- For the Imperial Japanese Army (1871–1947), please see that article.
- For the Ministry of the Military (Ritsury ) (701–1871), please see that article.
The , or JGSDF, is the Armed Force of Japan. The largest of the three services of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, the Ground Self-Defense Force operates under the command of the chief of the ground staff, based in the city of Ichigaya, Tokyo. The present chief of ground staff is General Eiji Kimizuka( ). The JGSDF numbers around 148,000 soldiers.
The JGSDF was formed from July 1, 1954. For decades its primary concern was internal security in Japan and the opposition of any Soviet invasion of Hokkaido, but with the end of the Cold War, this focus is changing.
Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration in 1945, and, based on Potsdam Declaration Article 9, the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy were dismantled. Both were replaced by United States Armed Forces occupation force, which assumed responsibility for the defense of Japan.
On the outbreak of the Korean War, many U.S. units were transferred to Korea, and Japan was perceived as lacking defences. Encouraged by the American occupation authorities, the Japanese government in July 1950 authorized the establishment of a National Police Reserve, consisting of 75,000 men equipped with light infantry weapons. Under the terms of the Mutual Security Assistance Pact, ratified in 1952 along with the peace treaty Japan had signed with the United States and other countries, United States forces stationed in Japan were to deal with external aggression against Japan while Japanese forces, both ground and maritime, would deal with internal threats and natural disasters. Accordingly, in mid-1952 the National Police Reserve was expanded to 110,000 men and named the National Safety Forces.
The building of the defense ability advanced, and, on July 1, 1954, the National Security Board was reorganized by the Defense Agency, and the National Security Force was reorganized afterwards as the Ground Self-Defense Force, the Marine Self Defense Force, the Air Self-Defense Force.
For a long period, the effectiveness of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to hold off a Soviet invasion of Hokkaido was in doubt, as Zbigniew Brzezinski observed in 1972 that it seemed optimized to fight a Soviet invasion conducted on American patterns of a quarter of a century ago.  While the force is now an efficient army of 148,000, its apparent importance has declined with the end of the Cold War, and attempts to reorient the forces as a whole to new post Cold War missions have been tangled in a series of internal political disputes.
Chief of Staff JGSDF (Eiji Kimizuka)
Regionally the JGSDF is organised into five armies, the Northern Army, North Eastern Army, Eastern Army, Central Army, and Western Army.
JGSDF Middle Army headquarters in Itami, Japan
The GSDF consists of the following tactical units:
- one armored division (7th),
- eight infantry divisions, each with three or four battalion-sized infantry regiments,
- five infantry brigades (11th Brigade, 12th Brigade, 13th Brigade, 14th Brigade, and 15th Brigade)
- one airborne brigade (1st Airborne Brigade),
- four combined (training) brigades,
- one training brigade,
- one artillery brigade,
- two air defense brigades,
- four engineer brigades,
- one helicopter brigade with twenty-four squadrons and two anti-tank helicopter platoons.
JGSDF divisions and brigades are combined arms units with infantry, armored, and artillery units, combat support units and logistical support units. They are a regionally independent and permanent entities. The divisions strength varies between 7,000 to 9,000 personnel, the brigades are smaller with 3,000 to 4,000 personnel.
Special Forces units consist of the following:
The JGSDF has two reserve components: rapid-reaction reserve component ( ) and main reserve component ( ). Members of the rapid-reaction component train 30 days a year. Members of the main reserve train five days a year. As of December 2007, there were 8,425 members of the rapid-reaction reserve component and 22,404 members of the main reserve component.
Operational Structure of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 2011
Disposition of JGSDF combat units
25px Northern Army, headquartered in Sapporo, Hokkaid
25px North Eastern Army, headquartered in Sendai, Miyagi
25px Eastern Army, headquartered in Nerima, Tokyo
25px Central Army, headquartered in Itami, Hy go
25px Western Army, headquartered at Kumamoto, Kumamoto
- Other Units and Organizations
- Material Control Command
- Ground Research & Development Command
- Signal Brigade
- Military Police
- Military Intelligence Command
- Intelligence Security Command
- Ground Staff College
- Ground Officer Candidate School
In 1989, basic training for lower-secondary and upper-secondary academy graduates began in the training brigade and lasted approximately three months. Specialized enlisted and non-commissioned officer (NCO) candidate courses were available in branch schools and qualified NCOs could enter an eight-to-twelve-week officer candidate program. Senior NCOs and graduates of an eighty-week NCO pilot course were eligible to enter officer candidate schools, as were graduates of the National Defense Academy at Yokosuka and graduates of four-year all universities. Advanced technical, flight, medical and command and staff officer courses were also run by the JGSDF. Like the maritime and air forces, the JGSDF ran a youth cadet program offering technical training to lower-secondary school graduates below military age in return for a promise of enlistment.
Soldiers from the 22nd Infantry Regiment of JGSDF training with American Soldiers in a bilateral exercise at Fort Lewis' Leschi Town.
Because of population density and urbanization on the Japanese islands, only limited areas are available for large-scale training, and, even in these areas, noise restrictions are extensive. The JGSDF has adapted to these conditions by conducting command post exercises, map maneuvers, investing in simulators and other training programs, as well as conducting live fire exercises overseas at locations such as the Yakima Training Center in the United States.
File:Type10MBT.jpg|Tank Type 10 Image:Japanese Type 90 Tank - 2.jpg|Tank Type 90 Image:Tank type74 ja02.jpg|Tank Type 74 File:Type89 FV.jpg|Infantry Fighting Vehicle Type 89 File:JGSDF APC Type 96 at JGSDF Camp Shimoshizu 02.jpg|Armored Personnel Carrier Type 96 File:Komatsu LAV - 3.jpg|Komatsu LAV File:JGSDF type 87 Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun 02.jpg|Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Type 87
The JGSDF operates 469 aircraft, including 458 helicopters.
File:AH-64 JGSDF 20080518 2.jpg|AH-64 Apache Image:AH-1S Cobra.jpg|AH-1S Image:OH-1_JGSDF_20080518_4.jpg|OH-1
Anti-tank guided missiles
Other armored fighting vehicles
- ↑ a b IISS Military Balance 2008, Routledge, London, 2008, p.384
↑ Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Fragile Blossom (Harper, 1972) p.95, in James H. Buck, The Japanese Military in the 1980s, in James H. Buck (ed.), The Modern Japanese Military System, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills/London, 1975, p.220
↑ EADS Press Release - Japan Defense Agency Received First EC225 In VIP Configuration For The Japanese Emperor s Royal Flight Service
- ↑ a b Licensed by Howa.
↑ Small number of M3s are held in reserve by various JGSDF special forces units.
bs:Kopnene odbrambeno-oru ane snage Japana de:Bodenselbstverteidigungsstreitkr fte es:Fuerza Terrestre de Autodefensa de Jap n ko: hr:Japanska kopnena vojska id:Angkatan Darat Bela Diri Jepang it:Rikuj Jieitai ka: ms:Pasukan Pertahanan Diri Darat Jepun ja: pt:For a Terrestre de Autodefesa do Jap o ru: th: tr:Japon Kara z Savunma Kuvvetleri uk: vi:L c l ng Ph ng v M t t Nh t B n zh: