July 31, 2012
Credit: Credit: Japanese Defense Ministry
Japan flagged as a potential risk a possible rise in China’s military’s role in shaping Beijing’s foreign policy in its latest defense white paper on Tuesday, and said North Korea remained a serious regional threat under its new leader.
Following are some facts about Japan’s military.
SIZE AND CAPABILITIES
Japan has a standing military of about 225,000 personnel, about one-tenth of China’s and one-fifth of North Korea’s, but bigger than that of Britain.
Japan’s military is equipped with advanced and costly combat gear such as destroyers fitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system, which were deployed earlier this year in response to North Korea’s rocket launch.
Its latest procurement includes Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter jets, which cost 10.2 billion yen ($123 million) apiece.
But Japan’s military, known as Self-Defence Forces (SDF), is untested in battle, as the country has not engaged in armed conflict since its defeat in World War Two.
Japan, the only nation to have suffered nuclear attacks, has a self-imposed ban against owning nuclear weapons and relies on the nuclear umbrella of the United States, its close security ally. Operating under a pacifist constitution, the SDF does not own attack-oriented aircraft carriers or long-range bombers.