Armor: July 4, 2004


Japan is planning to cut its force of 1020 tanks by at least 400 vehicles. The 210 fifty ton, Type 90 tanks will remain in service. These were first introduced in 1992 and are in the same class with U.S. M-1 tank. Most of Japans tanks are the 38 ton Type 74. This vehicle, with a 105mm gun, is roughly equal to the widely used American M-60A3 or late model Russian T-72 class tanks. The Type 90 was built to provide Japan with protection against a possible amphibious invasion by the Soviet Union. But this threat faded with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Production of the Type 90 was cut back, and now the overall tank force will be cut as well. Japan sees ballistic missiles and terrorism as more of a threat than an invasion by a hostile armored force. Moreover, few Japanese highways can handle the 50 ton Type 90 tank. 


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