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Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Defense.JPG
Ministry of Defense Headquarters
Agency overview
Formed January 9, 2007
Preceding agency
  • Japanese Defense Agency
Jurisdiction Government of Japan
Headquarters 5-1 Ichigaya honmura-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Employees 22,721 civilian staff (2010)
Annual budget 4.7 trillion yen
Ministers responsible
Child agency

The Ministry of Defense (防衛省 Bōei-shō?) is a cabinet-level ministry of the Government of Japan. It is headquartered in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and is the largest organ of the Japanese government: in 2009, fixed personnel numbered 271,094, including 248,303 military personnel. The Ministry of Defense, as cabinet-level ministry, is required by Article 66 of the constitution to be completely subordinate to civilian authority. Its head is the Minister of Defense. Before its transition to a cabinet-level ministry, it was the Japanese Defense Agency (防衛庁 Bōei-chō?), an agency of the Cabinet Office.


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, 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: this land is now occupied by the Tokyo Midtown.

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 (MSDF) 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 SDF combat units could take in emergencies.

Cooperation between the SDF 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 SDF transportation capabilities are generally judged inadequate. In 1990 legislation was being studied to provide the SDF with the ability to respond in emergency situations not specifically covered by Article 76 of the Self-Defense Forces Law.

SDF 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 SDF. In 1987 the Defense Agency replaced its communications system (which formerly had relied on telephone lines of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation) 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 Diet had passed into law the change of status of the Defense Agency to a Cabinet-level Defense Ministry.[1] The Diet's upper house had voted by a majority, including the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, to amend the change.[2] 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 war.[2] The MOD was formally established on January 9, 2007, taking its present name and status as a ministry.[3] Subsequently, its Defense Facilities Administrative Agency was dissolved and integrated into the MOD.[4]

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 gate.[5]


The Ministers in the Ministry of Defense are as follows:

  • Minister of Defense(防衛大臣)
  • State Secretary for Defense(防衛副大臣)
  • Parliamentary Secretaries for Defense(防衛大臣政務官)

Senior Officials

Special Advisors

The Special Advisor to the Minister of Defense is the senior policy advisor to the Minister of Defense.

  • Special Advisor to the Minister of Defense(防衛大臣補佐官)

Vice Minister and other officials

The Vice Minister of Defense is the senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defense. Vice Minister role is to coordinate the affairs of the ministry, and supervise the affairs of the bureaus and organs of the Ministry.

  • Vice Minister of Defense(防衛事務次官)
  • Deputy Minister of Defense(防衛審議官)
  • Private Secretary to the Minister of Defense(防衛大臣秘書官)

Chiefs of Staff

The Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff is the highest-ranking military officer of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and the senior military advisor to the Minister of Defense and the Government. He is supported by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff and by the chiefs of staff of the three services of Self Defense Forces. He is appointed by the Minister of Defense, approval by the Cabinet of Japan.

  • Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff(統合幕僚長), currently Shigeru Iwasaki
  • Vice Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff(統合幕僚副長), currently Kōichi Isobe
  • Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force(陸上幕僚長), currently Eiji Kimizuka
  • Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force(海上幕僚長), currently Katsutoshi Kawano
  • Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self Defense Force(航空幕僚長), currently Haruhiko Kataoka


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 Office(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 also


External links

Coordinates: 35°41′35″N 139°43′41″E / 35.693°N 139.728°E / 35.693; 139.728

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