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Monday, September 15, 2014

Military Recruitment in Japan


The Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) is made up of three branches: Ground, Maritime and Air. Prevented by the Constitution of Japan from engaging in any military action besides the purely defensive, Japan's participation in even United Nations peacekeeping missions was not without controversy.

Japan Pride, Self-Defense Force recruitment poster, Tokyo.

This might give the impression of a militarily emasculated Japan, but in actual fact Japan's military budget is the fifth biggest in the world and growing. The appointment of Shinzo Abe as prime minister in 2012 heralded the start of a more tigerish mood in Japan, a mood fortified by the recent stand off with China over ownership of the Senkaku Islands.

This year, the JSDF is to request a budget increase, for national spending next fiscal year of JPY 4.9 trillion yen (about USD 456 billion). Much of this is for new stealthier submarines, tilt-rotor planes, unmanned surveillance aircraft and patrol planes.

Japan Pride, Japan Self-Defense Force recruitment poster, Tokyo.

However, no budget increase can increase the numbers of young people in Japan, and Japan's aging population makes for a shrinking base for military recruitment.

Thus these posters seeking military recruits spotted this week in Yushima Tokyo - one for boys, one for girls. The headline "Japan Pride" is repeated in Japanese in the phrase at the bottom "Hokori o mune ni" or "A heartful/chestful of pride."

But couldn't a smidgeon of that extra budget be spent on some professional-looking graphic design?

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