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In all of Asia, probably the most feared "military' force is the Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF).

The Japanese Self Defense Force (SDF), is the combined fighting force of Japan. It patrols the Pacific Rim and acts as a deterrent from outside invasion.


The Japanese Self Defense Force, or JSDF, are the unified military forces of Japan that were established by the Self-Defense Forces Law in 1954, and are controlled by the Ministry of Defense. The SDF has the world's third-largest military budget. The prime minster holds command of the entire JSDF, however gives control over to the JSC once ordered.

The Joint Staff Council oversee the entire JSDF, and this is the only place that operates at full capacity, All staff are sergeant-ranked or higher, and most have graduated from the National Defense Academy. The JSC has 160 personnel which support the generals, handle supply and salary logistics, and basically run the show.

The JSDF are highly advanced with many advantages over other militaries, however they are not as scary as others believe. The ex-JSDF officers tend to look down on the Force, while the neighbors shake in fear. The Koreans, Chinese, and Filipinos think that the massive numbers of tanks, tin suits and borgs are in preparation for an overwhelming attack, however the ex-officers know better. In fact, if it came down to it, many are unsure if the JSDF could adequately defend Japan without corporate aid.


Sometimes, I feel eveything's a VR illusion. That tank I bew up was computer-controlled, and the nudie I stomped was one of the computer created mobs. I'm not sure if I've ever left the Shinjuku VRcades. What is reality these days?


In the 1990s Japan abolished the pacifist clause (article 9) of the 1947 constitution which was enacted by the United States during their military occupation of Japan following the Emporers' surrender during World War II. This allowed the Japanese Government to improve its military with new tactical offensive capabilities including new: armaments, vehicles, and personnel, this force would come to be known as the Japanese Self Defense Force or (JSDF).

Consequently, the US withdrew most of its military assets within Japan and most other nations inhabiting the Pacific Rim believed them to be secure for the time being. Many Chinese and Korean officials criticized the JSDF as a resurgence of Japanese imperialist sentiments as their nations had been subjugated by the Empire of Japan in the past, they had also witnessed Japan's corporate conquest of both Taiwan and Hong Kong, many saw this as Japan furthering its end-goal of economic supremacy as the SDF could offer a lot of opportunities for power projection, possibly ensuring that Japanese commercial interests take precedence throughout all of the Pacific Rim. As such the operations undertaken by the JSDF throughout the Pacific Rim were met with disdain via locals and regional authorities, this has prompted the JSDF to limit operations throughout the Pacific Rim. The annual budget given to the JSDF was 70 Billion eb, this made it the third-highest military budget in the world. The Japanese government maintains that the JSDF was formed as a deterrent from potential invasions by a nation or coalition outside of the Pacific Rim, in particular, those with modernized militaries and or large budgets.

Many in Asia still have bad memories of World War II, when Japan brutally took over most of the Rim. China and Korea watch the JSDF especially close, and protest every time they twitch, even if its sending Peace-Keeping Forces (PKF) to protect innocent people.

What strikes many gaijin as odd was the way the JSDF officers "underestimate" themselves. Most of them freely admitted that the JSDF is next to useless. This underscores what Ryu Masaki back at JSDF always said, that they were the "Paper Tiger" of the Rim. It's believed that it was just disinformation to placate nervous neighbors. Arasaka is also a major Japanese army, and they kick major ass. However perhaps they have a point when discussing the ineffectiveness of the JSDF.

The JSDF suffers from two major problems: Firstly their equipment is too high-tech, as their techies can't repair their vehicles (ACPA, Tanks, and AI Drones) themselves; they have to call in corporate repairmen. Their soldiers are loaded down with gear that is so advanced that they can't operate it. Secondly, exceptional officers quit the JSDF ASAP to get lucrative respectable jobs with Arasaka or other security corps. With these hobbles, it's no wonder the JSDF doesn't want to engage in actual combat.


2019-12-21 (48)

Japanese Sgt. Major

Wow! These seats are like riding on clouds! The air-conditioning works well, the TV gets great reception...Auto-medkit, drink-vendor, 2 weeks of delicious rations (unlike the kibble they give us)! I wish my apartment was so well furnished...


The Japanese Self Defense Forces are split into three branches: Ground SDF (GSDF), Maritime SDF (MSDF), and AeroSpace SDF (ASDF). Aside from the ASDF, it is pretty much the same as it was 30 years ago. Even though Japan accepted the right to wage war and have an army with revoking of their Article 9, its budget is still restricted to only 3% of their GNP. They still call it the JSDF instead of the Japanese Army. It's all semantics, but they follow it like a religion.

The prime minister has supreme command, and directly orders the director-general of the National Defense Ministry and the Joint Staff Council. In wartime (if they ever get to it) the chair of the JSC takes control, but usually he is limited to forming and coordinating the defense planning.

As previously mentioned before, the JSDF is always short of people. Enlistments are voluntary, and they accept men and women between 18 and 25. People who resign are transferred into the reserves, and have once a month training duty. There's no penalty for skipping, so most do. However, since Arasaka scoops up many ex-JSDF, if a war should happen, and the reserves (who are all off on security corp business) are summoned.

Gear is similar to the American military, but made in Japan. When the Americans pulled out of Asia, much JSDF equipment became useless because they had bought it from the US Army and now they didn't have parts, and the blackbox systems were incompatible. With the suspension of Article 9, they re-outfitted with Japanese- made equipment from Arasaka, Tsunami Arms, and Towa. The quality is excellent but expensive as hell. Most of it will cost twice as much as American or Euro gear.

JSDF soldiers are offered minor cyberware, such as Processors, IPs, GunLinks, and Chip Sockets for free. When openings occur, there are always volunteers for full-body conversion. But because of Japan's extreme narcotics laws, combat drugs are right out.



The GSDF is divided into 12 infantry divisions and one Armored division, which are split up into five regional armies. They have 150,000 personnel (they are only authorized up to 250,000) as of 2020. Numbers are: 1,200 tanks, 500 APC/IFVs, 800 Hovers, 5,000 ACPAs, 200 combat fullborgs, 200 ACPA/Armored Transports, 300 Helicopters, 600 AVs, and 100 planes (fighters and bombers). 15% of the GSDF are ACPA troopers. They have SegAtari working on the cyber-vehicle links and VRIs to make MGTs oparable by a single person. A GSDF armor squad will have 10 ACPAs, one APC, three one-man MBT tanks, one MBT with extra sensors for the Leader, and one support aircraft. By 2030, they had planned to have half the of the GSDF divisions converted to armor.


The MSDF is the Self Defense Fleet (divided into five district units) and 10 Maritime Safety Divisions (formerly the Maritime Safety Agency; Coast Guard). With their advanced equipment, MSDF are probably the best antisub fleet around. They have 43,000 out of an alloted 55,000 personnel (90 underwater fullborgs), and have 70 destroyers, 120 patrol ships, 12 transports, 6 missile cruisers, 1 aircraft carrier, 20 submarines, 200 anti-sub/ship attack aircraft and copters, 400 hovers, 200 AVs, 500 underwater ACPAs and 50 minijet fighters.

Their subs are supposedly not nuclear powered, but have same power output. An MSDF officer claimed they developed a hydro-generator and high-storage batteries for their subs. When asked if this news of this fantastic development would be announced, there was no comment.


The ASDF has 4 Air Divisions and an Aerospace Division. Mainly they identify and intercept unknown aircraft breaching Japanese airspace. They have 45,000 out of an alloted 56,000 personnel (60 of whom are fullborg pilots), and are equipped with 540 jet/minijet fighters and bombers, 100 AVs, 50 air transports, and 36 deltas. The ASDF also has 38 radar sites which scan their airspace. ASDF is well known for their quick-scramble abilities.


After abolishing Article 9, Japanese arms manufacturing corporations were able to produce equipment without restrictions. This led to many advances in new weapons and tech that would become the standard. There are many arms manufacturers in Japan, some being in service before WW2. Some of these corporations have spread there operations around the world and seen much success, this has also been a huge source of revenue for Japan.[1]

Corp Weapons Manufacturers
Name HQ Info
Arasaka Tokyo Their weapons and equipment are some of the most sought after in the world. They are the largest manufacturer and exporter of Japanese made products and cyberware in the world. Arasaka is one of the oldest weapon companies in Japan. Their products can be found and sold all over the world, with their major exports being the NUSA, Europe, and Asia. Their weapons have been tested in innumerable conflicts, so and are known for their great quality. Johnny Silverhand, famous rokcerboy of Night City, is known to have used Arasaka weapons when he raided the "cherry-blossom" corp. Arasaka is also known for making heavy ACPAs used by the JSDF and JNPA.
Mitsubishi-Sugo Nagano Mitsubishi-Sugo, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, are well known for their combat vehicles. They make most of the tanks and armored vehicles, along with the lighter, nimbler ACPA which the JSDF and JNPA use.
Towa Manufacturing Kiyosu Towa Manufacturing is the largest weapons-only manufacturing company from Kiyosu. Their weapons are exclusively made for the JNPA.
Tsunami Defense Systems Osaka Tsunami is a top-tier weapons manufacturer. It has rivaled Arasaka for decades in terms of quality.


The flag of the Japanese Self Defense Forces strongly resembles the flag of the Ukrainian Donetsk Oblast, with the yellow sun on a blue sky replaced by the Japanese Rising Sun Flag.


  1. Yellow Submarine Cyberpunk TRPG Nippon Sourcebook Cyberpunk of the land of the rising sun