Japan Military Hammered And War Hadn't Even Started

(MENAFN- Asia Times) Japan can buy all the F35s and long-range and hypersonic missiles it wants. It can even boast of having cobbled together a couple“aircraft carriers.” But so what?

It's not that hardware doesn't matter. But until Tokyo pays more attention to the people actually serving in the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF), buying shiny expensive equipment matters little.

The JSDF has never fought an actual war, but it suffered a crushing defeat last year – missing recruitment targets by 50%. The year before it was a 35% miss. And for years it has had 20% shortfalls. Thus, JSDF is something of an old, undermanned and overworked force.

The reasons – or, better said, the excuses – are: Japan's shrinking population, competition from the private sector, and a series of personnel scandals.

However, actual blame lies with Japan's politicians, officials, academics and certain media outles that have spent the last six decades ignoring, underfunding, hamstringing, belittling and humiliating the JSDF.

When was the last time any prominent Japanese politician spoke directly to the public about the importance of the Japan Self Defense Force and the people serving in it – and then kept repeating the message?

Has there ever been the equivalent of a Top Gun movie for the JSDF?

Something has to change, or Japan might as well roll over when the Chinese come calling.

It is essential to make service in the JSDF a respected profession and an attractive career option for more young Japanese. Currently it is not those things - to the Japanese ruling elite's lasting shame. The fact that JSDF personnel are still reluctant to wear uniforms in public says it all.

Not surprisingly, the Japan Self-Defense Force can't attract enough recruits.

Admittedly, the JSDF could sell itself better. Recruiting offices tend to be inconspicuous and about as welcoming as a yakuza office. A little professional marketing would do nicely. But the Government of Japan must also give them something to sell.


Asia Times

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