Roles

Creation of Tough & Resilient Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 
-Toward realizing Dynamic Joint Defense Force-

Ground defense force as in the new National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG’14)

 On December 17, 2013, the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) for FY 2014 and beyond was approved by the Cabinet as new initiatives to provide orientation of Japan’s national defense. The NDPG articulates that it is necessary to build more effective defense force which is adaptive to the circumstances and seamlessly operational in execution of a wide range of activities through its joint operation capabilities. According to the NDPG, Japan will build a “Dynamic Joint Defense Force,” which emphasizes readiness, sustainability, resiliency and connectivity in both software and hardware, supported by advanced technology and C3I capabilities, with significant consideration in wide scope of logistic support. To this end, the GSDF will create a Ground Central Command which is to provide unified nation-wide command over regional armies, to facilitate joint operations and Japan-U.S. bilateral operations. To reinforce the three key steps in remote islands, defense which are “prepositioning units”, “rapidly deploying units,” and “recapturing invaded islands,” the GSDF will promote peacetime deployment of units on the relevant remote islands, organization of rapid deployment divisions and brigades which are adaptable to projection to the islands, and establishment of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. Through these initiatives, the GSDF will build an “Adaptive Agile Ground Defense Force,” which can be rapidly deployed in phased sequence and functioning as effective deterrence vehicles and countermeasures upon a wide variety of contingencies.

The Role of Defense Power

Effective deterrence and response to contingencies

Security in surrounding waters and airspace

Response to attacks on islands (prepositioning of units, rapid deployment of units, and recapture of invaded islands)

Response to attacks by ballistic missiles, guerrillas or special forces

Countermeasures to aggression in outer space and cyberspace

Response to large-scale disasters


AH-64D helicopter boarding a MSDF destroyer in support of island landing operations

Type-12 Surface-to-Ship Missile System bearing the key role of eliminating enemy ships

Evacuation and rescue of residents of the islands

GSDF servicemembers for protection of ASDF’s surface-to-air missiles

Countermeasures to guerrilla/special forces attacks

Response to large-scale earthquake disasters (search and rescue of the missing)

Stabilization of the Asia-Pacific region and improvement of the global security environment

Training and exercises

Defense cooperation and exchanges

Capacity building

Maritime security

International peace cooperation activities

Arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation


Japan-U.S. bilateral training

Japan-U.S. bilateral army command post exercise

Senior-level meeting between GSDF Chief of Staff General Iwata, the commander of the U.S. Army Pacific and the commander of the III Marine Expeditionary Force

Capacity building in Cambodia

Counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden

Participation in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan