Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Learn more about Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
The largest of the three services of the JSDF, the Ground Self-Defense Force operates under the command of the chief of the ground staff, based in the city of Ichikawa, east of Tokyo. Although allotted 180,000 slots for uniformed personnel, in 1992 the force was maintained at about 86 percent of that level (with approximately 156,000 personnel) because of funding constraints. The number of uniformed personnel is insufficient to enable an immediate shift onto emergency footing. Instead, the ratio of officers to enlisted personnel is high, requiring augmentation by reserves or volunteers in times of crisis. In 1992, however, GSDF reserve personnel, numbering 46,000, had received little professional training. Intended to deter attack, repulse a small invasion, or provide a holding action until reinforced by United States or Allied armed forces, the ground element is neither equipped nor staffed to offer more than a show of conventional defense by itself. Antitank artillery, ground-to-sea firepower and mobility were improved and surface-to-ship missiles were acquired in the Mid-Term Defense Estimate completed in FY 1990.
 Tactical Organization
The GSDF consists of one armored division, twelve infantry divisions, one airborne brigade, two combined brigades, four training brigades, one artillery brigade with two groups, two air defense brigades with three groups, one helicopter brigade with twenty-four squadrons and two anti-tank helicopter platoons.
 Special Forces
Special Forces units consist of the following:
- CRF: Central Readiness Force (中央即応集団 Chūō Sokuō Shūdan)
- SOG: Special Operations Group (特殊作戦群 Tokushu Sakusen Gun)
- 1st Airborne Brigade
- Tsushima Guardian Unit
- Western Army Infantry Regiment (西部方面普通科連隊 Seibu Hōmen Futsū-ka Rentai)
- Ranger Platoon
 Regional Organization
The GSDF is divided into five regional armies called "groups", each containing two to four divisions, antiaircraft artillery units, and support units.
- The Northern Group, the largest, is headquartered on Hokkaido, where population and geographic constraints are less limiting than elsewhere.
- has four divisions and artillery, antiaircraft artillery, and engineering brigades.
- The Northeastern Group is headquartered in Sendai
- two divisions.
- The Eastern Group is headquartered in Ichikawa,
- two divisions.
- The Central Group, headquartered in Itami, has
- three divisions plus:
- a combined brigade located on Shikoku.
- The Western Group, is headquartered at Kengun and has:
- two divisions,
- a combined brigade on Okinawa.
In 1989, basic training for lower-secondary and upper-secondary school graduates began in the training brigade and lasted approximately three months. Specialized enlisted and non-commissioned officer (NCO) candidate courses were available in branch schools and qualified NCOs could enter an eight-to-twelve-week second lieutenant candidate program. Senior NCOs and graduates of an eighty-week NCO pilot course were eligible to enter officer candidate schools, as were graduates of the National Defense Academy at Yokosuka and graduates of four-year universities. Advanced technical, flight, medical and command and staff officer courses were also run by the GSDF. Like the maritime and air forces, the GSDF ran a youth cadet program offering technical training to lower-secondary school graduates below military age in return for a promise of enlistment.
Because of population density on the Japanese islands, only limited areas were available for large-scale training, and, even in these areas, noise restrictions were a problem. The GSDF tried to adapt to these conditions by conducting command post exercises and map maneuvers and by using simulators and other training devices.
 Current Equipment
- Type 75 (140)
- M-110A2 (90)
 Towed Artillery
- FH-70 (480)
 Armoured Vehicles
- Type 82 (500)
- Type 96 (160)
- Type 60 (60)
- Type 73 (340)
 Observation Helicopters
 Past Equipment
- This article contains material from the Library of Congress Country Studies, which are United States government publications in the public domain. - Japan
- Globalsecurity.org JGSDF section
 See also
- Imperial Japanese Army
- Deployment of Japanese troops to Iraq
- Military ranks and insignia of the Japan Self-Defense Forces