Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force now has Marines

The Ground Self-Defense Force has marked a milestone through first dedicated amphibious fighting unit, better known as a Marine Corps, long deemed to be too offensive to possess under the country’s postwar defensive security policy.


The Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, modelled after the U.S. Marine Corps, is a new force and facing challenges to enhance its readiness to defend Japan’s remote islands in the southwest is just the start of the new force’s problems.


photo credit to: https://www.aljazeera.com


10 years ago, the development of an amphibious force for landing troops on enemy-held shores was seen as unconstitutional under the pacifist Constitution Japan adopted after WWII. It has severely limited and handicapped the capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces to what is called the “minimum necessary level.”


However, with China’s accelerating military expansion and tensions linked to its claim over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islets in the East China Sea, Tokyo is forced to increase it’s own military and has even started buying equipment from their US counterparts.


But, since this is a relatively new force, their success is largely dependent on whether or not enough troops and the necessary equipment can be transported to an island that may have already fallen into Chinese hands.


The Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft the Japanese Marince Corps are planning to buy are expected to play a key role in carrying and even paradropping Japanese troops to the Senkaku island. Japan has to win consent for the deployment of the V-22 fleet at Saga airport as safety concerns were heightened after a GSDF helicopter crashed into a house in Saga Prefecture in February.


The government is considering tentatively placing the Ospreys at a GSDF camp in Chiba but the plan would be a dangerous compromise as a 1,000-km journey to Camp Ainoura where the amphibious force is based would be necessary.


Reference: Japan’s new marines make their debut, but much preparatory work remains to be done


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