The future of the Armed Forces of Japan
From 1954, the year in which the armed forces of Japan were re-established, until the end of the cold war, the defence of Japan was structured around three fundamental facts: the existence of a well-identified enemy, the USSR, an exclusive ally, the United States, and the existence of abundant financial resources.
This scenario has changed considerably : the USSR has been broken up and the war in the Gulf has caused deep trauma by allowing Japan to break a ban on sending soldiers on missions outside the archipelago.
Intense thought is now being given to a policy for Japan's security and defence. It must incorporate four constraints which are inescapable: the priority given to the alliance with the United States, the reduction in financial resources, the distrust of Japanese opinion and that of Asian countries against any strengthening of the army.
The basic task of "Self-Defence Forces" (FAD) is the defence of national territory against external aggression and against internal risks, for example, in the case of natural disasters (Kobé). Japan has to this effect made a big effort to re-arm, allowing herself to exercice the power of interception against foreign aggression and envisages being equipped with the power of dissuasion, without the nuclear taboo being lifted. The FAD have also participated, since 1992, in missions outside the archipelago but under very restrictive conditions. For the rest, they are faced with the paradoxical challenge of possibly having to play the role of policeman in the region, while favouring the building of relationships of mutual trust with neighbouring countries.