SDF recruitment in each prefecture discovered to be uncooperative

The Defense Ministry corrected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remark that prefectural governments were not cooperating in the recruitment of Self-Defense Forces members, but even the ministry’s explanation was inaccurate.


Two days later, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya corrected Abe’s remark and said cooperation was not forthcoming from municipal governments, rather than prefectural governments.


According to the Defense Ministry officials, 50 provincial cooperation offices set up around Japan had conducted the actual recruitment of new SDF members. Employees at those offices obtain the names, addresses, birthdays and gender mainly of local residents when they are 18 and 22, the ages when they would normally graduate from high school or university.


photo credit to:


In response to questions from The Asahi Shimbun, a Defense Ministry official used that percentage to explain that “we are not obtaining the cooperation of more than 60 percent of municipal governments.”


If those municipal governments are added to those that provide resident lists in paper or digital form, close to 90 percent of municipalities are cooperating in some form with SDF recruitment.


A high-ranking ministry official said the 178 municipal governments include those in remote areas or those on the distant islands where few recruitment candidates live. For that reason, the ministry has often not bothered to even ask those governments to provide the lists.


The 60-percent figure used by both Abe and Iwaya is the ratio of municipal governments that are not complying with the Defense Ministry request for the lists in paper or digital form.


A ministry official in charge of human resources development said obtaining the lists in paper or digital form is a huge help because it reduces the burden of having to copy information from the resident registers.


However, Article 97 of the SDF Law already clearly states that the Defense Ministry can ask municipal governments for cooperation because those local governments handle part of the clerical work related to recruitment.


Reference: Abe, Iwaya both amiss on local cooperation for SDF recruitment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know the latest news and openings in Japan.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Promise, we’ll keep you posted!