"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] National Defense Program Outline

[Date] October 29, 1976
[Source] Defense of Japan 1989, pp.262-266, Japan's Foreign Relations-Basic Documents Vol.3, pp.262-266.
[Full text]

DSB, Jan. 1979, p. 25. by the National Defense Council, and approved on the same day by the Cabinet

A National Defense Program Outline for the years after fiscal 1977 was decided on as described in the attached paper.

Attached Paper

National Defense Program Outline

1. Objectives

Japan's possession of a defense capability within the scope permitted by the Constitution is not only a concrete expression of the people's will to safeguard the nation's peace and independence, but also aims - together with the Japan-United States security arrangement - directly at forestalling any aggression against Japan and repelling such aggression should it occur. Concurrently, the very fact that Japan firmly maintains such a defense posture contributes as well to the international political stability of Japan's neighboring region.

A major consideration in this regard is the nature of the defense capability which Japan should possess. Assuming that the international political structure in this region - along with continuing efforts for global stabilization - will not undergo any major changes for some time to come, and that Japan's domestic conditions will also remain fundamentally stable, the most appropriate defense goal would seem to be the maintenance of a full surveillance posture in peacetime and the ability to cope effectively with situations up to the point of limited and small-scale aggression. The emphasis is on the possession of the assorted functions required for national defense, while retaining balanced organization and deployment, including logistical support. At the same time, it is felt that consideration should be given to enabling this defense posture to contribute to the domestic welfare through disaster-relief operations and other such programs.

Japan has steadily improved its defense capability through the drafting and implementation of a series of four defense buildup plans. At this time, the present scale of defense capability seems to closely approach the target goals of the above-mentioned concept.

This outline is meant to serve as a guideline for Japan's future defense posture in the light of that concept. Based on the information given below, efforts will be made to qualitatively maintain and improve defense capability, and fulfill the purpose of that capability, in specific upgrading, maintenance and operation of defense functions.

2. International Situation

An analaysis of the current international situation, at the time of drafting this outline, was made as follows:

During recent years, the world community has witnessed a pronounced trend toward more diversified international relations. While nationalistic movements have become more active in some countries, simultaneously there has been marked intensification of interdependence among nations.

Against this background, the major geopolitical blocs of East and West - which center on the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union and their continued overwhelming military strengths - have continued a dialogue aimed at avoiding nuclear war and improving mutual relations, allowing for certain twists and turns along the path. In many individual regions as well, various efforts are being made to avoid conflict and stabilize international relations.

Deeply-rooted factors for assorted confrontations remain within the East-West relationship revolving around the United States and the Soviet Union, however, and intra-regional situations as well are fluid in many aspects with various elements of instabiIity observable.

Within the general neighborhood of Japan, an equilibrium exists, involving the three major powers of the United States, the Soviet Union and China. Tension still persists on the Korean Peninsula, however, and military buildups continue in several countries nearby Japan.

Under present circumstances, though, there seems little possibility of a full-scale military clash between East and West or of a major conflict possibly leading to such a clash, due to the military balance - including mutual nuclear deterrence - and the various efforts being made to stabilize international relations.

Furthermore, while the possibility of limited military conflict breaking out in Japan's neighborhood cannot be dismissed, this equilibrium between the super-powers and the existence of the Japan-U.S. security arangement seems to play a major role in maintaining international stability, and in preventing full-scale aggression against Japan.

3. Basic Defense Concept

(1) Prevention of Armed Invasion

Japan's basic defense policy is to possess an adequate defense capability of its own while establishing a posture for the most effective operation of that capability to prevent aggression. In addition, a defense posture capable of dealing with any aggression should be constructed, through maintaining the credibility of the Japan-U.S. security arrangement and insuring the smooth functioning of that system.

Against nuclear threat Japan will rely on the nuclear deterrent capability of the United States.

(2) Countering Aggression

Should indirect aggression - or any unlawful military activity which might lead to aggression against this nation - occur, Japan will take immediate responsive action in order to settle the situation at an early stage.

Should direct aggression occur, Japan will repel such aggression at the earliest possible stage by taking immediate responsive action and trying to conduct an integrated, systematic operation of its defense capability. Japan will repel limited and small-scale aggression, in principle, without external assistance. In cases where the unassisted repelling of aggression is not feasible, due to scale, type or other factors of such aggression, Japan will continue an unyielding resistance by mobilizing all available forces until such time as cooperation from the United States is introduced, thus rebuffing such aggression.

4. Posture of National Defense

In accordance with the above defense concepts, Japan will maintain a defense capability of the postures spelled out below and the systems described in Section V. This defense capability will meet the functional and postural requirements outlined in Section I as to what Japan should possess. At the same time, it will be standardized so that, when serious changes in situations so demand, the defense structure can be smoothly adapted to meet such changes:

(1) Setup of Warning and Surveillance

Japan's defense structure must possess continuous capability to conduct warning and survelillance missions within Japan's territory and neighboring sea and airspace as well as to collect required intelligence.

(2) Setup for Countering Indirect Aggression and Unlawful Actions by Means of Use of Military Power

(i) Japan's defense structure must possess the capability to act and take the required steps to respond to such cases as intense domestic insurgency with external support, organized personnel infiltration and arms smuggling, or the covert use of force in Japan's nearby sea and airspace.

(ii) Japan's defense structure must be capable of immediate and pertinent action to cope with aircraft invading or threatening to invade Japan's territorial airspace.

(3) Setup for Countering Direct Military Aggression

Japan's defense structure must be capable of taking immediate responsive action against any direct military aggression, in accordance with the type and scale of such aggression. It should be capable of repelling limited and small-scale aggression, in principle without external assistance. In cases where unassisted repelling of aggression is not feasible, it should be capable of continuing effective resistance until such time as cooperation from the United States can be introduced, thus rebuffing such aggression.

(4) Setup of Command Communications, Transportation and Rear Support Services

Japan's defense structure must be able to function in such fields as command communications, transportation, rescue, supply and maintenance, for swift, effective and adequate operations.

(5) Setup of Education and Training of Personnel

Japan's defense structure must be capable of carrying out intensive education and training of personnel at all times for the reinforcement of the personnel foundation of defense capability.

(6) Setup of Disaster-Relief Operations

Japan's defense structure must possess the capability to carry out disaster-relief operations in any areas of the country when required.

Realization of the structuring outlined below for the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces is a basic requirement for maintenance of the defense postures related in Section IV.

5. Posture of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces

In addition, special consideration must be given to promoting systematic cooperation among the three branches of the SDF, and to securing maximum efficiency in integrated operations.

(1) Ground Self-Defense Force

(i) The Ground Self-Defense Force, in order to be capable of swift and effective systematic defense operations from the outset of aggression in any part of Japan, must deploy its divisions and other units with a balance conforming to Japan's natural features.

(ii) The GSDF must possess at least one tactical unit of each of the various types of forces used mainly for mobile operations.

(iii) The GSDF must possess ground-to-air missile units capable of undertaking low-altitude air defense of vital areas.

(2) Maritime Self-Defense Force

(i) The MSDF must possess one fleet escort force as a mobile operating ship unit in order to quickly respond to aggressive action and such situations at sea. The fleet escort force must be able to maintain at least one escort flotilla on alert at all times.

(ii) The MSDF must possess, as ship units assigned to coastal surveillance and defense, surface anti-submarine capability of at least one ship division in operational readiness at all times in each assigned sea district.

(iii) The MSDF must maintain submarine units, anti-submarine helicopter units and minesweeping units, providing the capability for surveillance and defense missions as well as minesweeping at important harbors and major straits when such necessity arises.

(iv) The MSDF must maintain fixed-wing anti-submarine aircraft units in order to provide the capability of carrying out such missions as surveillance and patrol of the nearby seas and surface ship protection.

(3) Air Self-Defense Force

(i) The Air Self-Defense Force must possess aircraft control and warning units capable of vigilance and surveillance throughout Japanese airspace on a continuous basis.

(ii) The ASDF must possess fighter units and high-altitude ground-to-air missile units for air defense, to provide the capability of maintaining continuous alert to take immediate and appropriate steps against violations of Japan's territorial airspace and air incursions.

(iii) The ASDF must possess units capable of engaging in such missions as interdicting airborne or amphibious landing invasion, air support, aerial reconnaissance, early warning against low-altitude intrusion and air transportation as the necessity arises.

Descriptions of the actual scales of organizations and primary equipment under the foregoing concepts are given in the attachment.

6. Basic Policy and Matters to Be Taken Into Consideration in Building Up Defense Capablities

The basic goal in improving Japan's defense capability must be the maintenance of the postures outlined in Sections IV and V, with due consideration to qualitative improvements aimed at parity with the technical standards of other nations. In addition to carefully adapting to changing economic and fiscal conditions in harmony with government policies in other fields, the points below should be borne in mind when defense improvements are actually implemented.

Decisions on major projections in fiscal yearly defense improvement programs will be submitted to the National Defense Council for consultation. The actual scope of such major projections will be decided by the Cabinet, after consultation with the National Defense Council.

(1) Establishment of reasonable standards for personnel recruitment and consideration of measures aimed at securing quality personnel and enhancing morale.

(2) Effective maintenance and improvement of defense facilities and attempts to harmonize such facilities with the surrounding communities through consideration of environmental protection, such as anti-noise measures.

(3) Effective implementation of equipment acquisition programs, with overall consideration of such factors as swift emergency resupply, acceptable education and training ease and cost efficiency. Attention should also be given to the possibility for adequate domestic production of the equipment in question.

(4) Improvement of the technical research and development system for the maintenance and improvement of qualitative levels of defense capability.