Peace Time: August 19, 2003


Japan has an all volunteer armed forces, and has long been unable to fill the ranks. Even with high pay and first rate accommodations and equipment, young men tended to look for any other occupation, even unemployment, rather than going into the military. Currently, the armed forces are seven percent short of their 258,000 man strength, with the army short eleven percent. One thing the military does not like to talk about is how it has lowered it's standards over the years in a desperate attempt to keep units up to strength. While intensive training and good leadership have kept the troops pretty competent, the military has long had a reputation as being full of lads who are rather dull witted. A steadily declining birth rate makes recruiting even more difficult. But now Japanese troops are being sent on peacekeeping missions (Afghanistan and Iraq), after over half a century of being kept at home. Some Japanese believe this will hurt recruiting, and even cause many troops to resign. But there might be just the opposite, attracting more young men who want a little action. This has worked in attracting capable men to be air force pilots or serving on seagoing warships. 


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