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Ministry of Defense (Japan)

department of defense japan, ministry of defense of japan
The Ministry of Defense 防衛省, Bōei-shō is a cabinet-level ministry of the Government of Japan It is headquartered in Ichigaya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, and is the largest organ of the Japanese government Headed by the Minister of Defense, the ministry is required by Article 66 of the Constitution to be completely subordinate to civilian authority Before its transition to a cabinet-level ministry, it was named the Defense Agency 防衛庁, Bōei-chō, an agency of the Cabinet Office


  • 1 History
  • 2 Ministers
  • 3 Senior officials
    • 31 Senior Advisers
    • 32 Special Advisers
    • 33 Vice Minister and other officials
    • 34 Military Commanders
  • 4 Organization
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


The Imperial Japanese Army Academy in Ichigaya, Tokyo市ヶ谷陸軍士官学校, built by the second French Military Mission to Japan, on the ground of today's Ministry of Defense 1874 photograph

The Ministry of Defense is headquartered in Ichigaya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, on a site which housed the Imperial Japanese Army Academy 陸軍士官学校, built in 1874, the GHQ of the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II, and of the Ground Self-Defense Force following the war The Japanese Defense Agency was established on July 1, 1954 Until May 2000, it was based in Akasaka currently occupied by Tokyo Midtown

The Ministry of Defense is required by Article 66 of the Constitution to be completely subordinate to civilian authority Its head has the rank of Minister of State He is assisted by two vice ministers, one parliamentary and one administrative; the Defense Facilities Bureau; and the internal bureaus The highest figure in the command structure is the Prime Minister, who is responsible directly to the National Diet In a national emergency, the Prime Minister is authorized to order the various components of the Japan Self-Defense Forces JSDF into action, subject to the consent of the Diet In times of extreme emergency, that approval might be obtained after the fact1

In July 1986, the Security Council was established The council is presided over by the Prime Minister and includes the Ministers of State specified in advance in Article 9 of the Cabinet Law; the Foreign Minister, the Finance Minister, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, the director general of the Defense Agency, and the director general of the Economic Planning Agency The chairman of the Security Council also can invite the chairman of the Joint Staff Council and any other relevant state minister or official to attend Replacing the National Defense Council, which had acted as an advisory group on defense-related matters since 1956, the Security Council addresses a wider range of military and nonmilitary security issues, including basic national defense policy, the National Defense Program Outline, the outline on coordinating industrial production and other matters related to the National Defense Program Outline, and decisions on diplomatic initiatives and defense operations1

The internal bureaus, especially the Bureau of Defense Policy, Bureau of Finance, and the Bureau of Equipment, are often headed by officials from other ministries and are the main centers of power and instruments of civilian control in the Defense Agency The Bureau of Defense Policy is responsible for drafting defense policy and programs, for determining day-to-day operational activities, and for information gathering and analysis in the JSDF The Bureau of Finance is instrumental in developing the Defense Agency budget and in establishing spending priorities for the Defense Agency and the JSDF The Bureau of Equipment, organized into subunits for each of the military services, focuses on equipment procurement Before any major purchase is recommended to the Diet by the Defense Agency, it has to be reviewed by each of these bureaus1

Below these civilian groups are the uniformed JSDF personals Its senior officer is the chairman of the Joint Staff Office, a body that included the chiefs of staff of the ground, maritime, and air arms of the Self-Defense Forces Its principal functions are to advise the director general and to plan and execute joint exercises The three branches maintain staff offices to manage operations in their branches Although rank establishes echelons of command within the JSDF, all three branches are immediately responsible to the director general and are coequal bodies with the Joint Staff Office and the three staff offices1

This structure precludes the concentration of power of the pre-1945 Imperial General Staff and the Supreme War Council general staffs, but it impedes interservice coordination, and there are few formal exchanges among commanders from various branches Moreover, some dissatisfaction has been reported by highranking officers who feel they have little power compared with younger civilian officials in the bureaus, who most often have no military experience To rectify this situation and to increase input by the JSDF in policy matters, in the early 1980s the Joint Staff Office was enlarged to establish better lines of communication between the internal bureaus and the three staff offices A computerized central command and communications system and various tactical command and communications systems were established, linking service and field headquarters with general headquarters at the Defense Agency and with one another1

In the 1980s, efforts were also under way to facilitate a clear and efficient command policy in the event of a crisis The government stood by the principle that military action was permitted only under civilian control, but in recognition that delay for consultation might prove dangerous, ships of the Maritime Self-Defense Force JMSDF began to be armed with live torpedoes, and fighter-interceptors were allowed to carry missiles at all times Although aircraft had long been allowed to force down intruders without waiting for permission from the prime minister, ships were still required to receive specific orders before interdicting invading vessels The Defense Agency had recommended drawing up more complete guidelines to clarify what action JSDF combat units could take in emergencies

Cooperation between the JSDF and other civilian agencies in contingency planning is limited No plans exist to ensure the support of civilian aircraft and merchant fleets in times of crisis, even though the JSDF transportation capabilities are generally judged inadequate In 1990 legislation was being studied to provide the JSDF with the ability to respond in emergency situations not specifically covered by Article 76 of the Self-Defense Forces Law

JSDF training includes instilling a sense of mission Personnel are provided with the scientific and technical education to operate and maintain modern equipment and with the physical training necessary to accomplish their missions

Modern equipment is gradually replacing obsolescent matériel in the JSDF In 1987, the Defense Agency replaced its communications system which formerly had relied on telephone lines of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone with a microwave network incorporating a three-dimensional transmission system using a communications satellite Despite efforts to increase stocks, however, supplies of ammunition and maintenance and repair parts in 1990 remained at less than satisfactory levels

The National Diet had passed into law the change of status of the Defense Agency to a Cabinet-level Defense Ministry2 The Diet's House of Councillors had voted by a majority, including the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, to amend the change3 Bills on transition to the Ministry of Defense became laws on December 15, 2006 Only the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party opposed the change, claiming that it can lead Japan into a future war3 The MOD was formally established on January 9, 2007, taking its present name and status as a ministry4 Subsequently, its Defense Facilities Administrative Agency was dissolved and integrated into the MOD5

In July 2007, the MOD building was attacked by a 21-year-old right-wing activist, who threw a Molotov cocktail in the direction of the building, after forcing his way through the main gate6


The Ministers in the Ministry of Defense are as follows:

  • Minister of Defense 防衛大臣
  • State Minister of Defense 防衛副大臣
  • Parliamentary Vice-Ministers of Defense 防衛大臣政務官

Senior officialsedit

Senior Advisersedit

The Senior Advisers to the Minister of Defense are senior policy advisers to the Minister of Defense

  • Senior Advisers to the Minister of Defense 防衛大臣補佐官

Special Advisersedit

The Special Advisers to the Minister of Defense are special policy advisers to the Minister of Defense

  • Special Advisers to the Minister of Defense 防衛大臣政策参与

Vice Minister and other officialsedit

The Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense, the senior civil-servant at the Ministry of Defense, has the role of coordinating the affairs of the Ministry and of supervising the Ministry's bureaus and organs

  • Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense 防衛事務次官
  • Vice-Minister of Defense for International Affairs 防衛審議官
  • Private Secretary of the Minister of Defense 防衛大臣秘書官

Military Commandersedit

The Chief of Staff, Joint Staff is the highest-ranking military officer of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and the senior military adviser to the Minister of Defense and the Government He is supported by the Vice Chief of Staff, Joint Staff and by the chiefs of staff of the three service branches of the Self Defense Forces He is appointed by the Minister of Defense, approved by the Cabinet

  • Chief of Staff, Joint Staff 統合幕僚長
  • Vice Chief of Staff, Joint Staff 統合幕僚副長
  • Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force 陸上幕僚長
  • Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force 海上幕僚長
  • Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self Defense Force 航空幕僚長


The Ministry of Defense includes a number of organizations:

Internal Bureaus 内部部局
  • Minister's Secretariat 大臣官房
  • Bureau of Defense Policy 防衛政策局
  • Bureau of Operational Policy 運用政策局
  • Bureau of Personnel and Training 人事教育局
  • Bureau of Finance and Equipment 経理装備局
  • Bureau of Local Cooperation 地方企画局
Councils, etc 審議会等
  • Self Defense Forces Personnel Ethics Review Board 自衛隊員倫理審査会
  • Central Council on Defense Facilities 防衛施設中央審議会
  • Defense Personnel Review Board 防衛人事審議会
  • Review Board on the Recognition of Prisoner of War Status 捕虜資格認定等審査会
  • Evaluation Committee for Incorporated Administrative Agencies 独立行政法人評価委員会
  • Defense Procurement Council 防衛調達審議会
Facilities, etc 施設等機関
  • National Defense Academy 防衛大学校
  • National Defense Medical College 防衛医科大学校
  • National Institute for Defense Studies 防衛研究所
Extraordinary Organs 特別の機関
  • Defense Council 防衛会議
  • Joint Staff 統合幕僚監部
    • Joint Staff College 統合幕僚学校
  • Ground Staff Office 陸上幕僚監部
  • Maritime Staff Office 海上幕僚監部
  • Air Staff Office 航空幕僚監部
  • Ground Self Defense Force 陸上自衛隊
  • Maritime Self Defense Force 海上自衛隊
  • Air Self Defense Force 航空自衛隊
  • Defense Intelligence Headquarters 情報本部
  • Technical Research and Development Institute 技術研究本部
  • Equipment Procurement and Construction Office 装備施設本部
  • Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance 防衛監察本部
  • Foreign Military Supply Tribunal 外国軍用品審判所
Common Institutions 共同の機関
  • Self Defense Forces Central Hospital 自衛隊中央病院
  • Self Defense Forces District Hospitals 自衛隊地区病院
  • Self Defense Forces Physical Training School 自衛隊体育学校
  • Self Defense Forces Provincial Cooperation Offices 自衛隊地方協力本部
Common Units 共同の部隊
  • Self Defense Forces C4 Systems Command 自衛隊指揮通信システム隊
  • Self Defense Forces Intelligence Security Command 自衛隊情報保全隊
Local Branch Bureaus 地方支分部局
  • Regional Defense Bureaus 地方防衛局
Examples: Okinawa Defense Bureau 沖縄防衛局 Naha Regional Defense Facilities Administration Bureau 那覇地方防衛施設局 Incorporated Administrative Agencies 独立行政法人
  • Labor Management Organization for USFJ Employees 駐留軍等労務管理機構

See alsoedit

  • Japan Self-Defense Forces
  • Defense Diplomacy
  • International Peace Cooperation Activities Training Unit
  • Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter
  • United States Forces Japan


  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2locgov/frd/cs/ - Japan
  1. ^ a b c d e http://lcweb2locgov/cgi-bin/query/rfrd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+jp0280%29
  2. ^ Hiroshi Hiyama 2007-01-09 "Japan Launches First Defense Ministry Since WWII" Space War 
  3. ^ a b Harumi Ozawa 2006-11-30 "Breaking Taboo, Japan Votes To Create Defense Ministry" Space War 
  4. ^ "About Ministry" Retrieved 2009-03-19 
  5. ^ "Special Feature: The Defense Agency's Transition to the Ministry of Defense" Japanese Ministry of Defense January 2007 Retrieved 2010-01-27 
  6. ^ "Japan creates defense ministry" Japan News Review 2007-07-25  External link in |publisher= help

External linksedit

  • Ministry of Defense

Coordinates: 35°41′35″N 139°43′41″E / 35693°N 139728°E / 35693; 139728

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