Japan was once a great power with one of the world’s most feared militaries pre-WWII. After its unconditional surrender to the United States, the country’s imperial constitution was rewritten by Washington, and Tokyo spent decades of demilitarization with a military regulated to a self-defense force.

Despite decades of peace, prosperity, and economic growth, Japan has gained looming threats as its adversaries saw their nation’s demilitarization as a sign of weakness. Tokyo has now realized Washington can no longer be the only guarantor of its safety and has moved towards rebuilding their military in the face of three emerging threats.

Self-Defense Force