"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 Guidelines, FY 2005-

[Place] Tokyo, Japan
[Date] December 10, 2004
[Source] Ministry of Defense of Japan
[Full text]


Approved by the Security Council and the Cabinet on December 10, 2004

I. Purpose

II. Security Environment Surrounding Japan

III. Basic Principles of Japan’s Security Policy IV. Future Defense Forces

V. Additional Elements for Consideration Attached Table

I. Purpose

In order to ensure the peace and safety of Japan and peace and stability of the international community, given the current security environment surrounding our country, the Security Council and Cabinet of the Government of Japan approved the “National Defense Program Guidelines, FY 2005-.” The Guidelines build on the December 19, 2003 Security Council and Cabinet decision, “On Introduction of Ballistic Missile Defense System and Other Measures.”

II. Security Environment Surrounding Japan

1. The 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States demonstrated that, in addition to such traditional problems as inter-state military confrontations, non-state actors such as international terrorist organizations have emerged as a dire threat in today’s security environment.

Against a backdrop of increased interdependence and growing globalization, the international community is facing urgent new threats and diverse situations to peace and security, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, as well as international terrorist activities (hereinafter "new threats and diverse situations"). We need to bear in mind that conventional forms of deterrence may no longer work effectively against international terrorist organizations, which have neither states nor citizens to protect.

Ten years have passed since the end of the Cold War. Mutual cooperation and interdependence among major countries have deepened, as exemplified by the growing trust between the United States and the Russian Federation. Since a stable international environment serves the interests of all nations, greater efforts at international coordination and cooperation on security issues have taken root in the international community, including those within the framework of international organizations such as the United Nations.

In this context, the United States, as the sole superpower, continues to contribute significantly to international peace and stability by taking active measures to combat terrorism and to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In the meantime, the use of military force now plays a broader role in the international community than simply deterring or responding to armed conflict: Military force is also used for a variety of purposes, including the prevention of conflict and the reconstruction assistance.

2. As a result of the further expansion and deepening of interdependence among the nations in recent years, greater efforts are also being made to promote and strengthen bilateral and multilateral coordination and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. However, although Russia has drastically reduced its armed forces in the Far East since the end of the Cold War, massive military might, including nuclear arsenals, continue to exist in the region, and a number of countries are pouring in efforts to modernize their military forces. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is unpredictable and cross-Taiwan Strait relations remain uncertain.

North Korea is engaged in the development, deployment and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and it maintains a large number of special operations forces. Such military activities by North Korea constitute a major destabilizing factor to regional and international security, and are a serious challenge to international non-proliferation efforts.

China, which has a major impact on regional security, continues to modernize its nuclear forces and missile capabilities as well as its naval and air forces. China is also expanding its area of operation at sea. We will have to remain attentive to its future actions.

The close and cooperative relationship between Japan and the United States, based on the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, continues to play an important role for the security of Japan as well as for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. In light of the security environment surrounding our country, as outlined above, even though a full-scale invasion against Japan is increasingly unlikely, Japan must now deal with new threats and diverse situations in addition to regional security issues.

4. In considering Japan's security, we have to take into account vulnerabilities resulting from: limited strategic depth; long coast lines and numerous small islands; a high population density; the concentration of population and industry in urban areas; and a large number of important facilities in coastal areas, in addition to frequent natural disasters due to Japan's geological and climatic conditions, and the security of sea lines of communication which are indispensable to the country's prosperity and growth.

III. Basic Principles of Japan's Security Policy

1. Basic Principles

The first objective of Japan’s security policy is to prevent any threat from reaching Japan and, in the event that it does, repel it and minimize any damage. The second objective is to improve the international security environment so as to reduce the chances that any threat will reach Japan in the first place. Japan will achieve these objectives by both its own efforts as well as cooperative efforts with the United States, Japan's alliance partner, and with the international community.

To this end, Japan will: support United Nations activities for international peace and security; make diplomatic efforts to promote cooperative relationships with other countries; further develop its close cooperative relationship with the United States, based on the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements; establish a basis for national security by preserving domestic political stability; and, develop efficient defense forces.

Based on the Constitution of Japan, and the ideas of maintaining the exclusively defensive defense policy by not becoming a military power that might pose a threat to other countries, Japan will continue to uphold the fundamental principles of developing modest defense forces of its own under civilian control and will continue to adhere to the three non-nuclear principles.

To protect its territory and people against the threat of nuclear weapons, Japan will continue to rely on the U.S. nuclear deterrent. At the same time, Japan will play an active role in creating a world free of nuclear weapons by taking realistic step-by-step measures for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan also will play an active role in international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts regarding other types of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, such as missiles.

2. Japan's Own Efforts

(1) Basic Ideas

Based on the premise that any country's security depends first and foremost on its own efforts, Japan will utilize all appropriate means to prevent any threat from reaching the country. In addition, based on the principle of acting closely with the international community and its alliance partner - the United States - Japan will engage in diplomatic and other activities to improve the international security environment so as to prevent the emergence of any new threats.

(2) Japan's Integrated Response

In the event that these efforts fail to prevent a threat from reaching Japan, the Government of Japan will take an integrated response by swiftly making appropriate decisions through mechanisms such as the Security Council, and bringing together all relevant organizations. To this end, the Government will improve its ability to collect and analyze information which serves as the basis of the Government’s decision-making. The Self-Defense Forces, police, Japan Coast Guard and other relevant organizations will improve their close cooperation through increased intelligence sharing, joint exercises, and other activities, while appropriately sharing their roles, and improve their overall performances. In addition, the Government will establish national protection systems including those for responding to different types of disasters, by quickly issuing warning signals and promoting mutual cooperation between the central and local governments.

(3) Japan's Defense Forces

Japan's defense forces are the ultimate guarantee of its national security, representing Japan's will and ability to repel any threat that might reach its shores.

Japan has developed its defense forces in accordance with the "National Defense Program Guidelines, FY 1996-" (The Security Council and Cabinet decision on November 28, 1995) which incorporated the key elements of the Basic Defense Force Concept. The Basic Defense Force Concept espouses the idea that, rather than preparing to directly counter a military threat, Japan, as an independent state, should maintain the minimum necessary basic defense forces lest it becomes a destabilizing factor in the region by creating a power vacuum. Combined with the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, this concept has been successful in preventing an armed invasion from occurring.

Given the new security environment, however, future defense forces should be capable of effectively responding to new threats and diverse situations while maintaining those elements of the Basic Defense Force Concept that remain valid. Because the peace and stability of Japan is inextricably linked to that of the international community, Japan should voluntarily and actively participate in activities that nations of the world cooperatively undertake to enhance the international security environment (hereinafter "international peace cooperation activities").

In developing Japan's defense forces, we have to take into account the fact that while the roles that our defense forces have to play are multiplying, the number of young people in Japan is declining as a result of the low birth rate, and fiscal conditions continue to deteriorate.

From this standpoint, Japan will develop multi-functional, flexible, and effective defense forces that are highly ready, mobile, adaptable and multi-purpose, and are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and intelligence capabilities measuring up to the military-technological level of other major countries.

In building such a defense force, without expanding its size, the Government of

Japan will rationalize and streamline personnel, equipment, and operations so as to attain greater results with the limited resources that are available.

3. Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements

The Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements are indispensable in ensuring Japan's security. In addition, the U.S. military presence is critically important to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, where unpredictability and uncertainty continue to persist.

Close cooperative relations between Japan and the United States, based on the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, play an important role in facilitating international efforts to prevent or to respond to new threats and diverse situations, such as terrorism and ballistic missiles attacks.

Japan will proactively engage in strategic dialogue with the United States on wide-ranging security issues such as role-sharing between the two countries and U.S. military posture, including the structure of U.S. forces in Japan, while working to harmonize our perceptions of the new security environment and appropriate strategic objectives.

In doing so, the Government of Japan will bear in mind the need to reduce the excessive burden that the existence of U.S. military bases and facilities places on local communities, while maintaining the deterrent that the U.S. military presence in Japan provides.

In addition, Japan will continue to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements by actively promoting such measures as: intelligence exchange; operational cooperation, including in "situations in areas surrounding Japan"; cooperation on ballistic missile defense; equipment and technology exchange; and, efforts to make the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan smoother and more efficient.

4. Cooperation with the International Community

In order to improve the international security environment and help maintain security and prosperity of Japan, the Government of Japan will actively engage in diplomatic efforts, including the strategic use of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Based on the recognition that the destabilization of the international community by events such as regional conflicts, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and international terrorist attacks would directly affect its own peace and security, Japan will, on its own initiative, actively participate in international peace cooperation activities as an integral part of its diplomatic efforts.

In particular, stability in the region spreading from the Middle East to East Asia is critical to Japan. Japan traditionally has close economic ties with this region, its sea lines of communication run through the region, and Japan depends almost entirely on energy and natural resources from overseas. In this context, Japan will strive to stabilize the region by promoting various cooperative efforts in conjunction with other countries sharing common security challenges.

In order to enable the international community to effectively address the range of new issues in the twenty-first century, measures must be taken to reform the world’s only global and comprehensive international organization - the United Nations - to make it more effective and reliable. Japan will actively pursue this goal.

In the Asia-Pacific region, multilateral frameworks for regional security, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), as well as multilateral efforts to deal with common agendas such as counter-terrorism and counter-piracy are taking root. By continuing to support these positive developments, Japan will continue to play an appropriate role, together with the cooperation with the United States, to promote a stable security environment in the region.

IV. Future Defense Forces

1. Role of the Defense Forces

Based on the recognition di{sic}scribed above, Japan will develop and maintain, in an efficient manner, the necessary Self-Defense Forces posture to effectively carry out missions in the following areas:

(1) Effective Response to the New Threats and Diverse Situations

Japan will deal effectively with the new threats and diverse situations by developing highly responsive and mobile defense force units capable of responding properly to various different situations and by deploying them appropriately in accordance with Japan’s geographical characteristics. Should such a situation emerges, the defense forces will respond quickly and appropriately in smooth and close collaboration with the police and other relevant organizations, thereby providing a seamless response to the situation in accordance with circumstances and designated roles.

Japan's Self-Defense Forces posture to address the key elements of the new threats and diverse situations will be as follows:

a. Response to Ballistic Missile Attacks

We will respond to ballistic missile attacks by establishing necessary defense force structure, including the introduction of ballistic missile defense systems, to deal effectively with ballistic missile attacks. We will adequately respond to the threat of nuclear weapons by doing so, in addition to relying on U.S. nuclear deterrence.

b. Response to Guerrillas and Special Operations Forces Attacks

We will maintain necessary defense force structure to respond effectively to attacks carried out by guerrillas and special operations forces. We will also enhance readiness and mobility of the defense force units, and deal with such attacks in a flexible manner.

c. Response to the Invasion of Japan's Offshore Islands

We will maintain necessary defense force structure to respond effectively to the invasion of Japan's offshore islands, improve and strengthen capabilities to transport and deploy forces, and deal with the invasion in a flexible manner.

d. Patrol and Surveillance in the Sea and Airspace Surrounding Japan, and Response to the Violation of Japan's Airspace and the Intrusion of Armed Special-Purpose Ships and Other Similar Vessels

We will maintain necessary defense force structure, including ships, aircraft and other assets, to carry out around-the-clock patrol and surveillance in the sea and airspace surrounding Japan. We will also maintain fighter aircraft units to respond instantly to the violation of our territorial airspace, as well as combatant ships and other assets in order to respond to armed special-purpose ships operating in waters surrounding Japan, submerged foreign submarines operating in Japan's territorial waters, and other similar vessels.

e. Response to Large-Scale and/or Special-Type (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, and Radiological) Disasters

To deal effectively with large-scale and/or special-type (nuclear, biological,

chemical, and radiological) disasters, where protection of life and property is desperately needed, we will maintain an adequate force structure with defense force units, as well as specialized capabilities and expertise to conduct disaster relief operations in any part of Japan.

(2) Preparations to Deal with Full-Scale Invasion

Since in our judgment, the likelihood of full-scale invasion of Japan has declined and is expected to remain modest in the foreseeable future, we will modify our current defense force building concept that emphasized Cold War-type anti-tank warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-air warfare, and will significantly reduce the personnel and equipment earmarked for a full-scale invasion. However, because the original role of our defense forces is to cope with full-scale invasion and reconstructing these forces can not be accomplished in a short period of time, Japan will continue to maintain the most basic capabilities of its defense forces, while also taking into account developments in neighboring countries and making use of technological progress.

(3) Proactive Efforts to Improve the International Security Environment

In order to engage actively in international peace cooperation activities, we will take the following measures: develop education and training systems, highly responsive force posture for relevant units, and transport and other required capabilities; establish necessary infrastructure to quickly dispatch defense force units overseas and to carry out missions continuously; and, make necessary arrangements to include the promotion of international peace cooperation activities in the Self-Defense Forces mission priorities.

We will strongly promote activities for international peace and stability, including security dialogue and defense exchanges, bilateral and multilateral training and exercises, and arms control and disarmament efforts carried out by international organizations such as the United Nations.

2. Critical Elements of Our Defense Capabilities

Following are the critical elements for developing defense forces capable of carrying out the missions described above.

(1) Enhancing Joint Operation Capabilities

In order to have three services of the Self-Defense Forces work integrally and to enable them to execute their missions swiftly and effectively, we will employ them jointly whenever possible. We will create a central organization to facilitate joint operations, and establish infrastructure for training and education as well as intelligence and communications. In doing so, we will reexamine existing organizations so as to enhance their efficiency.

(2) Strengthening Intelligence Capabilities

In order to employ our defense forces successfully to respond effectively to the new threats and diverse situations, it is imperative for the Government to be able to identify events at the earliest possible time and to collect, analyze, and share intelligence promptly and accurately. For this purpose, we will strengthen our diversified intelligence collection capability and enhance our comprehensive analysis and assessment capability, keeping in mind the changes in the security environment and technological trends. We will also strengthen the Self-Defense Forces’ intelligence structure, including the Defense Intelligence Headquarters, that supports our capabilities. In this way, we will build a sophisticated intelligence capability.

(3) Incorporating the Progress in Science and Technology into Our Defense Forces

We will incorporate the outcome of science and technological progress, in such areas as information and communications technologies, into our defense forces. In particular, we will develop the command and control systems and agile intelligence sharing systems that are indispensable for joint operations, in tune with information and communication technologies available at home and overseas. In addition, we will create advanced systems for command and communications and a network for information and communications, with sufficient protection against possible cyber attacks, to enhance operational and organizational efficiency.

(4) Utilizing Human Resources More Efficiently

We will take various measures to maintain high morale and firm discipline within the Self-Defense Forces. We will recruit, cultivate, train and educate high quality personnel to meet the challenge of the diversification and internationalization of Self-Defense Forces missions, and the need to properly operate rapidly advancing high-tech equipment. In addition, we will promote activities related to research and education on security issue, and develop human resources.

The defense force level required to fulfill missions described above is indicated in the attached table.

V. Additional Elements for Consideration

1. In developing, maintaining, and operating the defense forces as described in section IV, the following elements will be taken into consideration.

(1) Mindful of increasingly severe fiscal conditions, we will restrict defense expenditures by further rationalizing and streamlining defense forces. We will also work to make our defense forces successful in carrying out their missions by harmonizing their operations with other measures taken by the Government.

(2) We will make procurement and research and development (R&D) more effective and efficient by taking the following measures: curbing life-cycle cost, including purchase price, of defense equipment; actively using cutting-edge technologies developed by private enterprises, universities, and governmental organizations in carrying out R&D as well as by allocating R&D resource in a more focused manner; and, appropriately and timely reviewing various R&D projects. At the same time, we will work to establish defense production and technological base, especially in core technological areas indispensable for our national security.

(3) In order to efficiently develop and maintain defense-related facilities, the Government of Japan will, in close cooperation with relevant local authorities, take various measures to make those facilities coexist more harmoniously with local communities.

2. These National Defense Program Guidelines provide the vision for our defense forces for the next decade. However, five years from now or in case there is a significant change in the international situation, we will review and, if necessary, revise the Guidelines in light of the security environment, technological progress, and other relevant factors at the time.

Attached Table

The following posture will be established in order to make Japan’s new defense forces multi-functional, flexible and effective, and able to undertake diverse roles as discussed above (IV).

Ground Self-Defense Force 155,000

Personnel Regular 148,000

Reserve (Ready Reserve Personnel) 7,000

Major Units

Regionally Deployed Units 8 divisions, 6 brigades

Mobile Operation Units 1 armored division, Central Readiness Group

Surface-to-Air Guided Missile Units 8 anti-aircraft artillery groups

Major Equipment

Tanks approx. 600

Main Artillery approx. 600

Maritime Self-Defense Force

Major Units

Destroyer Units (for mobile operations) 4 flotillas (8 divisions)

Destroyer Units (regional district units) 5 divisions

Submarine Units 4 divisions

Minesweeper Unit 1 flotilla

Patrol Aircraft Units 9 squadrons

Major Equipment

Destroyers 47

Submarines 16

Combat Aircraft approx. 150

Air Self-Defense Force

Major Units

Air Warning and Control Units 8 warning groups, 20 warning squadrons, 1 airborne early-warning group (2 squadrons)

Fighter Aircraft Units 12 squadrons

Air Reconnaissance Unit 1 squadron

Air Transport Units 3 squadrons

Aerial Refueling/Transport Unit Surface-to-Air Guided Missile Units 1 squadron

Surface-to-Air Guided Missile Units 6 groups

Major Equipment

Combat Aircraft approx. 350

Fighters approx. 260*

*The number already included in total figure for combat aircraft, above

Assets for Ballistic Missile Defense

**The numbers of units and equipment below are already included in the Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces sections above.

Major Equipment Aegis-Equipped Destroyers 4

Major Units

Air Warning and Control Units 7 warning groups, 4 warning squadrons

Surface-to-Air Guided Missile Units 3 groups