Capabilities of the Japanese Self-Defense Force and its impact on United States-Japan relations
Pettibon, Jonathan E.
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Determining the capabilities of the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) is necessary to understand its impact on U.S. Japan relations. Few scholars have done the due diligence needed to truly determine the capabilities of this force. For example, general descriptions of the capabilities of the JSDF overall ignore wide variation in the capabilities of its three branches. Additionally, Japan has increased its involvement in international security affairs during the past two decades, but its involvement in areas such as the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UN PKO) or Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief operations is often exaggerated, overstating the experience of the JSDF. The lack of accurate or complete assessments of the capabilities of the JSDF affects both American and Japanese policymakers. With a better understanding of the JSDF, we can make more precise assessments of Japan's future intentions in its foreign policy, allowing us to address broader questions: how will this evolution continue into the future and how do JSDF capabilities affect the United States' security relationship with Japan? This thesis analyzes the history and structure of the JSDF in order to understand its actual capabilities and its future role in the international security environment.
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