynamic Defense Force” plays proactive roles in a variety of efforts, including international peace cooperation activities.

2. Cooperation with the Ally

  1. The Japan–U.S. Alliance is indispensable in ensuring for Japan’s peace and security.
  2. Japan will continue to engage in strategic dialogue with the United States to further deepen and develop the Japan–U.S. Alliance.
  3. Japan will promote the regional and global cooperation with the United States in the fields such as outer space and cyberspace security in addition to the existing cooperation.
  4. Japan will reduce the burden on local communities where U.S. military bases are located, while maintaining the deterrence provided by the U.S. forces.

3. Multi-layered Security Cooperation with the International Community

  1. Japan will create a security network by combining bilateral and multilateral security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  2. Japan will enhance security cooperation with countries such as the Republic of Korea, Australia, ASEAN countries, and India.
  3. Japan will strengthen confidence and cooperation with China and Russia.
  4. Japan will also enhance cooperation with EU, NATO, and European countries on global security issues.
  5. Japan will play an active role in international efforts to maintain and strengthen the stable use of maritime, outer space, and cyberspace, facilitate international efforts to promote disarmament and prevent proliferation of WMDs and other means of delivery, and participate in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities.

Future Defense Forces

1. Roles of Defense Forces

  1. Effective deterrence and response (Examples of the priority areas: ensuring security in the sea and air space surrounding Japan, response to attacks on Japan’s offshore islands)
  2. Efforts to further stabilize the security environment of Asia-Pacific region.
  3. Efforts to improve the global security environment.

2. Self-Defense Forces: Force Posture

In order to effectively perform the roles of the defense forces, the Self-Defense Force will maintain a posture with increased readiness, smoother joint operations, international peace cooperation activities in addition to responding various contingencies.

3.Self-Defense Forces: Organization, Equipment and Force Disposition

  1. While reducing Cold War-style equipment and organizations, priority functions, including those in Japan’ s southwestern region, will be enhanced.
  2. Budget allocation among each service of the Self-Defense Forces will be subject to drastic review.
  3. As regards preparation against full-scale invasion, knowledge and expertise will be maintained at a minimum necessary level in light of possible changes in future circumstances.
  4. Priority will be placed on, among others, enhancing the basis for joint operations, improving capabilities to respond to attacks on offshore islands, and strengthening capabilities for international peace cooperation activities.
  5. Details of the organization, equipment, and position of Ground Self-Defense Force, Maritime Self-Defense Force, and Air Self-Defense Force are provided in the NDPG.

Basic Foundations to Maximize Defense Capability

  1. To utilize the human resources of the Self-Defense Forces more effectively, Japan will reform its personnel management system by such measures as reviewing rank and age structure.
  2. Japan will procure equipment more efficiently by improving its contract and procurement systems.
  3. Japan will set forth a strategy to develop and maintain defense production capability and technological bases from a medium-to longterm perspective.
  4. Japan will study measures to respond to changes in the international environment regarding defense equipment.
Ground Self-Defense Force Personnel 154,000
Regular personnel 147,000
Ready Reserve Personnel 7,000
Major Units Regularly deployed units 8 divisions
6 brigades
Mobile operation units Central Readiness Force
1 armored division
Surface-to-air guided missile units 7 anti-aircraft artillery groups/regiments
Major Equipment Tanks Approx. 400
Howitzers and rockets Approx. 400
Maritime Self-Defense Force Major Units Destroyer units 4 flotillas (8 divisions)
4 divisions
Submarine units 6 divisions
Minesweeper units 1 flotilla
Patrol aircraft units 9 squadrons
Major Equipment Destroyers 48
Submarines 22
Combat aircraft Approx. 150
Air Self-Defense Force Major Units Air warning and control units 4 warning groups
24 warning squadrons
1 AEW group (2 squadrons)
Fighter aircraft units 12 squadrons
Air reconnaissance unit 1 squadron
Air transport units 3 squadrons
Aerial refueling/transport unit 1 squadron
Surface-to-air guided missile units 6 groups
Major Equipment Combat aircraft Approx. 340
Fighter Approx. 260
Assets capable of ballistic missile defense (BMD)* Aegis-equipped destroyers **6
Air warning and control units 11 warning groups/squadrons
Surface-to-air guided missile units 6 groups

*The numbers of units and equipment in this row have already been included in the major equipment section of Maritime Self-Defense Forces and the major units section of Air Self-Defense Forces from above.

**Additional acquisition of BMD-capable, Aegis-equipped destroyers, if to be provided separately, will be allowed within the number of destroyers set above after consideration of development of BMD-related technologies and fiscal conditions in the future, among other factors.

Cabinet Decision on Mid-Term Defense Program

The “Mid-Term Defense Program” (FY2011-FY2015) was approved at the Cabinet meeting held on 17 December 2010.

In accordance with the National Defense Program Guidelines, Japan will develop a “Dynamic Defense Force”, which possesses readiness, mobility, flexibility, sustainability and versatility supported by intelligence and advanced technology based on the trend of military technology.

Budget for each fiscal year will be allocated under a total of 23 trillion 390 billion yen. However, additional expenditure up to 100 billion yen with the approval of the Security Council, is introduced in the event where it is recognized as necessary due to pressing circumstances. So, the total defense expenditure is approximately 23 trillion 490 billion yen. This program will be reviewed after three years, taking into consideration of the international security environment and technological trend within the total amount.

I. Program Guidance

Effective and efficient improvement of defense build-up will be carried out effectively and efficiently to build a “Dynamic Defense Force.”

  1. The NDPG identifies three roles that Japan’ s defense should fulfill: to effectively deter and respond to contingencies, and to further stabilize the security environment of the Asia-Pacific and global security environment. To be able to engage swiftly and seamlessly in activities to fulfill these roles, emphasis will be given to among others enhanced joint-ness, enhanced operational capability in remote islands, and enhanced capacity for international peace cooperation activities.
  2. Resource allocation priority will be given to those functions that are versatile, asymmetric response, and irreplaceability. To hedge against full-scale invasions, relevant posture including knowledge and expertise will be maintained at a minimum necessary level.
  3. In order to build a quality defense force, combine the introduction of highly capable equipment and the service-life extension and upgrading of existing equipment.
  4. Conduct thorough revision of existing personnel management system to check and economize personnel expenses, and shift towards a younger SDF age distribution for better robustness of the force. Further promote acquisition reforms thereby providing for increased density and volume of operations.
  5. Japan will promote the measures to strengthen the Japan–U.S. Security Arrangements to deepen and develop the Japan–US Alliance.
  6. In view of the fiscal conditions, Japan will seek economization and check expenditures. Conduct a bold revision of resource allocation, and make focused investments in critically necessary functions and bring about structural reform of the defense force.

II Revision of Major SDF Units

1.Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF)
Implementing reduction in tanks, howitzers and rockets, improvement in mobility and readiness by reorganization of operational units, stationing of units in island areas of southwestern Japan.

2. Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF)
Regionally deployed destroyer units will become mobile units Measures for expanding submarine fleet.

3. Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF)
Shift one fighter squadron to Naha Air base as its second squadron. New A.S.D.F. Yokota base (Air Defense Command will move to Yokota).

4. Authorized Number of SDF Personnel at the End of FY2015 Regular personnel: approx. 246,000 (approx.2,000 decrease from end-of-FY2010 strength) GSDF: approx.157,000(active duty approx.150,000, ready-reserve: approx. 7,000) and the MSDF and ASDF equivalent to their end-of-FY2010 strength.

III. Major Programs Regarding SDF’s Capabilities

1. Effective Deterrence and Response

  • Ensuring security of sea and air apace around Japan(Acquisition and Service-life extension for destroyers, submarines and patrol aircraft)
  • Countering attack against island areas (Acquisition of new fighter aircraft and the implementation of mobilization training)
  • Countering Cyber Attacks(protection improvement of SDF’ s information and telecommunication network)
  • Countering Special Operation Forces Attacks/Guerilla Warfare (Strengthening of infantry units,acquisition of multi-purpose helicopters)
  • Countering Ballistic Missile Attacks (Upgrading of Aegis and Patriot missile systems and promoting Japan-US joint development of ballistic missile defense (BMD) interceptors)
  • Response to “Complex” Contingencies (Improved command and control, logistic support).
  • Response to Large-scale and Special Disasters (Coordination, training, and planning with related organizations, etc.).

2. Further Stabilization of Security Environment of the Asia-Pacific
Development of layered bilateral and multilateral security dialogues, defense cooperation and exchange, and multinational training/exercise to promote security architecture.

3. Improvement of Global Security Environment
Engage in international peace cooperation activities, Promote security architecture.

4. Focus on Capacity Development

  • Integrated and effective response by the three services in countering attacks against island areas and security of air and maritime spaces.
  • International Peace Cooperation Activities (Improve function of the Central Readiness Force, improvement to transportation capability and DDH)
  • Intelligence (Improvement of information gathering facilities, hardware, and devices
  • Science and Technology (Improvement of countering cyber-attacks, research and development).
  • Medical (Upgrading SDF hospitals as hub facilities, recruitment of qualified medical experts, etc)

5. Infrastructure for Defense Force

  • Human resources (Improvement of training infrastructure and educational training. Reform of the National Defense Academy, etc.)
  • Reform of personnel management system (review of age and rank distributions for stronger defense capabilities, management of the number of SDF personnel by each rank, new personnel appoint system and early retirement system for logistic support functions).
  • Streamlining logistics including business in camps and bases.
  • Maintenance and development of infrastructure of defense industry and technology (making strategy on infrastructure of defense industry and technology, etc).
  • Exploring measures to deal with changes in international environment surrounding military equipment.
  • Acquisition reform (improving contract system, etc).
  • Improvement of the operational infrastructure for equipment (Secure fuel and parts for operations, introducing new contract systems relating to maintain equipment)
  • Cooperation with local communities and related organizations ( closer cooperation with related organizations; measures to alleviate the impact of bases)

IV. Measures for Strengthening Japan-US Security Arrangements

Strategic dialogues and policy coordination, strengthening of Japan–U.S. defense cooperation and measures for smooth and effective stationing of United States Forces in Japan, etc.

Service Equipment Quantity
Ground Self-Defense Force Tanks 68
Howitzers and rockets (except mortar) 32
Armored vehicles 75
Ground-based anti-ship missile launchers 18
Attack helicopters (AH-64D) 3
Transportation helicopters (CH-47JA) 5
Middle-range SAM batteries 4
Maritime Self-Defense Force Modification of Aegis-equipped destroyers 2
Destroyers 3
Submarines 5
Other ships 5
Total new ships 13
(Tonnage) Approximately 51,000t
Fixed-wing patrol aircraft (P-1) 10
Patrol helicopters (SH-60K) 26
Minesweeping/transportation helicopters (MCH-101) 5
Air Self-Defense Force Improvement of Patriot SAM batteries 1
Modernization of F-15 16
New fighters 12
New transportation aircraft 10