History of NDA

In 1950 when the National Police Reserve was organized, then Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida wanted to create a national school that could educate, motivate, and train career officers for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

On August 1, 1952, the National Safety Academy was established under the provisions of the National Safety Agency Establishment Law, and Prime Minister Yoshida appointed Dr. Tomoo Maki, a professor of law at Keio University, to be its first president.

The National Safety Academy opened on April 1, 1953, at Kurihama, Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and admitted its first class of 400 cadets, of whom 300 were for the Ground Safety Force and 100 for the Maritime Safety Force.

On July 1, 1954, with enactment of the National Defense Agency Establishment Law, the name of the academy was changed from the National Safety Academy to the National Defense Academy.

Air Self-Defense Force

Cadets leading a JSDF Anniversary Parade

In 1955, the number of cadets admitted each year to the academy was increased to 530 with the addition of 130 career officers for the newly formed Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF).

The academy’s graduate program began in the 1962 academic year and offered courses in electronic engineering.

Courses in aerospace engineering,mechanical engineering, applied physics, materials engineering, geo-scientific engineering, and operations research were added later.

In 1974 the educational curriculum, which until then offered only science engineering courses, was expanded to include social science courses as well.

On March 22, 1992, the first bachelor’s degrees were awarded to the graduating cadets of the academy; on April 1 of the same year, the first women were admitted to the academy; and on September 18, the first master’s degrees were awarded to graduates of NDA’s Graduate School.

On April 1, 1997, the Graduate School of Security Studies was established.

On April 1, 2000, the academy’s undergraduate courses were divided into six schools and twenty-one departments (three departments in the School of Humanities and Social Science, eleven in the three Schools of Science and Engineering, four in the School of Liberal Arts and General Education, and three in the School of Defense Sciences).

On April 1, 2001, the Graduate School of Science and Engineering began offering a doctoral program.

The Graduate School of Security Studies likewise began offering a doctoral program on April 1, 2009.

Since 2006, NDA has extended one semester exchange programs to foreign cadet academies including the three academies of USA, Canada, and France, and is to be expanded to South Korea, Germany and Qatar in 2011.

In 2010, Area Studies covering 14 countries and areas were created, and each cadet has to learn at least one foreign area.

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